Relationships are hard. Really, really hard. Finding somebody you want to spend time with can be difficult enough, but once that happens, you’ve got to deal with the difficult task of maintenance: keeping things fresh, finding time for each other, and generally just coming up ways to navigate the tricky ups and downs every partnership faces. It’s enough to occasionally drive anyone—even those in the most secure relationships—crazy.
Lucky for you, we’ve come up with 101 relationship tips—some big, some small—that’ll help you improve any partnership. Plus, we asked a few of our favorite relationship experts for their tips, including life and dating coach and Huffington Post blogger Kira Sabin, relationships author Samara O’Shea (whose forthcoming book Loves Me … Not is worth a read), and the sex and relationships editor at The Frisky Ami Angelowicz.
From how to deal with jealousy to how to get over a potentially deadly lull, we’ve got 101 relationship tips that you can start implementing right now, so start reading!
It might sound obvious, but when you really allow yourself to listen—and ask questions about—what your partner says, it not only leads to better conversations, but also better communication.
2. Take a few days apart.
Missing each other is a great way to reconnect. Try grabbing some girlfriends for an overnight or a weekend getaway every few months.
3. Find a support team.
Have a handful of great friends or family members you can call so your significant other doesn’t have to hear every small grievance going on your life.
4. Put away your phones.
One of the biggest relationship tips is to give your undivided attention when your partner is speaking. It’s is one of the most important things you can do.
5. Volunteer together.
Giving back is a great way to keep perspective of how great your relationship is, and how lucky you both are.
6. Create a checklist.
Jot down new and fun things you want to accomplish for a day as a duo.
7. Talk to couples over 65 years old.
Get relationship tips from them, and see what you can take away to apply to your relationship.
8. Take a class.
It’s proven that couples who learn together connect deeper. Find some common ground (cooking? art? science?) and go from there.
9. Revisit the questions you asked in the beginning.
What are you hoping to accomplish in the next year? What are you scared of? These answers change, so we need to keep asking these questions.
10. Find 10 things you really love about them and tell them.
Guys need confidence boosters, too!
11. Stop nagging.
Seriously, stop. Take a step back and figure out the big things about your partner that truly bother you, and approach them from a place of concern and support instead of nitpicking for sport. That’ll get you nowhere.
12. Get over needing to be right.
Learning to say “I was wrong” is a skill worth learning.
13. Take care of yourself.
No relationship can be successful if you don’t feel good about yourself, both inside and out.
14. Know what you need and then ask for it.
You’re dating a human, not a magical psychic.
15. Stop and appreciate all that your relationship is this very second.
Stop living for what it can be. This person is choosing to be in your life every day, not every day in the future.
16. Stop complicating things that aren’t complicated enough.
Don’t pull a Carrie Bradshaw during the Aiden years: If you bemoan the fact that your relationship is going too well, you might need to revisit why you’re constantly seeking out drama.
17. Assume that if something was said that hurt your feelings, it wasn’t intended that way.
Why would they want to upset you or hurt you? Give your partner the benefit of the doubt, but if it’s really bothering you, don’t be afraid to bring it up.
18. Write notes.
Whether you have study hall together or live together, handwritten notes are personal touches in today’s highly digital world.
19. Pitch in.
Help each other with chores and other necessary, if banal, activities — cooking, cleaning, re-organizing, etc. Not doing them if you live together can create tension, and always doing them can create unfair expectations. Act as team of equals.
Step away from the laptop during quality time. Everything on the Internet will still be there later.
21. Allow things to be what they are.
Sometimes bad days and bad moods happen. Don’t go crazy trying to make everything better. Just be supportive and loving, because just being there at the end of a bad day can make it better for both of you.
22. Create mini-traditions.
Creating small rituals can really help hold up a couple because they become “your thing.” Whether it’s a fancy night out during the holiday season, or watching a certain show every week, these are things that’ll give you both something to look forward to, and it’ll bring you closer together.
23. Be an open book.
They can either deal with it or they can’t, but if you can’t be your most honest self with this person, it’ll come out eventually.
24. Compliment, and often.
You’re there to make each other feel like your best selves, so let the genuine praise flow freely. Like his outfit? Tell him! Like her hair today? Let her know!
25. Make promises that you really can keep.
Say things that you want to follow through with out loud. It’ll make you work harder to make them happen. Having—and setting—levels of reasonable expectations for your relationship is a healthy way to keep it strong.
26. Acknowledge positive actions.
When you and your partner see positive actions, solutions, or behavior in one another, acknowledge it and remind each other to keep it up.
27. Establish genuine connections with the other’s friends and family.
Hang out together with both of your friends and family. This is the stuff that makes the world go ’round, people!
28. Pay attention to the tiny things that bother your partner, and if it’s painless for you, work to change them.
We’re not talking changing your laugh or your style, but if you know that your partner really hates it when you leave the kitchen counter cluttered, try to make a point of clearing it off before he gets home. It’s an easy enough thing to do and it makes their day better, so why not?
29. Never, never forget to ask about the other person’s day.
It’s such an easy slight to avoid!
30. Only one person gets to have the bad day.
If your partner’s day sucked and yours was just “eh,” let them have the pity (and the control of the remote, and the choice of take-out). If it’s you, announce it early and let them know you need the support. If it’s a toss-up, trade stories about why your days were so awful and you’ll end up laughing while trying to figure out who wins.
31. Small gifts go a long way.
Bringing home a pack of their favorite candy/magazine/book by a favorite author never gets old.
32. Graham Parsons has a song lyric that says “I just want to hold you, I don’t want to hold you down.”
Let that be your motto when you’re giving your partner advice.
33. Log onto Instagram and like all their photos.
34. Plan a date where you revisit the spot you went on your first date.
Remember all the amazing things that brought you from then to now.
35. Go on a walk together somewhere beautiful.
And don’t forget to turn off your cell phones.
36. Surprise them with dinner.
One unexpected night, surprise your partner with a home-cooked meal, and a nicely-set table.
37. Review your top five favorite funny things your partner has done.
Because your partner is funny! That’s part of why you like them.
38. Go to a yoga class together.
Or other exercise class together. Your body and relationship will thank you!
39. Go on a road trip, even if you’re not going anywhere far.
It’s nice to get out of town sometimes.
40. Pick up a six-pack of toilet paper or (even better) a six-pack of beer.
Without even being asked.
41. Keep the surprises coming.
Think of your relationship as a creative challenge. To keep the romance fresh, come up with new date ideas, new sex positions, and new ways to demonstrate your love.
42. Plan small outings.
Whether its brunch this weekend, or a trip to a new neighborhood.
43. Make out.
Kissing is something that is often set to the side the longer a couple has been together. Out of blue one day, initiate a high-school style make-out session.
44. Let it go.
Don’t hold onto that thing your lover said or did six months ago and bring it up each time you get mad at him. Do both of you a favor and let it go
45. Don’t interrupt.
Even if what you think your significant other is saying is uninteresting, don’t bulldoze over his or her words. Being able to listen to each other—even when the details are mundane—is important.
46. Say thanks.
Let him know that you notice the little things he does by saying thank you for routine tasks like walking the dog or picking up groceries.
47. Cook a meal together.
Come up with a menu, shop, and prepare the food together.
48. Have fun with hypotheticals.
Conversation can become routine. Break from the ordinary and have a silly dinner conversation made entirely of imaginary situations—for example, “If you were on an island and could only bring five movies, which movies would you bring?
49. Keep a couple’s journal.
Write down your desires and fantasies and leave them out for your significant other to find—encourage him to write back.
50. Agree to disagree.
This is one of the most important relationship tips, as you both have strong opinions and therefore some issues will never be resolved. Respect each other’s point of view and agree not to argue about the same issue, unless it’s something that could get in the way of your future, like politics, religion, or values.
51. Set goals.
In addition to setting life goals, set relationship goals. For example: We aim to spend more time together outside rather than in front of the TV.
52. Take responsibility for your own happiness
Love is grand, but at the end of the day the only person we can hold accountable for our happiness is ourselves. Do volunteer work, exercise, host dinner parties—find what satisfies you, and go from there.
53. Learn each other’s conflict habits.
Make an effort to understand you and your partner’s conflict habits so you can break bad patterns and find a middle ground that’s productive and respectful.
54. Define love.
While “I love you,” is an extraordinary thing to say—and an equally wonderful thing to hear—it means something different to each person. Tell each other what you’re saying when you declare these magic words. It could be a list of many sentiments such as, “I would do anything for you,” and “I trust you completely.”
55. Take turns planning date nights that are actual, real, capital-D Dates
Takeout and TV doesn’t count.
56. Approach your partner’s issues in the context of how they affect the relationship.
It’ll reduce the chances they feel personally attacked for no reason.
Make ample time for cuddling. Whether or not it leads to sex, physical affection is important.
58. Don’t forget to say “I Like You.”
The greatest compliment you can give a partner (especially a long-term partner) is reminding them that not only do you love them, but also like them.
59. Have a spontaneous midday tryst.
Send him a text as he’s about to go on his lunch break, take time out on a Saturday, however you want to play it.
60. Travel together.
Seeing the world together creates amazing shared memories.
61. Tell them EXACTLY why you love and appreciate them as often as possible.
“I love you” is good. “I love the way you make sure no one ever feels left out” is even better.
62. Stay out of their family drama.
It’s so not worth it.
63. Really look at each other.
We spend a lot of time with our partners but sometimes we don’t actually see them. Take the time to actually look into one another’s eyes.
64. Give each other a pet name.
It may be super annoying to other people (and you may want to reserve it for when you’re in private), but a pet name can add an extra layer of intimacy to your relationship.
65. Spend time alone.
As important as it is to spend quality time with your partner, it’s equally necessary that you develop a good sense of who you are without them. Kahlil Gibran said “let there be spaces in your togetherness,” and we stand by that.
66. Eat at the dinner table.
Do you eat in front of the TV? Try actually sitting down to a meal with your partner at an actual table. You may find it a welcome change.
67. In fact, turn the TV off all together.
Why not try instituting a TV-free night in your apartment? See what else happens when you spend time together sans the talking box.
68. Ask for clarity.
If you’re confused about what your partner means, ask for clarity instead of making assumptions about what they mean. Use an open phrase like, “What did you mean when you said, ‘xyz’” rather than instantly going on the offensive.
69. Own your feelings.
Passive-aggressiveness is a total relationship killer. Quash it by practicing assertiveness and clarity. Saying “I’m fine” when you’re not fine is a prime example of not owning your feelings.
70. Communicate in a constructive way.
For instance, we think the phrase construction “When ____ happens, it makes me feel ____” can be particularly helpful.
71. Take an interest in what your partner’s into.
He’s into chess, or cheese, or cheese that looks like a chess board (maybe?). You don’t have to love it, but give it a shot. You may surprise yourself!
72. But also cultivate your own.
You and your partner don’t need to have everything in common. Seriously. That’s actually really annoying.
73. Let your partner teach you something they’re good at, and vice versa.
Everyone—everyone—loves the feeling of being able to teach somebody they like about something they’re good at.
It’s easy to silo your social lives and create separate his-and-hers worlds, but bringing your friends, siblings, or colleagues together can be a fun thing.
Work, stress, and other responsibilities can get in the way of your sex life, and before you know it, you’ve gone a month without getting busy. Don’t let this happen. Schedule it in if you have to, just make sure to connect in an intimate way.
76. But do forget about jealousy.
Jealousy can be completely toxic to relationships, so keep yours in check. If you’re always jealous, figure out if it’s your personal issue, or if your partner is doing things to appear less trustworthy.
Spread what you love about your partner. Practice your appreciation by sharing it with others— not in a gross, gratuitous, braggy way, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to tell others why your partner is awesome. In turn, it’ll remind you why you like them, too.
78. Laugh. In bed.
Sex should be sexy, sure. But it should also be fun. Don’t be afraid to have a laugh if things take a turn for the ridiculous.
80. Check your competitive edge.
You and your partner are there to support each other, not compete with one another. If you find yourself comparing yourself or competing with your significant other, check your behavior. That’s not healthy!
81. Have a bed day.
Allow yourselves a totally lazy day where you lie around and do nothing of note except enjoy each other’s company.
81. Be kind to yourself.
The best way to develop positive patterns in a relationship is to develop them first with yourself. Don’t be so critical of yourself, and you’ll set a good example for your relationship.
82. Express gratitude for the little things, and for specific things.
Big gestures are great, but it’s great to recognize the little things your partner does that make you feel happy and loved, too.
83. Date like you dated in high school.
Ask each other out. Get excited. Take forever to get ready. Make out. Repeat.
84. Be present.
We can ruin a perfectly great relationship by focusing too much on the past, or worrying too much about what may happen in the future. Learn to enjoy where you are, and who you’re with right now.
85. Don’t try to control.
A relationship isn’t a battle of wills, it’s two people who are choosing to be together, so don’t treat your partner like they’re some kind of wild animal you’re trying to tame.
86. Embrace your common goals.
What is it that you both want to accomplish? Can you support each other to reach those goals? That’ll be a big piece of what will hold you two to together as a couple in the long run.
87. Have a cultural experience together.
See a movie, a play, or an art exhibition together — and then talk about them afterward. You may be pleasantly surprised by how differently—or similarly—you viewed things.
88. Go on a long bike ride.
Bike rides are deeply freeing experiences, and it’s nice to be able to do that with someone you love.
89. Try talking on the phone.
Yes, we know this sounds crazy, but phone calls are a different sort of communication than texting, or even in person communicating will allow. You may actually deepen your connection through a phone chat.
90. Make a mix for each other.
It’s cute, romantic and something out of a rom-com. Although in this day and age, you might want to make a Spotify playlist rather than a mixed CD.
91. Keep yourself in check.
We spend so much time paying attention to how our partners behave, but take a second to notice how you’re acting — especially if you’re fired up or in a bad mood. And then give yourself a second to…
92. … Breathe.
Before you say something you don’t mean, take a breath and ask yourself if that’s really the way you want to move forward. Chances are, taking a second out will help you recalibrate and think of a more constructive way of handling the situation.
93. Help each other.
This one is so easy, but if your partner’s having a hard time with something — whether it’s doing their taxes or organizing their closet — offer a helping hand.
94. Be their biggest cheerleader
If your partner’s accomplished something amazing, let them know it, and let them shine.
95. In your craziest moments of frustration or anger, remember what it is that you like about them the most.
There’s a reason you’re with them after all, right?
96. Remember that a relationship should always make your life better on the whole, not worse.
And aim to make sure yours is doing just that. If it’s not, it may be time to reconsider.
97. Enjoy the quiet moments you spend with each other.
Not everything has to be a big adventure or a big deal Sometimes the best times are the quiet unplanned things you do together.
98. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Don’t let yourself get so invested in your partner that you forget to take care of yourself.
99. Let go of the past.
We often let our past hurts dictate our present. Learn to let go of past resentments and fears in order to live more fully with your partner right now.
100. Touch each other often.
Simple touch builds intimacy — espeically non-sexual touch. It’s a non-verbal way of saying, “yes, I’m here for you, and I care about you” and it helps reinforce your emotional bond.
101. The best relationships are ones in which both partners feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Find ways to communicate that and foster that feeling in each other, and you’ll be good.