Thinking about taking your relationship to the next level and want to make sure it lasts? Or have you been with your partner for a long time, and you’re looking to make things even better? Healthy relationships take work, but they are, at the end of the day, when you’re snuggled up with the person you love, one of the best things in life.
For essential tips on creating and maintaining a thriving romantic relationship with good communication, trust, intimacy, and respect, keep reading!
1. Create a Strong Bond With Your Partner
To make your relationship stronger, be honest about your feelings with each other—this goes a long way in both of you feeling loved. Talk about what’s on your mind, let them know you care, and say “I love you” a lot. When you both know each other’s feelings, you feel safe—and happy.
A sign of a healthy relationship is that both partners talk about their feelings and treat each other well, not one person being in charge all the time.
Yes, vulnerability is good, but don’t let your partner rush you into talking about things you’re not ready to talk about.
It’s also nice to say “thank you” to your partner often. Tell them what you like about them and show gratitude for the things (little or big)they do for you.
2. Spend QT With Each Other
Keeping the spark alive in a relationship means actively spending quality time together, so try to earmark a weekly date night to do things that both of you like. It’s perfectly fine to have low-key nights in, but also try to shake things up once in a while for dates that get you both out and about.
The activities for date nights can vary from belting your heart out at karaoke, going to a spot for a few adult beverages, dining at a fav restaurant—literally anything you both have fun doing!
If your schedule is packed, perhaps with work or family commitments, and weekly dates aren’t going to work, aim for a special night out once a month instead.
Also, consider teaming up to tackle chores and daily tasks. While it’s not really the same as a date night or fun outings, it’s another way to engage with each other and get the household duties done and dusted—together.
3. Boundaries, Boundaries
Establishing clear and consistent boundaries helps your partner understand your needs, so communicate hard or soft personal and relationship boundaries—and make sure your partner agrees to respect them and doesn’t overstep. Having them can help avoid conflicts and give you a framework for addressing any issues if boundaries are crossed.
Boundaries can relate to your personal space, social life, money, or physical intimacy. For instance, you might need to make it clear that you enjoy spending time together, yet you also require time each week for your friends.
In a respectful relationship, neither person should try to control the other. Make sure your partner honors your boundaries just as you should honor theirs.
Don’t be shy about setting high standards for your relationship. Be clear about what you expect, and don’t settle for less—you deserve a partner who values and meets your needs.
4. Acknowledge Each Other’s Needs
A relationship thrives when both partners place importance on each other’s needs, so you need to know what your partner expects and their limits, and they should recognize and abide by yours as well. Find out what they need from the relationship, whether they share it or you ask. Showing respect for your partner’s boundaries is a way of communicating your trust in their independence and faithfulness.
Typical boundaries might involve recognizing how much intimacy your partner is comfortable with, what level of PDA they are okay with, and how much personal info about the relationship they want to share with others.
5. Communicating is Caring
Talk to your partner about what you like and what irks you, and be clear about what you need from them emotionally—it’s always good to talk about these things when you first start dating and get them out of the way! When you share your feelings, it shows you trust your partner, and it also lets them feel safe to share their feelings with you.
Make sure when you’re being honest, you’re not just criticizing them—always speak kindly and with respect.
If something is making you unhappy, say it in a kind way, but make sure you’re clear. For example, you might say, “I really love you, but I get upset when the house is messy. Can we figure out a way to keep it clean together?”
Encourage your partner to talk openly, too by asking them questions that can’t be answered with just ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ This way, you both can communicate more openly about what you really think and feel.
6. Lend an Ear With Active Listening
Listening is just as important as talking in communication—maybe even more important! When your partner is talking, pay close attention; actively listen and remember their words. Try to understand what they’re saying instead of just thinking about what you’ll say next when it’s your turn to talk. Keep eye contact and let them finish their thoughts without cutting them off.
Let them know you’re listening by nodding or making sounds like “Mhmm,” or encourage them to continue with words like “I see,” or “Tell me more.”
Tell them that you get it—if they share a tough time at work, respond with, “That sounds tough, I’m sorry.”
Watch their body language to get clues about how they feel. If they look upset or worn out, try to be comforting or cheer them up!
7. Trust is Fundamental in Thriving Relationships
Trust is super important for a relationship to thrive and last, so have a serious convo with your partner about what being trustworthy means to you and ask what things would break their trust. Make sure you both get where the other is coming from and build trust by doing what you say you will, being there for your partner, and not crossing their boundaries.
Some people think flirting with others is okay, but for some, it’s a huge no-no. Make sure you both agree on what counts as cheating.
And last but not least, we can’t state how important it is always to tell each other the truth.
8. Change is Natural
Growing together is a sign of a thriving and healthy relationship! Life and relationships organically change and evolve, so look at every challenge or change as an opportunity to make your relationship even better. Don’t allow any fear of change to get in the way, and welcome them so you can focus on growing together through the good and the not-so-great times.
Keep in mind that it’s totally normal for relationships to have good and bad times. When times are tough, instead of pointing fingers, try to solve problems and get through them together.
If changes are hard to handle and you become overwhelmed, it’s good to seek help. You could talk to someone you trust or go see a couples therapist—there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
Building and maintaining a healthy relationship means having honest talks about what you like and what irritates you (we know that can be hard) and really listening to one another. Trust grows exponentially when you keep your promises and understand what makes each other feel safe, and it’s about giving each other space but also being there when it really counts.
Make sure to keep the spark alive and have fun together with regular dates! And when life throws you a curveball, which, let’s be honest, it always does, use those moments to band together. Don’t forget that if you hit a rough patch, it’s okay to get advice or help—it’s wise, not weak. Keeping up with these things can help you have a relationship that’s rock solid and absolutely thriving.