Relationships are difficult. Romantic relationships even more so. Mostly due to the fact that two total strangers, with different upbringing, beliefs, life views, experiences and possible past traumas are joined together in an amazing adventure which also requires them to give a lot of themselves into it. They are asked to become less selfish or self centered and healthily compromise more (Read: ‘Never Settle’).

They have to learn to live with someone else and cope with all their daily habits – not an easy task. They have to share more, talk more, listen more,  (Read: ‘Healing Listening’)  and definitely show more compassion, understanding, empathy and affection.

We all crave long-lasting loving relationships but are willing to put in the work? Successful couples and blissful relationships don’t just happen.

[quote_box_center]There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ partnership or lovers who just ‘click’ and live happily ever after. Romantic unions and marriages alike need constant work and a lot of mindful effort.[/quote_box_center]

But love shouldn’t be rocket science. Do you and your partner want your relationship to last and be filled with loving feelings and happiness? That is the first question you need to ask yourself. If the answer to that is ‘yes’, then there is a way. Here is how:

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Make your partner smile. Whether it’s a small gift, a love note, a heartfelt text message, a quote, flowers or even a loving touch or a compliment, showing your partner that you think about them is important in keeping the passion alive (Read: ‘10 Definite Signs you are in Love’).

Taking them for granted, is one of the most common mistakes couples make. Just because you both know that you love each other does not necessarily imply that you should not remind one another of that, daily.

Be nice. Sounds so simple yet some couples find it so hard to be nice to each other. Even when you go through tough times, being nice should not be the exception but part of your lifestyle and of how you treat your partner whom you, at some point, felt loving towards. When you don’t feel like being affectionate with your partner, you can still be nice, cook them a meal, help them around the house, and be supportive, regardless.

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Everything is a matter of choice. The way you talk to your partner, behave and cope with any given situation within the relationship is your choice. It is NOT your partner’s fault if you shout, scream, call them names, abuse them in any way, physically violate them or treat them inappropriately (Read: ‘Being Violent or Abusive Is a Choice’).

Choose to walk away from an unpleasant situation until things calm down and you can both reasonably talk about the problem. Words have the power to deeply hurt others and leave scars that might never heal. Choose yours carefully.

Never argue in front of the children. There is nothing worse than children witnessing parental arguments. The emotional scars and traumas resulting from that could be many. I am sure that, as a parent, you would never wish anything like that for your child. Avoid coming into conflict with your partner in front of your children no matter what. One of the greatest gift you can give them is to be peaceful and good with each other (Read: ‘Children in Bad Marriages’).

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Be considerate and thoughtful. We all have busy, stressful days. We could also have difficult parents, challenging children, and horrible bosses. Having all sorts of problems does not excuse bad attitude, ungratefulness and self-centered tendencies.

Your partner is a person who is also experiencing a plethora of feelings, emotions and thoughts (Read: ‘20 Ways to Not Lose your Wife’).

Try to understand the things they have to face daily, either at work or at home and offer comfort and support. Even if they appear to be managing just fine, remember that sometimes the strongest people are the ones who cry behind closed doors and fight battles that nobody knows about.

Never blame, complaint, accuse or shame. Before you even start doing any of those, ask yourself a very important question – will what you are about to say make your partner feel good? Will it fix things between you? Will it enhance your relationship in any way? Loving someone is a full-time status – you can’t turn it on and off (Read: ‘Abused or Abusive? 5 Questions to Ask’).

o-SAD-COUPLEWhen you start hurting your loved one verbally or in any other way and that takes place on a regular basis then you should stop and re-evaluate your feelings. A more effective approach, instead of pointing fingers, is to tell your partner that you would like it better if he/she does things in a different way.

Offer some examples of that and have an open, non-threatening conversation that will make you both feel secure, confident and loved.

Focus on your partner’s good parts. It is so easy to find faults in other people – everyone is capable of it. What is more difficult though is succeeding in finding your partner’s qualities and good point even through rough relationship periods. Instead of analyzing in your head all the things that are wrong about your loved one, try another exercise. Remember all the reasons you feel in love with them in the first place (Read: ‘Does Love make Sex Better?’).

Consider all the nice things they do every day,  whether trivial or bigger. Rather than focusing on bad  traits that upset or bother you, swift that attention to their advantages. Allowing negative thoughts about your partner infest your mind, will only widen the gap between you.

All kinds of relationships go through bad periods, disputes, and rough times. The difference between long lasting, loving ones and those that are not that successful is that in the former couples  continuously work on them. They want it to last. They trust that they are with the right person, they respect, care and love them, cherish their every moment together, accept their differences, effectively communicate, try to resolve arguments and are always grateful for being together.

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Love doesn’t have to be difficult – it never should have been in the first place.

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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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