You’re happy and in love, congrats to you! You may feel as though the span of your relationship will feel just like this forever. In reality, there will be a rollercoaster of feelings that you will both share with your partner and have of your partner. To put it simply, relationships take work. You and your partner’s effort will bear beautiful fruit if you water your love correctly.

I guess I should’ve made this disclaimer first—I’m no relationship expert. I’ve had my share of bad relationships where I’ve learned plenty of life lessons. Many of those lessons I apply in my marriage. 

If you and your mate follow these 5 simple tokens of advice, you will set yourselves up for a long-lasting, healthy relationship. 

1. Don’t try to change him/her

It bothers you that he leaves his clothes on the floor, or he has a potty mouth that you can’t stand. You have to realize that you can’t change him. They have to want to change for themselves. If you are early on in your relationship, or even if you’ve been with them for a while, it’s never too late to talk about your expectations and likes/dislikes. The earlier you have this discussion the better, as to avoid any conflict later. If you don’t like that she wears a lot of makeup, for example, let her know but don’t expect her to change. Tell her because you want to be as open with her about your feelings as possible. If she’s willing to make the change for you, then great! If not, it is up to you to decide whether you can still be with her if she chooses not to adjust.

2. Don’t involve your family and friends in every single little detail about your relationship

This applies to relationships and especially marriages. If you go and tell a friend how you and your husband got into a huge argument because of something he did wrong, that same friend may never look at your husband the same again, even after you both have resolved your disagreement and moved on. Keep certain matters of your relationship private. 

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3. Consider things from their perspective

Unless you both have the same exact background and experiences up until this point, you are destined to have different perspectives on a lot of different things. Before my husband and I got married, we talked about our differences when it came to finances. I’m more cautious when it comes to spending money, whereas my husband is a little more frugal. We had to come to an agreement on how we choose to spend and save our funds based on what works best for us. I had to bend a little, and so did he. You have to be willing to compromise for one another.

4. Spend time together and laugh often

This tip is especially for those who are in a long-term relationship. Don’t forget what made you fall for your significant other. If she fell for you because you made her laugh often, keep it up! Don’t lose your sense of humor now that you’ve got her. Set aside time to spend uninterrupted together, even if you have to schedule time for it. Your relationship will continue to grow and evolve when you and your mate are intimate in this way. 

5. Love each other and be future-minded!

Plan your future together. If you’re dating someone, think to yourself—can I possibly spend the rest of my life with him/her? If you’re not sure, do they know your feelings? Make sure that you both are okay with the pace of your relationship. Fast-paced and slow-paced are relative terms, as long as you both are okay with the speed at which you evolve is all that matters. I’ve talked to several women who have been waiting for quite some time for a ring and proposal. They are getting impatient but don’t want to leave because of familiarity, fear of the unknown, and holding on to hope. That is the time to sit your partner down and talk about expectations. Let him know what you want and ask him/her what they want. Don’t ever settle if your needs are different, but also don’t rush the process.  :) 

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