• Han Butler

12 Tips to Keep Your Relationship Alive

Updated: Jan 13

Photo by Pixabay

I like to talk about how happy James and I are in our relationship, but do you know what responses I hear a lot?

"It's only been 1 year."

"Give it a couple more years."

"It won't last forever."

Those responses half piss me off and half make me sad that people have this insane idea that relationships automatically have an expiry date. Reality check - they don't! Relationships last for as long as you allow them to last. People assume that because I've only had one relationship before James, that must mean I don't know what I'm talking about. When in actual fact, having few relationships is exactly why I do know what I'm talking about. I've dated plenty of people in the past that wanted a relationship, but I said no. Why? Because I couldn't see a future with that person. I don't just hop in and out of relationships; that's not who I am. Being in a relationship is a serious commitment in my eyes. A relationship needs to be filled with promise, love and respect. Relationships take a lot of care, time and understanding; which is exactly why, when I do decide to be in a relationship, I put everything I have into it to make sure that it grows and lasts.

I grew up admiring my grandparents' relationship. They've been through a lot in their 50 years together. They bicker and they get on each other's nerves sometimes, but that has never diminished their love and respect for each other. James also grew up with a relationship to look up to - his parent's are still madly in love and it's truly beautiful to see. James and I have been taught what it means to be in a relationship and what it means to love unconditionally.

That's enough about my relationship for now. I hope that you don't believe every relationship is destined to fail. A great relationship can stay great if you work on it. Here are my 12 tips to keep your relationship alive:

1. Communication is key

This is my top tip for, not just your relationship, for life. Have you ever gotten mad at your other half (or vice versa) because they didn't do something that you asked them to do in your mind? If there is something that you would like them to do, to improve on, or to apologise for, then you have to tell them. If you don't, then you don't have an excuse to be mad at them for unknowingly doing something "wrong".

It's okay to voice your opinion. In fact, its a necessity, as long as you talk with your partner and not at them. Communication and honesty go hand in hand; to have one, you need to do both.

Added tip: Never go to bed angry. Make sure you sort things out as they happen so you can get in bed and give each other a good night kiss ready for a new day.

2. Show affection

Has a partner ever stopped showing affection and it made you feel as though you were being neglected? Me too. It's a natural thing to think. We all notice the slightest change in the way a partner acts and it can put a real strain on the relationship. Communication ties in to this tip as well - if you're feeling as though you're not receiving the affection that you deserve, then you need to be honest and tell your other half.

It's the little things that mean the most, such as; holding hands whilst you're walking down the street, a kiss hello and goodbye, putting your hand on their thigh when you're sitting next to each other.

3. Make promises (that you're going keep)

Every now and then we need a bit of reassurance in a relationship. Whether you're going through a bit of a rough patch or just feeling a little insecure, I suggest that you sit down with your partner and list the promises that you're making to each other.

You might include:

"I promise to always be honest with you"

"I promise to make you my priority"

"I promise to love you even when I don't particularly like you"

"I promise to always protect you"

You get the idea. But just make sure that when you make a promise, you intend to keep it.

4. Focus on the good

I've witnessed a lot of relationships end because they kept circling back to bad times or constantly complaining about the small every day annoyances. I believe a majority of those couples could have mended their relationship if they'd just took a minute to focus on all of the good between them, instead of the small number of bad.

Stop holding on to pointless negatives whilst there are so many amazing things and moments in your relationship.

5. Quality time is important

Are you both constantly around other people or going out with friends? Do you live together but eat separately and do your own things every night? If you answered yes, then you need to change that quickly. You don't have to spend every minute of free time together because time for yourself is important to, but I do recommend that you take the time to spend at least 2 days/nights a week together. You can get creative with your quality time, just remember that quality times means just the two of you.

6. Loosen up and have some fun

Is your serious relationship turning seriously boring? You both have to loosen up and have a bit of fun. Be goofy and weird around each other and laugh until your stomach hurts. Reintroducing the fun and excitement again will make your bond and connection stronger than ever.

7. Show how much you care

A while ago I could tell that James was a bit tired and down about work and he needed cheering up. So I cooked him a comfort meal that I knew he'd love, I lit candles, and I wrote a few cute notes to make him feel better and we had a lovely date night.

It's one thing caring about your partner, but are you showing them how much you do care? Showing them is all about taking initiative. Ask them about what is on their mind and truly listen. Run them a bath at the end of a stressful day. Let them know that you're always there for them because you care.

8. Be your own person

I can't stress how important it is to make sure that you're your own person in a relationship. It's so easy to lose yourself in a relationship because your partner becomes the most important thing in your life, and they make you happier than anything ever could. But unless you want to end up resenting them or forgetting who you are without them, then you need to be independent. No one should give up who they are in a relationship.

9. Have self-confidence

I speak from experience when I say that lacking self-confidence can seriously dampen the relationship. When your confidence is low, your insecurities start to eat away at you. That could lead to jealousy and paranoia - two things that definitely don't help a relationship.

10. Keep a united front

Having a united front doesn't mean that you have to start sharing the same opinions. Being a united front means that you're acting like a team. Is their mum always letting herself into the house to start cleaning and your partner is too scared to ask her to stop, but if you say anything you'll become the bad guy? Well the two of you need to have words...your partner that is. A compromise has to be made and you both have to show a confident unity.

11. Treat them like a best friend

You and your partner may already be best friends which is great! But if you're strictly partners, you still have to treat them the same as you treat your best friend. Let me explain why...you laugh and joke with your friends, you're honest with them, you're kind and patient and considerate. Well they're all things that you should be projecting on to your partner too. Being your partner doesn't mean they deserve less than your friends.

Last, but definitely not least...

12. Great sex

Sex is an important part of a relationship for most, but for some couples it can take quite a bit of practice to reach that level of ground-breaking sex. If the sex is a bit meh, that doesn't necessarily mean that it'll always be that way. You shouldn't be afraid to have an open conversation with each other about what you both like and don't like. Honest communication will lead to great sex for the both of you, which is one of the sure-fire ways to keep your relationship alive.

Do you have any relationship tips? I'd love to read them in the comments below!

Love, Han


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