Things You Must Do Independently

1 – Take responsibility for your own happiness. Save yourself several hours of arguing by remembering this one rule: it’s not up to anyone else to make you happy. In a relationship, your partner will try to please you and make you happy, but in the end, you are responsible for your happiness

2 – Make good on your words. Follow through on your promises. When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t say that you’ll cook dinner, or get a birthday present, and then blow it off or simply forget about it. What this does is systematically destroy trust. And relationships need trust in order to thrive.

If you’re bad at remembering things, write it down on a personal planner or calendar, and set up reminders on your phone.

Think about what you’re saying. If you can’t keep your word, don’t promise something to your partner when you know you will fail them.

3 – Admit your mistakes. If you know you’ve done something to hurt your partner, intentionally or not, own up to it. Humble yourself and apologise sincerely, without making excuses or justifications like “I’m sorry you made me angry.” you have to be responsible for your actions and cannot make anyone else feel guilty for what you have done or didn’t do.

Commit to changing your behaviour. If you notice yourself apologising for the same mistake over and over, step it up a level. Tell your partner that you recognised this mistake keeps happening, and you want to train yourself to stop. Request help and ask for him or her to gently point it out to you when you’re making this mistake again

4 – Be realistic. Every relationship has disagreements and days when staying isn’t the easiest choice. But what makes a relationship healthy is choosing to resolve those problems and push through the hard days, instead of just letting issues and resentment faster. Working through your problems will help you be a more positive person.

Review your expectations. Do you see your partner as a person, with both winning qualities and flaws, or as someone you expect to be perfect? If your expectations are so astronomical that no one could live up to them 100% of the time, you’re setting your relationship up for failure. Learn to embrace their differences as you may learn a lot from them.

Accept that conflict happens. If you expect to be in a long-term relationship, you’re bound to have the occasional disagreement. Remember that one argument isn’t the end of everything, and there’s no person on earth that you’d agree with all the time.

Always ask yourself whether you’re better off in the relationship than out of it. If you don’t think you’re better off in the relationship, then you probably should have a serious discussion with your partner. In a loving relationship, this question almost always gets a simple “Yes.”

5 – Listen to your partner. Sometimes, all your partner wants is for you to lend an ear and be sympathetic about one of their problems. Other times, your partner wants you to actively give them advice. Know which one your partner is looking for, and try to give them what they want. Being a good listener is all about paying attention to what they’re saying and not blowing it off.

You can always ask “Are you looking for advice, or do you just want to vent?”

Listening to your partner will enhance your relationship in many ways. It will help you resolve differences without arguing; let you explore each other’s personality more deeply, and even help you pick out an awesome Christmas present. There are no downsides to listening.

6 – Show your affection in whatever way you can. There’s a difference between knowing that you’re loved and feeling that you’re loved. Sometimes, we bank on the fact that our partners should know that we love them even when we don’t show it. Don’t rely on this too much. The best relationships use affection to show love.

Do something for your partner that you know they will truly appreciate. Whether it means getting up early to mow the lawn, taking the kids to karate, or baking that nutshell shortcake, it’s often the little favours that say the most.

Don’t be afraid to show physical affection every once in a while. Loving relationships feed off of the little kisses, hugs, and back-rubs that are mainstays of affection.

Do the unexpected. It’s one thing to kiss your partner after you come home from work; it’s another thing to kiss your wife while you’re skydiving, falling 10,000 feet (3,048.0 m) from a plane. It’s the thought that counts, so put a little effort into it for huge returns.

Be loyal. Make sure they know that you will always be there for them. Put them first in your life as much as you possibly can. Not that you have to only see them ever, or never talk to anyone else, but they should know that they can always count on you. Also, expect the same loyalty from them. You deserve to feel prized in the relationship just as much as them.