There is no greater catalyst for healing and growth than love. When your back is up against the wall—when you’re at risk of losing something irreplaceable—you “wake up” from complacency. This is when the real magic happens. Love shakes us up and gives us a completely new perspective on ourselves. We learn the most from our partners whether we want to admit it or not. Relationships require some serious inner work, and if we’re willing to do that, it can be the most rewarding thing you’ll ever experience. Here are 10 important tips that can help your relationship stay strong through the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Communicate boundaries
A relationship will always die from silence. If you act “compliant” to keep the peace and avoid conflict, you’re only contributing to the inauthenticity of the relationship. Speak up when you feel like your needs and wants aren’t being respected. Your partner will never know when you’re uncomfortable with something because they haven’t been told. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t be afraid to speak your truth. Love yourself enough to communicate and don’t allow anyone to treat you like a doormat.
2. Give each other space
As beautiful as it is to share experiences with your partner, and as much as we’d like to be with them 24/7, it’s important to allow yourself (and them) the space to be your own person. If they need 2 hours a day to themselves, don’t take it personally. Instead, encourage them to take care of their needs and allow them to do what they think is best for them.
3. Accept conflict as normal
Let’s be real, perfection doesn’t exist. Disagreements happen. You’ll always go through ups and downs, and challenges are inevitable. Unless you’re experiencing severe issues like infidelity, addictions and violence, don’t throw away a relationship because you’ve hit a rough patch. Trust and commitment will deepen as you go through these tough times together. As long as both parties are on the same page and willing to work through the challenges, you’ll come out stronger in the end.
4. Spend quality time together
Quality over quantity always. You don’t necessarily spend every waking moment together for your relationship to be strong. You can spend one day a week with your partner and feel fulfilled. It’s about what you do together that forms and keeps the bond strong. Whatever it is that you both enjoy, do just that. Make time for date night no matter how busy you are. Prioritize each other and make each other feel loved and wanted.
5. Action over words
Don’t waste your time on a promise and a dream. Everything lies in your actions — words are empty. If your partner promised you a change in behavior, hold them accountable. It’s easy to say “I’m sorry” or “I love you,” but if they’re not showing it to you or making the effort, then it might be time to speak up.
6. Cultivate your own power
YOU determine your self-worth. I’ve seen too many women (myself included) lose their power to a man. I’ve seen men lose their power to women as well. It doesn’t matter whether your partner compliments, criticizes, stays or goes. Your self-esteem should be rock SOLID. When you love yourself enough to step into your power, you partner will appreciate that, and you’ll be able to encourage them to do the same.
7. Work on being intimate with each other
Intimacy doesn’t just mean sex. Intimacy is the act of being vulnerable with each other and sharing your deepest thoughts, fears, secrets and insecurities. Set aside some time to hold space for each other without any kind of judgment. Give your partner permission to be themselves with you.