Ever heard the song by The Beatles called, “All You Need is Love?”
While the song has a catchy title, the truth is that you need more than love to make a relationship work and thrive.
Even the best relationships and marriages require frequent attention and nurturing in order to survive.
You've probably heard the disheartening statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. However, this statistic can be broken down a bit further.
- When it comes to first marriages, 41% end in divorce.
- For second marriages, 60% end in divorce.
- For third marriages, 73% end in divorce.
This equals to about 2,400 divorces every day in the United States.
So, why do marriages and relationships fall apart?
It is often because people don't put the necessary time and work into their relationship.
If a couple experiences a lot of conflicts, they may not make the effort to improve their communication skills so they can resolve conflict in a healthy way.
Some of us turn to our partners to “make us happy” and fulfill us without realizing we are responsible for our own happiness. We have unrealistic expectations about what a relationship should be.
One of the most common reasons couples split is due to inattention and apathy. They simply grow apart and live separate lives even while living together.
There are many other reasons a relationship may dissolve, but these issues can often be fixed if couples are proactive and become aware of problems before they cause real trouble.
We tend to think that love conquers all in the early stages of a romance while things are still simple, and you haven't endured stressful situations with your partner.
However, as a relationship matures, misunderstandings, conflict, and apathy can drive a wedge between partners that is hard to mend.
That's why it's important to have some relationship skills under your belt before problems occur and seek advice and wisdom from experts and those who have successful relationships.
33 Pieces of Relationship Advice to Help Couples Grow Stronger
Relationship Advice for New Couples
1. Divide your time.
When you are in a new relationship, you probably want to press pause on everything else going on in your life and focus only on your partner.
But you need to be careful about managing your time with your new love for a couple of reasons.
First, you don't want to burn out on your new relationship before it gets off the ground.
As much as you want to spend every moment together, give yourselves a little breather to ensure you don't neglect your self-care and other important parts of your life.
Second, you still need to maintain your support system and your self-identity — whether that's related to your career, education, or hobbies. Don't neglect your friends and family because you only have eyes for your new partner.
Stick to a 50-30-20 rule. This rule means that you don't spend any more than 50% of your free time with your partner, spend 30% with friends and family, and leave the final 20% for yourself.
2. Don't talk about your relationship over text.
This is especially true if you are still in some gray area stages of the “label” you have put on your relationship.
You need to be brave enough and feel close enough to the other person to be able to talk about these things face-to-face.
Texting about serious or emotional matters is never a good idea. You can only develop an intimate, healthy relationship when you are face-to-face — or at least speaking by phone.
3. Stay true to yourself.
Don't start a relationship by pretending to be someone you're not just to appease your new love. Don't relinquish your opinions and beliefs cause they may not match perfectly with your partner's.
Authenticity is critical for a healthy relationship, and you will grow resentful if you give up too much of yourself in order to be more attractive to your partner.
As a relationship grows, both partners will have to compromise and negotiate at times, and your partner may influence your opinions in a positive way.
But in the early stages, as you are getting to know each other, it's important to stay true to yourself.
4. Set your boundaries.
This can be about anything– whether it is about your intimacy habits or just about the personal space that you may need.
It is best to be clear up front about your relationship needs and boundaries so your partner doesn't have to guess or unknowingly irritate or offend you.
For example, say you really dislike too much public affection, or you need ten minutes of quiet time in the morning to meditate to start your day. Make these things clear from the start.
5. Show your true colors.
It’s hard to show someone your vulnerable side when you are in the beginning stages of a relationship.
Once you have committed to that exclusive partnership, you should feel comfortable enough to show your true self, even some of your flaws and foibles.
Doing so will help you establish a genuine friendship with your partner and build the emotional intimacy that is critical for successful relationships.
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So many couples get trapped in hurtful patterns of conflict and misunderstanding.
In this online course, you'll learn communication strategies that will transform your relationship and strengthen your bond. You'll learn to resolve conflict constructively and establish new talking and listening habits to make your relationship fun, sexy, and loving again.
We begin a relationship with a person based on attraction and chemistry. But those qualities only take the relationship so far.
Allow your significant other get to know the real you — the one your best friend knows.
Talk about subjects that are deep and raw. Seek out opportunities to share personal stories about your past and ask for the same in return.
If your relationship is going to grow into a long-term connection, you will both need to unpackage deeper and deeper layers of yourselves for the other.
6. Create a deeper connection.
Getting to know your partner after the initial excitement of your dating relationship has worn off is often a challenge.
You've already talked about each other's jobs, friends, hobbies, and families. Asking your partner how their day was is likely getting some dull answers.
While this doesn't mean that you are not compatible with your partner, it does suggest that you need to dig a bit deeper. This requires work and imagination and it’s a vital part of keeping the spark alive in your relationship.
Learn how to ask each other thought-provoking, powerful, and revealing questions to invite deeper discussions and opportunities for shared interests.
7. Let go of labels.
Don't get caught up too early in labeling your relationship. There are no failed romances. Relationships just evolve into whatever they are meant to be.
Do not try to force the relationship into something that it isn't. Some relationships are meant to be temporary, while others are meant to develop into a lifelong connection. Just enjoy the journey.
Remember that you and your partner are still living separate lives.
You are not yet completely intertwined, unlike people who are married or living together as committed partners.
Live your life and allow your partner to do the same. This is a way of building mutual respect, which is important for a lasting relationship.
8. Don't talk about meeting the parents, marriage, or babies too early.
You may already envision this beautiful woman by your side for the rest of your life. You may have decided this amazing new guy will make the sweetest babies with you.
But whatever you do, don't talk about it! At least not in the early stages of the relationship when you are just getting to know one another.
You can sabotage a relationship unnecessarily by trying to rush some of these pivotal moments before the time is ripe.
As eager as you may feel to “put a ring on it,” allow things to unfold without forcing them.
9. Curb your jealousy.
People in new relationships still have a tendency to check out other people, even if it's just out of habit.
If you see your boyfriend or girlfriend admiring someone else, let it go. Don't get wrapped up in jealousy and push your new partner away.
Also, try not to intentionally make your new partner jealous in order to manipulate the relationship. This is an immature tactic that is sure to backfire.
10. Be patient.
Take it slowly. Things that come quickly and easily can go away just as quickly and easily.
Take the time to build a solid foundation in your relationship without pressuring one another. There is no rush.
Studies show that couples who date an average of twenty-five months before marriage are the most happily married.
However, if you've been together for a year or more, and you don't see any progression in the relationship, then it may be time for an honest discussion about where the relationship is headed.
11. Make friends with your partner's friends.
These are the people that your partner chose to be associated with and chooses to spend his or her time with.
Knowing the people that your partner spends the most time with will give you more insight into your partner.
As motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously remarked, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
Spend some time with these five people in your partner's life, and you'll understand more about who this person is that you've fallen in love with.
Relationship Advice for Married Couples
12. Never assume anything.
Use your communication skills to ask instead. While you may think you know what your partner wants, you can't read his or her mind.
When in doubt, always ask. Even when you're not in doubt, it never hurts to ask. By the same token, never assume your partner can read your mind or intuit your needs.
It's up to both of you to have regular conversations and share your feelings, needs, and desires.
13. Don't stop saying I love you and thank you.
You may let your manners slip after years of being together, but it is important to continue to show your love and appreciation for your spouse.
These simple words are signs of respect. They help your partner see that you are not taking them or their contribution to your lives for granted.
14. Don't stop falling in love.
You may fall in and out of love with your spouse over the course of your life together. During those times when the bloom is off the rose, you can take action to rekindle your love.
Remember to continue to grow with each other, do fun things together, and discover new qualities about your partner to fall in love with.
Think back to the early days of your courtship, and recreate some of those memories that made you both so happy.
15. Don't make accusations.
Instead of accusing your spouse of something, inquire about their perspective.
If you don't rush to judgment or anger, you will be able to avoid conflict over insignificant matters.
Pointing the finger of blame and putting your partner down is one of the most divisive, destructive things you can do in your marriage.
16. Don't vent your frustrations about your spouse to other people.
Keep these things inside of your marriage. This is especially true if your issues are small like forgetting to do the dishes or never putting clothes away.
Putting your partner in a bad light for other people will leave a lasting impression that you don't respect the privacy of your relationship.
17. Know each other's “love language.”
According to marriage expert and bestselling author, Dr. John Gottman, there are five ways couples typically prefer to show and receive love: 1) words of affirmation; 2) acts of service; 3) receiving gifts; 4) quality time; and 5) physical touch.
Talk together about what your love languages are and how you want your partner to show love to you. Take Dr. Gottman's love language quiz to find out your own love language preferences.
18. Stop keeping score.
There is no winner or loser in your relationship. You and your partner have the same goal — to live a happy life together.
If one of you does a chore two days in a row, it isn't something to throw in your partner's face. You don't need to remind him or her that you always make the bed.
Both people in a relationship need to give 100%. Sure, there may be times when one person is doing more than the other, but in the long run, it will all even out.
19. Practice cherishing your spouse.
You've heard the words (and maybe even spoken them) in traditional wedding vows: “I promise to love, honor, and cherish you.”
When you cherish your partner, you view him or her as a treasure, someone you value so highly and care for so tenderly that you would never want to say or do anything to cause pain or harm. You view your partner as the most special person in the world.
Do things for your spouse to show that you cherish him or her. Whether it's filling up her car with gas or treating him to a back rub, there are so many ways to treasure the one you love.
20. Remember that everything will pass.
The good times will pass and the bad times will pass. You will go through a lifetime of stages with your partner — with many ups and downs.
You have to remember that few things in life are permanent, and it is the journey that you and your spouse are going through that is important.
Don't get too wrapped up in small problems or difficulties. Don't assume your marriage is in trouble when things aren't perfect.
Remember that around the corner is a new day with your spouse.
21. Don't give the silent treatment.
When you get mad at your spouse, do you give him or her the silent treatment?
You may need to take a break for a few hours, but allowing feelings to bottle up inside of you is just making things worse.
If something is making you angry, communicate your feelings with your spouse and talk it through.
Chances are, it was a misunderstanding or an incorrect assumption that can be easily corrected. But going silent and trying to suppress your emotions will only make your negative feelings stronger.
You will not always want to do what your partner wants to do. You may end up having a big disagreement about a financial decision or your childrearing plan.
The important thing to remember is that few decisions are black and white, and you will both need to negotiate and compromise from time to time.
You can reach an agreement where you are both reasonably satisfied with the outcome, and no one is completely giving in or giving up their values.
When negotiating a compromise, try to do what is best for the two of you as a couple, not what is best for either one of you individually.
Advice for Couples with Relationship Problems
23. Get comfortable before negotiating.
Studies have actually shown that when people sit on a hard surface, they are less likely to be flexible in their thinking.
However, when people sit on a soft, cushioned surface, they tend to be more accommodating. These feelings of accommodation can lead to a smooth resolution for marital disagreements.
The setting is important when you have to work through conflict or serious issues. Choose a neutral location that is peaceful and conducive to resolution.
24. Use “I” statements.
Instead of blaming your partner by saying, “You never appreciate the things I do for you,” say something like, “I feel unappreciated when you don't thank me for cleaning the house.”
This style of communication focuses on the feelings or beliefs of the speaker instead of the characteristics the speaker is attributing to the listener.
When they are used correctly, “I” statements encourage positive communication in relationships and can help heal wounds.
Sharing one's thoughts and feelings openly and honestly without blaming or shaming can help partners become closer on an emotional level.
25. Take a time-out.
An adult time-out is an important skill to employ during heated moments to allow each partner to cool down. Make a mutual decision to take a break if an argument is getting too out of hand.
So your partner doesn't think you are walking out on them, tell him or her how much time you need away. This may be five minutes or an hour.
No matter how long you think you need to cool down, communicate that with your partner and walk away so you can clear your head before returning to the conversation.
26. Hold hands.
This may not be something you want to do while having a serious conversation with someone you're angry with.
However, physical touch releases oxytocin in the brain, which is a hormone that helps people feel pleasure.
Holding hands while you work through the issues may help decrease feelings of anger and reduce the chances of a serious conversation turning into a screaming match.
27. Be mindful of timing for serious discussions.
Rushing through a serious conversation or trying to work through conflict while distracted with chores will probably not end well.
Both partners will feel pressured and impatient and can't give the conversation the calm attention and time it requires. Instead, schedule a mutually agreed upon time to talk about sensitive or difficult issues.
Be sure it's a time when you won't be distracted or interrupted, and when you are both well-rested and in a calm frame of mind.
28. Think before you respond or react.
When you feel strongly about something that your spouse has said or done, you may feel the need to respond quickly with the first thing that comes to mind.
However, it is best to take a moment and create an inner dialogue to sort out your feelings first. This will prevent you from blowing up and saying something that you either don't mean or will regret later.
Take the time you need to consider your partner's perspective without defensiveness so you can express yourself in a calm and constructive way.
29. Recognize and ride out negotiation phases.
The negotiation phase of your marriage, which typically happens soon after the honeymoon phase, is a critical time in your relationship when you are deciding the best way for the two of you to handle conflict.
It is common to argue during this phase, but it is important to know that this is normal and does not mean that the relationship is doomed or unhealthy.
When you are going through a rocky period of trying to figure out how to accommodate each other's needs, it is okay to disagree. Keep in mind that this phase will pass, and it's a good time to learn valuable communication and conflict resolution skills.
30. Reach out for help.
It is important to recognize when your relationship is beginning to become toxic.
For example, if you're arguing in circles about the same issues without any resolution, or you and your partner spend more time unhappy with each other than happy, you may want to look into couples therapy.
Sometimes, one person will want to go to couples counseling while the other person is not ready or doesn't think it's necessary.
However, most couples have to learn critical relationship skills, and it is best to do this early on in the relationship before it gets too toxic.
Sadly, many couples wait to go to counseling as a last resort when it's too late to repair the damage that's been done to their trust, respect, and intimacy.
31. Learn to accept criticism.
Of course, it is best if your partner offers constructive criticism. But either way, a natural reaction to being criticized is to become defensive, either by counter-attacking your partner or denying.
Rather than reacting to criticism as a personal affront, try to listen to the criticism, learn from it, and assume responsibility for part of the issue.
Instead of getting defensive, say something like “Let's talk about that. I want to understand how you feel.”
32. Avoid contempt.
Contempt is a huge predictor of breakups.
If you and your partner are struggling, avoid talking down to them. Don't insult your spouse or act as if you are superior.
Showing contempt reflects a lack of respect and concern for the one person you are supposed to love and cherish above all others.
It can do tremendous damage to your partner's self-esteem and to the health of your marriage.
33. Remember why you fell in love.
This may feel awkward at first, but take one to two minutes and hold both of your partner's hands. Look into each other's eyes in complete silence.
Think about the feelings you had when you initially met and what attracted you to the person you love.
Think about the positive times that you have shared together. Reconnect in this way when you are going through a rough patch and rediscover your love for each other.
It is important to actively work on your relationship from the moment it beings to flourish until its final days.
You need to put into your relationship what you expect to get out of it so it will continue to grow stronger and thrive throughout the years.
If you stop nurturing your relationship in a healthy way, it will inevitably suffer and may ultimately fail.
Put your love relationship first in your life and follow the advice presented here so you know you're doing all you can to make a partnership work.