1. Honesty – This is the cornerstone of any truly healthy relationship. Now, honesty does not mean saying, “Uh, yeah, that dress really does make you look fat,” every chance you get. That’s just a recipe for disaster. However, being honest about money, where you spend your time, and your plans for the future are all examples of honesty that a relationship needs to survive and thrive. Once deception starts to take hold in a relationship, it gets easier and easier for partners to lie to each other. What once started out as a little white lie about a bar tab or where you spent your Saturday afternoon can spiral into bigger and bigger lies. By talking regularly with your partner about the important things in your life, and sharing your fears and concerns, you cement a deeper bond.
2. Respect - This one doesn’t just apply to romantic relationship advice, it basically applies to all human relationships: work relationships, family relationships, and your relationship with your significant other. If a deep-seated disrespect is present in a relationship, it cannot continue to grow. Respect is an especially important element for men to feel from their women. Men need to feel respected at home to really feel like a man. Women also need to be respected, of course, and this is especially true of the way in which couples communicate with each other in public. For example, all couples should be very careful not to ‘put down’ or otherwise discount their partner when talking to friends or co workers. This kind of negative talk from a partner can make a man feel less like a man, and will make a woman feel unappreciated and inadequate. However, for some reason we all feel the urge to complain about our partners in public. This is a natural desire, but just be aware of this and remember to respect your partner. A key rule here I like to keep in mind: how would you feel if what you were saying about your partner was to be video taped and played for your Mother? Would you be proud of what you’re saying, or ashamed? Let that be your compass when talking about your partner with others.
3. Love – Ah, amore. What an amazingly difficult emotion to define! We all want it and crave it, and we often do some amazingly stupid things to get it, don’t we? Instead of trying to define love here, I want to dispense a few bits of relationship advice here to help you strengthen the love in your relationship. First, you need to say it. You need to tell your partner you love them all the time. Who doesn’t like to hear that they are loved? Second, you need to show it. Saying you love someone a hundred times is not as good as an act of love. This could be something as romantic as buying flowers, or as mundane as getting their car washed. The second example there isn’t as much ‘fun,’ but it’s still and act of love. Third, you must refrain from things that can damage or destroy love. Love is a fragile, living thing, and must be cared for like any other living thing. Cheating, lying, and hurtful words are like poison to a relationship, and can kill that fragile thing we call love.
4. Passion - This doesn’t just mean sex, although I’ll bet a dollar that’s what just popped in your mind. You dirty pervert, you. Just kidding, pretty much all of us associate the word passion with love making, whether we admit it or not! While love making and passion are important elements of a successful relationship, passion in a relationship can be expressed in many different ways. Successful couples find ways to be passionate towards each other outside of sex – that may mean being passionate about shared goals, future dreams, or working on something together. This could even mean becoming passionate about getting out of debt, or saving up enough money to go on a great vacation. Finding new things to get excited about is crucial to keeping a relationship going.
5. Communication – You may have heard that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason: you should talk half as much as you listen! This is a very true axiom, and you should practice listening more in your relationship. We all want to voice our opinions and be respected, but just remember that when you listen, you are giving your partner the gift of being heard and being respected. Also, when you listen to what your partner says, they will feel much better about themselves and in turn will treat you better and listen to you more. It has to be a two way street, you cannot just listen all the time. However, by paying attention to how to two of you communicate, you can strengthen and deepen your relationship.
6. Friendship – Want to know what the best piece of relationship advice is for the long term? Friendship! At the end of the day, what we all really want is a friend to lean on a get us through the tough times this life can throw at us. Sometimes we get so caught up in the drama of your relationships, and it’s helpful to step back and ask ourselves “Would I treat a friend this way?” If the two of you can find some common ground and common interests, that will go a long way towards a happy and fulfilling relationship.
7. Understanding – I’m no Saint, neither are you, my friend. That’s part of what makes this human experience so interesting! You need to have understanding and sympathy for your relationship to flourish. life throws lots of challenges our way, and sometimes things aren’t going to go perfectly. This is where understanding comes in. You need to have a level of understanding that things don’t always go perfectly, and if you communicate opening about your challenges, you will strengthen your relationship.