It might seem like a gloomy and pessimistic outlook to have, but I think it's important to be aware that even the most loving of relationships aren't always rainbows and butterflies. Inevitably, there will be disagreements and hardship in every relationship, and the only way to overcome those difficulties is to build and maintain a healthy relationship with your partner. No matter how ~in love~ you are, keeping your relationship strong requires an active effort on the part of both partners: an effort to support each other, spend quality time together, build intimacy, and just generally do things for each other to show that you care.
In a recent thread on AskReddit, one user asked for married people to share the "little things" they do that keep their relationship healthy, and their responses are all the proof you need that strong, happy, stable relationships that last a lifetime do exist. The best part? You don't have to make a bunch of grand gestures to keep your partner happy. The best relationships are built on a foundation of little things — like always saying "I'm sorry" or giving your partner the bigger slice of cake without thinking about it — which all add up to make one healthy, stable partnership.
If you're looking for simple ways to improve your relationship, here are 15 pieces of advice about maintaining happy, healthy long-term relationships, straight from happily married folks themselves.
1During Arguments, Check To Make Sure You're Not Hungry
Honestly, I'm blown away by the simple brilliance of this trick — because being hangry is a very real thing. If you start to argue, do a "gut check" and figure out whether your irritability can be satiated by a snack instead of a fight.
2Learn How To Comfort Your Partner
It can be hard to figure out what to say to comfort someone when they're sad, but you don't always have to use words: you can be a comfort to your partner just by being there to hold their hand or be a shoulder to cry on.
3Don't Bottle Things Up
It might sound like bad advice to argue *more* instead of less, but healthy couples know that it's better to be in the habit of voicing your concerns and issues to your partner than to bottle things up until your feelings eventually explode.
4Learn To Let Go Of Small Things
On the flip side, you don't have to voice every little thing that upsets you in day-to-day life with your partner. If you can learn to let go of the little things that get on your nerves and focus on being present and happy with your partner, you'll be much better off in the long run.
5Keep Dating Your Partner
When you've been dating (or married to) someone for a long time, it's easy to get comfortable and let the romantic aspect of your relationship fall to the wayside. No matter how long you've been together, don't forget to keep going on dates, and always make the time to connect and be intimate.
6Give Your Partner "The Big Half"
Not only can this tip be taken literally (like giving your partner the bigger half of a piece of cake), but it's also a great metaphor for the attitude both partners should have in a relationship: always wanting your partner to have more, and never being selfish.
7Express Your Love Often
Even on the most hectic of days, take a quick moment to really connect with and express your love to your partner: over time, that habit will help your relationship grow even stronger.
8Ask Your Partner What You Can Do For Them
You don't have to set an alarm (even though it's a super cute idea), but be sure to check in with your partner each day and ask what, if anything, you can do for them — it's a small, easy-to-adopt habit that will reaffirm how much you care and want to make them happy.
Partners who are able to laugh together, stay together — so don't be afraid to just be silly with your partner sometimes.
10Make Sure Your Marriage Jar Is Full
It's a bit of a silly analogy, but it's also a super helpful visual: every time you compliment, praise, or share an intimate moment with your partner, picture yourself filling up your "marriage jar" — and picture that jar emptying out with every negative interaction. The goal is simple: keep the jar full.
11Always Talk About Each Other With Respect
Although it's totally normal to need to vent about your relationship troubles from time to time, it can be problematic if you paint your partner in a super negative light to everyone around you. The strongest couples also have a huge amount of respect for one another, and can remain respectful no matter what complications they might be experiencing in their relationship at the time.
12Be Comfortable Saying "I'm Sorry"
If you want your relationship to last, you have to learn to take accountability when you make a mistake or hurt your partner's feelings. It's not always easy to say "I'm sorry" in a relationship, but it's so important to get comfortable apologizing to your partner.
13...And "Thank You"
On a similar note, being able to express gratitude and show appreciation to your partner — even for the little things — will help ensure that your relationship stays strong over time.
14Be Each Other's Number One Priority
In a true partnership, both people should consider their partner their number one priority... meaning that their needs always come first during moments when they need your support and love the most.
15Always Work On Improving Your Relationship
And the most important "trick" to keeping your relationship healthy? Always be actively working to improve your connection with your partner and make your relationship stronger.
Ultimately, all it takes for a relationship to last long-term is a little bit of hard work — and plenty of love, too.