It’s often not through a lack of love that many relationships fall apart. Here are 7 tips for a strong relationship when love is not enough.

1. Develop empathy and really listen to each other

Good communication often starts with a desire to understand other points of view. How many arguments have you had that have just spiraled out of control because no one is really listening or attempting to understand? I think one of the most important things we can all do, whether for a relationship or not, is to develop a strong sense of empathy and compassion. Grudge-holding, bitter thoughts and and negativity towards others will only backfire if you hold onto it.

2. Spend quality time as a couple regularly

It might be easy to slip into a mundane routine, especially if you and your significant other live together. However, you don’t have to drastically change your life, go on expensive dates or adrenalin-fueled adventures to make a big difference in your relationships. Put aside one day a week for a ‘date night’ and aim to do something totally different together every week. Eat and cook together or try out a new hobby.

3. Spend quality time with yourself regularly

A good relationship should be balanced. Don’t give all your energy away or give up on the hobbies and things you love doing. Of course, relationships inevitably involve compromises, but make sure your own happiness is never suffering as a result.

4. Don’t expect your partner to complete you

You should feel amazing just as you are. If you look for qualities in your partner that you think you lack, it could put a strain on the relationship. Sometimes we can expect too much from our partners. Yes, you should feel happy with your partner, but you should not depend on someone else to make you happy. Happiness is something that should come from inside you. Yes, a relationship might enhance your life, but it should never complete you.

5. Appreciate the little things

When you’ve been together for quite a while, it might seem easy to take your partner for granted. Say “thank you” more, tell them you love them, or send cute texts (in moderation of course). Let your partner know how much he/she means to you so they never feel taken for granted. This is probably one of the most important tips for a strong relationship.

6. Understand how you both express your love

Some people express their love for others through lots of hugs and physical affection. Other people might show their love through action and small gestures. Others might surprise their significant other half with event tickets, meals and other romantic gestures. Find out how you partner likes to express their love. Don’t take it personally if, for example, they don’t hug you all the time or surprise you with adventurous dates. Alternatively, if you’re aware of how your partner likes to receive love, you can adapt accordingly and show your love in a way the other person would like to receive it.

7. Learn to forgive

Don’t let resentment build up over the years. Holding grudges will only backfire on you and hurt your relationship in the long run. Forgiveness is key to any strong relationship, so if there are things that are still playing on your mind, talk them through with your partner and work on yourself to find it in your heart to forgive.

I’ve only skimmed the surface here, but if you have any more tips for a strong relationship, please share your thoughts, comments and words of wisdom below.

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Featured photo credit: Above shot of a young couple in the countryside. She is kissing his cheek via Shutterstock

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