How to Make a Relationship Work

Four Methods:Show AffectionDevelop TrustCommunicate EffectivelyRelationship Help

Are you fighting again with the person you love? Are you worried that your relationship is on the rocks, or that you or your partner might not be as invested as before? Read on if you want some advice on how to make your relationship running smoothly again.

Method 1
Show Affection

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    Decide to love. Infatuation is typically what sparks loving relationships. Then the excitement fades and warm feelings diminish unless both partners make conscious efforts to renew their feelings for one another.
    • Once love is established in a relationship, actively expressing love to each other will maintain and increase the loving feelings in both partners.
    • On the other hand, not expressing love sometimes hurts the bond you share with your partner.
    • If you are aiming for a long-lasting, successful relationship, you need to commit to your partner's emotional well-being, even when it isn't easy. This means sharing affection with your partner, through good times and bad, when it's most needed and when it's least expected.
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    Be romantic. Romance is essential to have at least some of the time. Candles, candlelight, compliments, stargazing, watching the stars, sunset or sunrise, fireworks, romantic bubble baths, showers, and romantic dinners are good ideas. Inject a little romance into some of the things you do and some of the places you go.
    • Have a certain song, a certain movie, a certain phrase that's "yours," that you only share with your partner. This will not only signal togetherness with your partner, but it will also establish intimacy.
    • Do the unexpected. By all means, plan out your dates. But on certain occasions, surprise your partner. Surprises take a little foresight. They show your loved one you really care.
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    Show your love. Hold hands, kiss, hug, cuddle, snuggle, or wrap arms around shoulders or waists. Become close and really comfortable with each other physically and emotionally. Share every part of yourself (your heart, mind, and soul), not just your body.
    • Look your partner in the eyes. When you talk to them and when you're simply together, make a connection to their soul through their eyes.
    • Don't be afraid to show affection in public. Hold her hand; kiss him on the cheek; don't worry what other people think so long as you know your loved on feels your gratefulness.
    • Brag a little every once in a while. Don't make it into a big deal, but praise your partner's achievements and let other people know how much you know s/he accomplishes.
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    Settle disputes peacefully. Apologize, forgive, and make up with each other. If you threaten to break up with each other after every fight or argument, you will never really resolve anything. Take breaking up off the table. Talk through disagreements as long or as many times as it takes until the issue is resolved and both of you feel comfortable moving forward.
    • Don't generalize when you argue. Words like "always" and "constantly" can make your partner feel like they never do anything right. Talk about specific instances, and try not blow things out of proportion.
    • Talk about the good with the bad. Start off by saying how much you love the person, and how committed you are to making the relationship work. Then go into your complaint, if you have one. It will make your partner less defensive.
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    Keep most things private between you two. When your partner shares with you and confides in you (emotionally and physically), especially when they share something about another person; resist the urge to disclose sensitive details to anyone without permission. You should treat it as something special, personal and private between you two, out of respect for your partner. A relationship is between two people — you and your partner, not anyone else. Don't involve others in intimate matters, however close you may feel to them.
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    Remember that intensity of emotion can ebb and flow over the years. There may be times when you are less aware of your love, more into your own interests, perhaps even more selfish. Those are the times to remember all the wonderful things you have done together, and still want to do.
    • It's natural for your feelings about your partner to change over the course of the relationship. After a couple years, infatuation takes a back seat to faithfulness and trust. This doesn't mean that you're not in love anymore; it just means that your love has matured.

Method 2
Develop Trust

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    Establish trust on all levels. Mutual trust is founded in respect and loyalty toward each other. Strive to understand and respect your differences. Share and clarify your differing perspectives, and try to empathize with each other's point of view.
    • In some cases, it is better to simply agree to have differences of opinion, or your own ways of doing things. We're all different, and that's okay. You wouldn't want to be dating yourself, would you?
    • Pressuring your partner to do something that they really don't want to do, or neglecting or abusing them (whether emotionally, verbally, physically, or sexually) hurts your ability to trust and rely on one another.
    • Be able to trust each other in everything, keeping private your partner's innermost secrets, fears, and struggles. Help your partner overcome them.
    • When you say you'll do something, follow through. Keep your word. Realize that fulfilling simple, basic commitments every day lays the foundation of trust that extends to more challenging situations.
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    Spend time together. Carve out time doing relationship-building activities. Really get to know each other and build a connection between you that's strong and enduring. Talk on the phone nearly every day, and try to see each other at least 2-4 times per week.
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    Spend time apart once in a while. Spend time by yourself pursuing hobbies. Just ensure that no other relationship or pursuit crowds out your partner from being your first priority.
    • Focus on loving yourself. If you love yourself, your partner is invited to love you more. Do things for yourself that demonstrate your self-respect.
    • Don't neglect your friends. A lot of people enter relationships and then neglect their friends, feeling lonely when if/when the relationship ends. Don't forsake your friends; they'll help you discover yourself or stay grounded while you're in the relationship.
    • Don't neglect your partners' friends. You can better understand the person though her/his friends. You might not like all of them, but you should never push your partner into a choice between you and them. There must be a reason why she/he chose those people, try to find it and build up a relationship with them based on that positive aspect of their character.
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    Support each other. Be there through the good, happy, sad, and bad times—no matter what. Be emotionally available when your partner needs it. We go through a lot of turmoil and difficulty in our regular lives; knowing that your loved one is there to comfort, reassure, and encourage you makes the process a whole lot easier.
    • Listen. Sometimes, all we need is someone who listens to our troubles or is kind enough to sit through our rant. It's simple but profound.
    • If your partner resists your attempts to comfort them and doesn't want to talk about it, ease off of the subject and wait until they seem to be in a better mood before returning to it.
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    Don't play games or intentionally act distant to seek control over your partner. This is a form of abuse. If your partner speaks to you, reply with compassion. Never stay silent and avoid them.
    • Recognize the patterns of a manipulative relationship. If you find manipulative patterns in your relationship, seriously consider whether you and your partner can overcome them, and how detrimental they are to the relationship. Sadly, most manipulative relationships stay manipulative. Here are some signs to be on the lookout for:
      • Does your partner make you feel guilty when confronted about his/her behavior? Does s/he deflect criticism by saying that you don't love enough, don't do enough, don't help enough?
      • Does your partner shame or intimidate you in getting something they want? Does your partner then try to pass off insulting remarks as jokes, criticizing you when you take them seriously?
      • Does your partner rationalize every part of their bad behavior with justifications that are slightly off? Are they long on excuses but short on changes?
      • Does your partner deny ever doing anything wrong by playing innocent? Are they incapable of acknowledging mistakes by flat out denying that mistakes happened?
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    Think of your partner when making decisions. Your wants and needs are just as important as your partner's. If you give nothing of yourself, then you'll get nothing in return. Ask yourself, for big and small decisions alike, if:
    • Your decision is good for both you and the relationship. A decision that's good for you but bad for the relationship obviously doesn't make things easy.
    • Your decision is good in the short term but bad in the long run. You might want instant gratification for the relationship, but if it's unlikely to help the relation in the long run, consider other possibilities.
    • Your decision is good for your partner but bad for you. Thinking of your partner can only happen when you take care of yourself. Don't consistently make concessions for your partner if they aren't willing to make some for you.
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    See family as one, not two. Your in-laws or your partner's parents can be hard to deal with, but if you want a relationship with your spouse/partner, you'll need to have a relationship with them.
    • Don't try to find fault. We've eager to dismiss the blemishes of our own parents but point out the blemishes of our partner's. Try to break this cycle. Give both sets of parents the benefit of the doubt before your judge them.
    • Go with the flow. Resist the need to be completely in control with your in-laws. Try things their way. Be accommodating. Bend with the wind, don't break!
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    Remember that every person, couple, and relationship is different. Don't compare your relationship to anyone else's—not your parents or other family members, friends, coworkers, that couple whose relationship seems perfect, etc. Every couple makes their own love rules, love agreements, love habits, love routines, and so on. Just focus on you two and making your relationship the best that it can be.

Method 3
Communicate Effectively

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    Communicate about anything and everything. Have deep and meaningful conversations once in a while. Discuss what's going on in your lives right now — social life, school life, or family life — and learn about each others pasts and childhoods.
    • Celebrate accomplishments, encourage goals and ambitions, and explore each others values and beliefs. Share your deepest thoughts, needs, wishes, hopes, and dreams. Know each other inside and out.
    • Ask questions. Ask your partner about his/her life, their past, their goals. Few things are more attractive than being genuinely interested in someone's life, and nothing is more affirming.
    • Share even basic things. It's okay to broadcast some inner thoughts you're having, as long as you don't do it constantly. This can help your partner feel closer to you, more connected at the hip.
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    Make continual efforts to maintain your relationship. Work on it. Work hard at keeping it positive, upbeat, healthy, and the very best it can be.
    • Have a conversation with your partner about what aspects of your relationship they believe could change for the better. Improve the things you both agree can be improved.
    • Challenge yourself to do at least one nice thing for your partner every single day. It could be a simple text, an errand, a smile, or a kiss.
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    Don't scream at each other. Nothing gets solved in screaming at someone else. It just raises the tension between you and more than likely will create more issues than it solves.
    • Things are best handled if each person gets a chance to talk. This means you listen to what your spouse has to say and respond with your feelings as they listen.
    • If you are being screamed at, calmly let the person know that screaming isn't helping and ask if they will also please listen to your perspective.
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    Be completely honest with each other. A truly emotionally intimate relationship requires open and honest communication. Keeping secrets from your partner creates a barrier between you that limits your mutual emotional trust. Honesty can be scary, but if you want your relationship to thrive, then you both need to believe in it.
    • Never cheat or be disloyal. Whatever you do behind your partner's back, imagine them doing it to you. Treat others how you want to be treated.
    • Tell your partner when something is bothering you. Trust your partner to tell you when something is bothering them. Expect loving honesty from your partner, and expect them to want the same in return.
    • Be honest without being harsh. Don't bruise your partner's ego unless it needs bruising. Ease into criticism gently, without frustration, with a smile and a loving heart.
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    Cooperate. If you don't agree on something exactly then there is probably another option. Look for different solutions that you can both see eye to eye on. There are many ways to do something but if we cooperate with each other it will end in the best result for the individuals involved and probably get things done faster.

Relationship Help

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  • Always be yourself but be prepared to compromise in order to help and develop a relationship into one with equal effort.
  • Respect.
  • Listen to your feelings, but don't forget to be rational.
  • Be open with each other let your partner know if you are hurt by what has been said.
  • There is always somewhere to go and something to do with each other as a date, so be creative and search around for ideas on what to do and where to go.
  • Love yourself.
  • Infatuation generally lasts for 2 years as studies show. Keep this in mind, and if your relationship manages to be 2 years or more, then chances are you two have something that is more than skin deep.
  • Make sure to take some time to yourself over the week because hanging out too much could lead to one partners feelings to shift from love to annoyance.
  • Always be creative in the bedroom.
  • Have Saturday or Friday "date nights" for you as a couple (basically a weekly date). This works whether you're in high school, college, or beyond.
  • Remember, if you're boyfriend and girlfriend, basically anywhere you go together and anything you do together is a date. Have fun and bond with each other.
  • Use relationship resources to help your relationship - e.g., books, relationship therapists, counselors, and psychologists.
  • Handle matters with a level of maturity in a relationship. Behaving childish will not do you any favours.


  • A relationship should be healthy, caring, loving, kind, upbeat, and positive. It should make your life better. If your life feels trying, upsetting, and worrisome, and even more so when you spend time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, it may be time to reassess.

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