13 Tips for Building and Maintaining a STRONG Relationship

 

Who doesn’t want a strong relationship?  Certainly if I asked you this question your answer would be a resounding YES!  Surveys have shown that although most people want a strong relationship and often think that they have a rock solid relationship…that just isn’t the case.  The divorce rates are still consistently high and a couple who’s been together for more than 25 years are often times stuck in a relationship that is no longer satisfying.  Where did the relationship train get derailed?  Good question.  Just like weight gain, you might not have noticed that first bump in the road.  If you want to give your relationship some healing and a more profitable foundation in which to build reliability and stamina you must first accept your role in the derailment.  Yes, that is a hard one, but no one ever got anything done without the work.  Look at it this way, you and your partner are two separate people who have decided to be in a relationship.  You are two people with your own ideas, dreams, flaws and baggage merging into one.  Think about that for a second.  That’s a little scary, right? Here are a few things to consider as you merge into a strong relationship:

 

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  1. Don’t throw away your other relationships.

Many people drift apart from their friends during a relationship. This is understandable during the initial ‘honeymoon’ period after all you are getting to know each other.  However, it is important to remember that your friends and family have been in your life longer than your partner. Make sure that you have a happy balance between them. 

  1. Don’t forget your manners.

After you have been in a relationship for a while, it can be easy to forget to appreciate all of the little things that they do for you. Sharing your life with someone is a gift – so don’t forget to say please and thank you!  I know it sounds simple but it is important.

  1. Don’t give up your financial independence.

No matter how well off your partner is, completely giving up your financial independence can actually change the structure of a relationship. Once the role of dependent partner has been created the balance in that relationship is altered.  Be able to stand on your own even if your partner can afford to carry you.  However, there is a fine line between this balancing act.  Just remember this relationship doesn’t “complete you” because you were complete when you met.  

 

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  1. Don’t focus on your partner’s bad traits.

Try to focus on your partner’s best traits rather than the negative ones. This can include the good things your partner does and says, after all isn’t that what attracted you to them in first place?  This doesn’t mean you don’t discuss those things that come up as potential deal breakers.  Just make sure you have a deal and conditions have been discussed.  Nobody wants to be judged for their flaws.  Instead try to understand that you too have flaws, and wouldn’t like it if they were constantly brought up or judged.

 

  1. Don’t give up your dreams.

A great relationship doesn’t drag you down – instead, it should nurture the best you. A great relationship also encourages you to pursue your dreams. You will struggle to be happy in a relationship. If you give up on your dreams you will eventually resent your partner for a decision you made. 

 

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  1. Don’t be a happiness know-it-all.

Your version of happiness is not the only version.  Everyone’s idea of happiness is different. If your partner enjoys space, they give it to them, and if they enjoy affection, then give that too. Most importantly, do not make assumptions about how to make your partner happy.  That is not your job or responsibility. It is surely a set up for failure. Instead, learn to identify your partner’s likes and dislikes.   

  1. Don’t give up your self-respect.

It is normal to change slightly while merging into a relationship, but don’t allow your relationship to take away your self-respect. Don’t allow anyone to speak to you negatively or talk down to you.  You have a right to expect your partner to treat you well.  Your self-respect is like a petal on a flower…it must be nurtured and protected to remain strong.

 

  1. Don’t take “I Love You” lightly.

The importance of those three little words is powerful.  Work hard to keep the words special, no matter how long you have been with your partner. Don’t say ‘I love you’ at the end of every conversation – instead say it at the right moments, to show your partner how much they appreciate them.  These three little words are potent and should never be tossed around…the meaning and power will start to dwindle.

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  1. Don’t be a stalker.

Most of us understand that because we have our own busy lives, constant contact with our partner looks a little like stalking.  Give your partner a break!  You can’t expect anyone to be together 24/7.  Be secure enough to trust your partner when you are not with them. The non-stop emailing and texting is a tremendous waste of your own time and simply can build a wall between you and your partner.  If you are insecure in this relationship, perhaps you should sit down and have a discussion with your partner to determine why.

 

 

  1. Don’t let your partner make all the decisions.

In a mature relationship both partners respect each other’s decisions. This can range from big decisions, such as getting married and having children, to smaller ones, like which restaurant to eat at tonight or what movie are we seeing.  It is a burden that wears out quickly!  If one person in the relationship is making all the decisions can you really call what you have a relationship? In a great relationship, your partner should always consider and respect your decisions – and vice versa!

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  1. Don’t share your relationship with the world.

Sistahs, this is a big one! Understand the value of keeping your relationship between you and your partner. Men dislike the idea of the world knowing their business, especially your girlfriends.  Please avoid discussing your arguments on social media and with others instead focus on communicating with your partner to solve the problem.  Communication is the thread that bounds a great relationship.

 

  1. Don’t resent your partner’s achievements.

Loving someone means you want them to be as happy as possible. Embrace your partner’s happiness and celebrate their achievements with them, rather than holding back the “Congratulations” for selfish reasons.  This is another one of those tips that goes both ways.  Your partner should also celebrate your achievements as well.

 

  1. Don’t give up your identity.

When you start a new relationship, it is normal to become interested in your partner’s hobbies and interests. It can be a lot of fun to share interests together, but do not lose your identity in the process.   If football isn’t your thing then be honest.  You do not have to be identical twins in this relationship.  Opposites do attract, so maintain your own interests and hobbies and share in those that you both enjoy together.

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