In the beginning of your relationship, you smiled from the minute you woke up to the moment you laid your head on your pillow to go to sleep. The happiness you felt in your relationship was so clear, so palpable, that it was almost contagious to those around you.
Unsurprisingly, that feeling is temporary, whether we like it or not. Now that you’ve settled into your life with your significant other, you’re probably less in touch with that feeling of bliss, right?
Well, here are 15 ways to keep that ear-to-ear smile and continue living your happiest life.
1. Make your needs known.
Much of the time in relationships, we think our partners are mind-readers. But that dynamic usually feeds into resentment, passive aggressive behavior, and other conflicts.
So let’s break it down: Put simply, it’s more than OK to ask for what you need. Communicate and assert your needs so your partner knows what to do, and what not to do, in order to delight you every day.
2. Stop playing the blame game.
Don’t blame your partner for his or her actions, even if you firmly believe s/he is at fault. What you want is to resolve the friction, and blame doesn’t help you grow closer. Try to understand each other on a deeper level to know why something happened.
3. Watch your words.
Sticks and stones might break your bones but words last forever. Don’t say something you might regret. Your words don’t go away.
4. Be honest, not critical.
Sometimes, honesty can sound like criticism. Did your partner gain a few extra pounds? Don’t be dishonest about it. Offer constructive encouragement instead of negative critique.
5. Put yourself in their shoes.
Upset? Focus on the positives when things are feeling a little negative. Try to understand your partner’s subjective experience. You might be a couple, but you each feel things differently and that’s OK.
6. Be each other’s loudest cheerleader.
Help each other achieve your greatest potential by cheering on your partner toward success. This is a simple, but incredibly powerful, way to be “there” for your partner through thick and thin.
7. Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong.
It happens. You’re human. Take ownership when you’re wrong. This will make it much easier for you to both move forward.
8. Show your commitment daily.
It’s the little things that count. Remind your partner of your devotion every day by saying and doing something to make him or her feel loved by you. Share something positive about the other person to remind your partner of why you think s/he is wonderful.
9. Be patient.
Especially when you’re face-to-face with what you consider to be your partner’s weaknesses.
10. Celebrate your values, hopes and dreams.
Sharing common values, similar goals, and dreams brings you closer together. Celebrate these in your relationship on a regular basis to keep you grounded and build your connection.
11. Talk it out.
If you have a disagreement, silence is one of the most painful things you’ll encounter. Don’t shut down during an argument. Open the lines of communication and talk it out.
12. Lead by example.
The best way to receive love is to give love. Lead your relationship with action. Show your partner how you want to be loved by giving that same type of love first.
13. Don’t be afraid to apologize.
There’s power in the words, “I’m sorry.” In relationships, it’s not about being right all the time, but rather leading with your actions and heart. Leave your ego behind and free yourself up to offer a sincere apology when it matters.
14. Live in the moment.
What’s in the past should remain in the past. This is especially true if you’re arguing. Avoid stirring up negative issues by living in the moment and focusing on your future together.
15. Have regular intimacy dates.
Want the best secret to a long-term relationship? Carving out consistent time for you and your partner. It’s maintaining a close connection that helps creates an enduring bond with your partner.