The upkeep on a fresh and healthy relationship might seem like a daunting task to manage some days, but thankfully it’s not hard. Check out these 12 influential ways to keep your relationship healthy. You’ll see what a difference it can make, and you might be inspired to come up with some other tips on your own!

1. Be open and honest with each other.

Honesty should come naturally in a serious, committed relationship – but sometimes that’s when it’s the hardest! Make sure you and your partner have a strong foundation of trust that allows you to tell each other anything. Being up front about anything on your mind or that has happened during your day will make you feel more connected to each other, which in turn will make your relationship more loving and healthy.

2. Encourage each other.

Being in a relationship means you have your own built-in cheerleader. You should be excited to come home from a good day at work and share what amazing things happened to you. Your partner will be there to cheer you on, congratulate you, and pump you up for the next step. Encourage each other to do everything, from anything as small as asking for a new project at work, to something as major as applying for a daunting dream job. Knowing you get that degree of support from your partner will help your relationship grow strong.

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3. Stay fun and flirty!

Just because you’re in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you can’t flirt! Be playful with your partner! Smile and bat your eyelashes from across the room, hold hands while grocery shopping, bump hips and fall into a kiss while cooking dinner. Everything doesn’t have to be efficient business-as-usual just because you’ve been together for a long time. In fact, keeping things light and fun will help your relationship feel fresh and new, and last longer!

4. Try something new.

A lot of couples have date nights, where they leave the daily grind of their home lives behind and go out to have fun together. Try to implement this with your partner, but make sure to try new things on these dates. Don’t go to the same restaurant every week, or always sit in the same seats at the movie theater. Try that hip new club downtown, or go to a restaurant on opening day.

5. Give each other space.

You and your partner are in a committed relationship, and sometimes that can seem like too much. You don’t always have to be together. Give each other a night off, where he can go run errands on his own, or she can go out with friends. Even if you want to spend all of your free time together, you can still give each other space. One person can watch a movie in the den while the other reads in the bedroom. Give it a try and see what works best to foster your relationship!

6. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.

Just like being honest, it’s sometimes really hard to show emotions in a relationship. You want to be understood as strong and independent, not someone who needs the other too much. Acting this way, however, will create a barrier between you and your partner. If you seem too independent or closed off, the relationship can suffer. Don’t be an overly emotional wreck, but if you feel something, make sure your partner knows. They can help you through things, and you need to work together in order to keep your relationship working.

7. Learn how to resolve conflicts.

It’s too easy to fight until you’re tired, and then just let it go. Don’t do this! You have to resolve the issue when you’re fighting, otherwise it will keep coming up and causing trouble for you both. No matter how exhausted you are, how many tears have been shed, make sure to resolve a fight before you drop it. This goes beyond the old “never go to bed angry” adage – if it takes time, let the fight stretch over a day or two. The resolution is the healthiest, and most important part – not how quickly you come to it.

8. Be open to changes.

Being committed to someone else means you have to roll with the punches. You have to be ready for changes that occur in his life to affect your life as well. These changes might not always be positive, and they might not always fit into the plan you mapped out, but you have to be open to them. Being willing and able to change with your partner makes the difference between a relationship that seems rocky, and one that will stand the test of time.

9. Understand each other.

You don’t have to finish each others’ sentences, but understanding your partner on a deep level is a healthy foundation to have. Understand how he thinks, how he approaches issues, comprehend him, and problem solve. Know that his silence doesn’t mean he’s angry, just thinking. And make sure your partner understands you. Even if this doesn’t come naturally to either of you, take time to sit together and talk it out so you can understand each other in the future.

10. Break up the routine.

Date nights, trying something new, making dinner together, making dinner for each other – whatever you can do to break up the routine, try it! Don’t just get up, go to work, and come home to each other. Go shopping together, or go for a walk when you get home. Even if the activity isn’t exciting, the fact that you’re doing something different – together! – will make a huge difference in the day and how you feel about each other.

11. Be social outside the relationship.

Just like needing time and space to yourselves, make sure you keep up relationships with people other than your partner. You need to nurture friendships you had before you became part of a couple, and you shouldn’t turn away new friends you might encounter once you’re happily paired off. Having people outside the relationship helps keep you both grounded, gives you sounding boards, and gives you things to talk about besides your life together.

12. Look your best.

This sounds contrary, right? Being able to look like a slob is one of the best parts of being in a committed relationship. Knowing someone will love you even though you’re wearing sweatpants is one of the warmest feelings ever. And it can stay that way! But it’s equally important to take time to look good for your partner. Get dressed up for her, brush your hair, try a new cologne. Looking good doesn’t mean you’re trying to impress someone else, but it will show your partner that you appreciate her still, and don’t take her for granted.

Featured photo credit: Marley Cook via flickr.com

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