Date your partner: You should always remember to continue to date your partner throughout the entirety of your relationship. I do not mean this in the technical sense that you occasionally go out to dinner and a movie. You should certainly plan together to do something you both enjoy and go out and do it.

But during this time and hopefully throughout every moment in your relationship you maintain “the dating mindset.” In other words, when you are with your partner, date like you don’t have a ring on that finger. Be curious, excited and respectful about your significant other. Think back to when you were once trying to woo him and do the same. Work to sweep your partner off his feet and win him over.

Your relationship is priority: Nothing should ever detract from the roles of the relationship. Any sort of challenges or new situations that arise must be in addition to, not instead of, your role in your relationship. The most common example is when a couple has children. You are now parents, in addition to being a couple, not instead of being a couple. The children add to the relationship and never detract. It is not. “I am now a father instead of a husband.” It should always be, “I am now a father in addition to being a husband.” When you have children, you are now parents, in addition to being a husband.

Communicate well: The trick of being a good commuicator is noticing what and how your partner is communicating. When your partner is communicating well, you should notice that and respond kindly. Communication is a skill that builds on top of itself. Body language and silence and verbal cues are all forms of communication that can be noticed and responded to.

Pay attention to strengths: Pay attention to what’s done well instead of weaknesses in your partner. Notice and point out when things are done well, rather than the opposite. This allows you to be complimentary rather than complaining, which will be reciprocated. Be thankful instead of doubtful and generally always focus on and make a bigger deal out of positives while letting small negatives slide.

Have a routine that works: Most couples who have a successful relationship have found a happy and productive routine that works for the both of them. You find the rituals or habits that work and you build your relationship upon those things into a enjoyable, loving routine. For example: You can enjoy dinner at same time, taking walks, going to religious services together, talking about each other’s day before bed, etc. If the routine works, notice that and continue to do it. Successful relationships are often built upon a couple’s positive habits, routines and lifestyles.

Thank you for reading and please contact me to share what you have noticed while doing this exercise or any other feedback you may have.

Elliott E. Connie, MA, LPC