Keep Your Relationship Alive in Four Easy Steps

No matter how much the two of you love each other, it can take a little more than love sometimes, to really stick at a relationship and make it work. Relationships are hard work, as it means not putting yourself first anymore. It can mean doing something for someone else that you wouldn’t necessarily enjoy, but it makes them happy. Relationships are about commitment and about happiness in the end. So how can you keep your relationship healthy, happy, and thriving? Here are a few ideas that will make a difference.

Relationship, Sea, Happiness, Holding Hands, People

Know It Won’t All Be Rosy

Any relationship has its ups and downs. Two people that spend a lot of time together aren’t going to see eye to eye all the time. There might be some political differences that you have or some personality traits that can grate after a while. Having one argument doesn’t have to mean it is over, though. Some people often think that you have to be happy all of the time. The point is how you deal with arguments, though. You can overcome these kinds of thing if you are both committed and happy to do so. You need to learn to forgive and forget so that you can both move on. If you find that one of you can’t, then it could be worth seeking some marriage counseling and relationship therapy to help you through. You can also try meistercounseling. Otherwise one of you will only hold a grudge, and it will only rear its head later down the line.

Use the Word ‘We’

I think this one just makes sense, right? But there are even studies to back it up that show that couples that use the word ‘we’ when talking about their life or relationship, were much happier and content than those that used the term ‘I’ or ‘me.’ So if you want to feel as one and be happier, then it makes sense to see yourselves as a couple and a ‘we.’ If you don’t then it could show a lack of commitment too.


Use the 3:1 Ratio

Sometimes there will be things that our other half does that annoys us. It will happen. But when it does, there are good ways to deal with it (as well as bad ways, of course). We can use the 3:1 ratio as a way to deal with it. When we talk to our partner, we can let them know what they did upset or annoyed us. But then we can let them know three things that we love about them. It is natural for us to change and overcome those things that are negative. But if all we hear is complaints, from the person who is meant to love us the most, then it can be really hard. So compliment them regularly too.

Be Playful

Even as you age, it is fun to keep the laughter and playfulness of your relationship alive. Play games together and take fun trips. Have jokes and laugh with each other. If your other half says something that bothers you a little, respond with a joke instead of getting offended. It makes life much happier if you do.

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100 thoughts

  1. Yes to all of these.

    Especially the it isn’t all roses. I hate the “happily-ever-after” trope. It’s never happily-ever-after. There are a lot of trials, and that’s before you add kids to the mix. Before you add cancer, or losing a job, or a car accident. Before you add keeping the house clean, doing bills, and someone running out to get cat food.

    Life is hard. But it’s less hard when you have someone amazing by your side.

  2. I agree in a relationship both partners should be light hearted to a certain extent. If either is offended by the other, taking a serious approach in addressing an offense works best for me. If someone jokes about something seriously offensive, I will interpret that as my partner doesn’t really give AF.

    1. I find that it works in our partnership to be a bit lovingly ironical when one of us is complaining about something trivial.

      However, sometimes it is necessary to clearly say “You really hurt me there”. A loving partner would not want to do that, right?

      1. Taking the approach of calling something trivial in a relationship may be harmful as well. What one partner may see as trivial the other may not. It’s important to consider feelings when being expressed no matter how minute the situation may seem to one partner. Yes, expressing something hurtful directly gives way to expressing genuine concern, apology, and asking forgiveness. Neither partner’s aim is ever to hurt feelings, or shouldn’t be. So to answer your question, no, a loving partner does not seek to hurt feelings but this may happen if their feelings were hurt and downplayed or taken as a joke. We should strive to be sensitive to each others feelings, emotions, and ideas though we may always agree, that doesn’t take away from the fact of being considerate and caring for our relationship, despite outside influences such as old pain and past hurts. This is easier said then done but when you truly love someone you will go to the ends of the earth and back for our love.

        My view on relationships and marriage, is something beautiful, supportive, freedom to be who you are, and an always growing love that’s deeper than the depths of the sea. Relationships have ups and downs just like life but it’s never viewed to me, as jail, hell, strife, unpleasantness, chaos, or anything negative etc. When we take on these negative beliefs, we open doors for this energy to come into our relationship. Right?

  3. Good points all – especially the use of “we.” I never like the “relationships are work” meme, though – I think it primes irritation. I prefer “relationships are special friendships that require ongoing conscious attention.”

    After all, if we yearn to keep the honeymoon phase alive, we certainly can’t expect it when we take our partners for granted in ways that seldom occur when we are “courting.”

    In my couples coaching work we almost always discover that both have failed to extend the same consideration to their partners that they do to their friends. Duh!
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    1. I do like your thoughts on relationships being “special friendships that require ongoing conscious attention,” I appreciate this thought much, much more than the classification of relationships being work or something that steals all your time and is hard. If a relationship paints that sort of picture in your mind, GET OUT!! Or, change your perspective.

      1. Well said! Good relationships take excellent conflict resolution skills – but if there are too many conflicts, I believe the fit is wrong.

        One of the best descriptions of the most important qualities that made his 25 year marriage last came from a very happily married colleague: extremely compatible values & vision.

        That made immediate sense to me. If either are out of alignment, you will always have conflicts.

    2. I so agree with your sentence “Relationships are special friendships”; to me, your partner on this life journey should first and foremost be a friend, your best friend hopefully.

      1. Me too – which means they are first in line for time and attention. The relationships in trouble are often getting that part backwards – as if feelings of love are all that are necessary to sustain a relationship. Love is a VERB. If you don’t DO love, it won’t be long before the feeling fades.

  4. So true. We can never take any relationship for granted. The 3:1 ratio is an intriguing idea, and we will definitely use this whenever we have a run-in next time!

  5. Absolutely. I’ve been married for 27 years, and I can attest to the fact that all of these are so important to keeping a relationship positive and healthy!

  6. I will probably always be single with a cat (if I play my cards right). The cat does agree with you on some of this though and I can lift my game

      1. As for same sex marriage… my cat is female. I consider myself a celibate gay man. I often take women shopping whom other men think they own.

  7. Great article and a thing is sure rosa days to Hollywood movies, life is a steeplechase race where jockey as horse are a team and when you ‘ve got every happiness is a nivel balsam.
    Welcome to amazing amusement park called couple & love
    A scot motto in the blind of love wedlock openin’ your eyes.

  8. I have a little bit problem with number four. It’s hard for me to do it. But, it’s good to try, I guess, because you’ve given the reasonable reason.

    Thanks for the tips.

  9. Don’t forget COMMUNICATION. A couple must learn to communicate, followed by not being afraid to communicate.

  10. Relationships become fruitful when both the partners decide to adjust to the pros and cons of their better half. We cannot expect someone to be all perfect. So we should have an open mind to accept the person as whom he/she really is.

  11. Sometimes it is reallygood to remind some simple things. Especially when you are mad and you need to hear or read something which make you think about the purpose of your feelings and your love. Even if sometimes it is really hard 🙂

  12. Hit the nail in the head! Nothing drives me crazier than “I”! It’s we! Because if it isn’t we then it is in fact “I” and if it is in fact “I” then what are “you” doing here? That’s my funny take on it. Great little piece of advice!

  13. Very nice post. I especially agree that laughter and playfulness are significant in keeping bonds strong. My husband and I have phrases and words we have collected throughout the years that refer to funny moments we have had. These have become almost a language for us as we use them to bring humor to situations. He makes me laugh almost every day of my life….for me that is a gift.

  14. Very good tips! I especially loved the one that says “use the word we” – yes, so many people are so individualistic and say me me me – and we is advised, when in a relationship. Also, the 3:1 ratio is excellent! I really loved the post! Hope you have a great day!

  15. Your post is very interesting and everyone must read it because I think we all have something to learn about love ! ^-^ Thank you so much for your usefull recommendations ! 😀

  16. So true, it isn’t all roses. Relationships require hard work, but wow… having that person next to you is worth it. Love is beautiful. Thanks for the tips.

  17. Excellent advice, Ula. I especially love the ‘being playful’ advice: I’ve never seen people argue and laugh at the same time. I also like the 3:1 ratio, but for me ( and many women, I reckon) it should be more like 10:1 ( as we believe negative comments more than positive comments)!

  18. I really like the 3:1 ratio concept you posed here. That is so insightful and such a simple way to maintain a positive, healthy relationship.
    I recently came across your blog page after you followed mine. I am so thankful that I did because I am really enjoying reading your articles! Thanks for the follow! I am looking forward to reading more of your posts! 🙂

  19. “Some people often think that you have to be happy all of the time. The point is how you deal with arguments, though” I’m so glad someone finally said it out loud! This cannot be emphasised enough!
    Through social media and other visual media we are often force-fed this highly screwed up notion that if there goes by a day where a couple is not happy with each other, the relationship is doomed to fail! That is so not true. In fact, I guess with every new fight, the relationship is bound to get stronger if the people involved are able to learn something new about each other and make peace with it. Fights rarely break a relationship. It’s how and whether you patch-up after that decides the strength of your commitment and the maturity of the self.

    Btw, well said. And a good read:)

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