Everyone always says the one thing that keeps couples together is communication, yet very few couples actually know how to do it.
Adapt to your partner’s love language.
Communication is way more than “where were you last night?” or “where did you put the car keys”, it’s also about how you express your love for the other person. Figure out what your partner’s love language is, and if you don’t know what a “love language” is, read this book: The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I know that book is from 1995, but it has really good points about how to give, receive, and communicate your love with your partner. If you’re the type of person to receive love from “words of affirmation”, but your partner is the type to receive love from “acts of service”; you might have to adapt how you show your love to your partner. Speaking in the same language really helps when communicating.
Remember to have realistic expectations for a relationship.
A relationship where you always understand each other, never get into any fights (ever), communicate telepathically, and inherently know what the needs and wants of the other person doesn’t exist. Don’t expect that. There will be conflict, but when it comes, know how to handle it. ALSO, don’t naively expect that a relationship must have flowers/chocolate/diamonds or any other romance novel bullshit. I personally love flowers, but I don’t inherently expect Jacob to get them for me as a tenant of our relationship. Learn to appreciate the little things in life, but don’t let a $10/$20/$30-whatever priced flower bouquet determine the stability of your relationship.
Settle Arguments quickly and effectively.
Every time me and Jacob get in a fight, he tells me his view of the argument, and I tell him mine. We both keep an open mind, which can be hard to do, but it’s not impossible. If it gets really heated, we’ll take a break to calm down. Taking an hour or two break can be super effective helping both parties to step back and see both sides of the argument. Compromise is key when dealing with an issue, but never compromise on your moral or religious beliefs. Never compromise who you are for the sake of your relationship. A good partner supports the fundamentals of who you are, and should respect them no matter what.
Don’t be afraid to tell your partner things that you do and don’t like about your relationship.
Telling your partner these things can make you much happier in your relationship. Communicate with your partner, but don’t accuse them or get argumentative. Instead of “You never take me out.” say “I wish we would go out more”. Say “I like it when you …, but it would be better if you did this”. Don’t be afraid to say “[insert partner name here], we need to talk about some things”. It’s sad that this is a common phrase to say when someone breaks up with their partner, because that means they’ve never said this phrase during their relationship. They’ve never communicated with each other about what needs to change to make this relationship works, until they’ve had enough, and are ready to leave.