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Relationships are constantly shifting, evolving and growing. In a long-term romance, it’s easy to get caught up in life and neglect the progression of your partnership. Most of the time you may feel static, or that you and your significant other just aren’t as in love as you once were. This is the reason why relationships take work. Every single day efforts must be made to learn your partner better, and adjust accordingly. As someone who has constantly been ‘working’ on their relationship -for years now!- I’ve compiled 5 habits that will completely transform your relationship.

Learning how to apologize correctly
Couple Bench View Hiking Summer Fun Relationship Original
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 Words can be the ultimate healers or the prime offenders. In a majority of arguments it doesn’t come down to the issue at hand, but how it is addressed. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Within my relationship, my partner and I have created a formula to apologize. We created this based off of a variety of sociological outlines, and altered them to fit who we are as individuals. The formula is: Apology + Validation + Corrective Action + Personal Viewpoint… In layman’s terms, it would look something like this: “I’m sorry, you’re right to feel that way. In the future I will change my actions. I felt this way about this situation.” By following this outline, arguments are more likely to be resolved, as opposed to one person getting their feeling’s hurt in the process. Believe me, this has saved my relationship a lot of sleepless nights!

Putting down the phone, especially when they’re talking

 I struggle with this one. Everyone loves to feel heard, and valued. Staring at a screen while your partner is trying to connect, is a BIG no-no! Connection is the tightest bond that you both hold, and it can dwindle if you don’t nurture it! I promise your Instagram feed won’t change that dramatically, and your candy will ultimately be crushed. Give your thumbs a rest, and instead open your ears to the one person that loves you most. 

Instill a daily ‘catch-up’

This is crucial. As I mentioned the importance of connection earlier, this is a great way to reestablish it. A couple examples of how I ‘catch-up’ with my partner are simple yet effective. One common thing we ask each other at the end of each day is our “high-lows”. This means that we each want to hear the highs and the lows of the other’s day. This allows for each partner to take time to vent and listen equally to one another. I love using this method to reconnect with my partner after a long day. 

Random acts of kindness

Many ponder the age-old question, how do you keep the “sparks” alive? How are couples preserving liveliness within their relationships after such a long time? I’ve found that in order to maintain these cliché glimmers, random acts of kindness are the best habits to get into. Whether it be leaving them a sweet note, setting up a special date, or even surprising them with a thoughtful gift, all of these acts will ensure that the same fiery passion you once had, is still there.

Sustaining a long-term relationship, or any relationship for that matter, is no easy feat. It takes time, effort and lots of mental energy. Though tiresome, and sometimes draining, it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of your life. In order to nurture these special partnerships, a variety of positive habits can be implemented. These habits aren’t for the faint of heart, as they too will take lots of time and energy. The best things in life often do. With that, I challenge you to take time to reconnect and even plan a little random act of kindness- I promise it will go a long way!

Madison Andrade is a senior studying Political Science at Arizona State University. Her favorite pastimes are reading, playing piano and rough-housing with her Great Dane puppies! She aspires to make a positive change in one person's life, every day. If you have any questions for Madison, feel free to email her at: [email protected]
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