How To Build A Strong Relationship

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“Regardless of how long you have been in a relationship, remember that no one is a mind reader, so always communicate with each other.”

~ Anonymous

Just “loving” someone isn’t always enough to make it work. It’s common for young adults to get wrapped up in the blissful feeling of “being in love.” They believe that the person they’re with is the “One.” And, while this may be true, building a strong, healthy, and happy relationship takes work. Relationships are not easy. The worst thing you can do for yourself and your relationship is to become complacent and assume that your relationship will always be strong and healthy, because, unfortunately, that may not always be the case.

A strong relationship requires regular “maintenance”

If this crucial element is missing, then your relationship will weaken, opening the door to boredom, resentment, frustration, infidelity, or even a breakup. The truth is (and I’m a realist), relationships fail all of the time because partners who were once madly in love with each other don’t want to put in the necessary “work.”

As a family psychologist, I see it often. So, if you want your relationship to go the “long haul,” you’ll need to reinforce it with communication, love, trust, respect, and commitment.

A strong couple that plays together – stays together for the “long haul.”

Believe it or not, not all relationships start out strong. In fact, some start out on rather “shaky” ground. Maybe you’re happy at first only to experience a “relationship slump” as soon as the “honeymoon phase” ends. It happens. When this occurs, you’re left struggling to keep your relationship intact.

Learning how to “try” together

If you are one of the people I am describing, you’re definitely not alone. Most people, regardless of age, have to learn how to grow together. For some, there may be a relatively short learning period but, for others, it can take a while. And, that’s okay. Relationships are hard and they take a considerable amount of time and energy.

But, guess what? The fact that you’re even trying to strengthen your relationship shows how much you value it. However, both partners must be willing to work on the relationship for it to be healthy, strong, and successful.  

The key to a strong relationship is trying.

Seriously, that’s all it takes. Experts often say that communication is one of the hallmarks of a strong relationship and, although this is true, a commitment to try should always be the first step.

In other words, both partners must make an effort to improve the state of their relationship. I genuinely believe that if both partners commit to trying, their relationship will become stronger over time.

Happiness, a strong relationship, and endless love may come easy for some people, but for the majority of people, it takes hard work. Understand that your relationship will probably experience ups and downs. That is normal. No relationship is perfect or infallible; “rocky times” are just the nature of the beast. However, a strong relationship has a better chance of surviving than a weak one.

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Actionable Steps


Do your research

If you want to learn how to strengthen your relationship, you’ll need to research it. Ask couples that you perceive as “strong” how they became so strong. More specifically, ask them how they strengthened or improved their relationship.

If you can’t find strong couples in your inner circle, read articles, and purchase books on strengthening a relationship. And, if all else fails, seek answers with a qualified couples counselor.


Accept that no relationship is “perfect”

No relationship is perfect. All relationships take effort – and lots of it. If your relationship is too easy and perfect, you may need to take another look at it because that’s not normal. Conflicts strengthen relationships, so if you are not having any that is cause for concern.

What happens if one day you experience a minor conflict? Will you be able to effectively cope with it? Could it cause you to look at your partner and relationship negatively? Will it make you stronger or tear you apart forever? Who knows because you’ve never experienced conflict in the relationship. 
People make mistakes in their personal lives, careers, friendships, and romantic relationships. It’s inevitable because we’re human. So, cut your partner some slack when he or she “messes up;” show grace and forgiveness and learn how to accept each other’s flaws, inconsistencies, mood swings, and everything in-between. Why? Because you have them too.


Be appreciative and show it!

Another way to strengthen your relationship is to be appreciative and show it (in small and big ways) every day. To have a successful, long-lasting relationship, you’ll need to learn how to be grateful for each other, your relationship, and the life you’ve built together.

You’ll also need to be thankful for the things your partner does for you. Maybe your partner surprises you with flowers at work or maybe he or she rubs your neck, back, and/or feet after a long, stressful day. Perhaps, your partner takes the dishes out of the dishwasher or puts a load of clothes in the wash. Maybe, your partner doesn’t do a whole lot around the house but supplies you with endless hugs, kisses, backrubs, and compliments. I bet you can find a lot of things in your relationship to be grateful for. Show your appreciation by saying, “Thank you!”
Note: If your partner does something super sweet for you don’t forget to repay the favor when the urge strikes you!


Give each other space

The worst thing you can do in a relationship is “overcrowd” each other. We all need our space from time-to-time. That’s normal and healthy. So, if you want to improve or strengthen your relationship, give your significant other space when he or she requests it. Also, don’t forget to carve out “me time” for yourself, as well.
Being apart from each other, even for a little while, can reinforce what you and your partner have built together. Missing each other for a few hours can help remind you and your partner of all of the things you love about each other. Maybe, it’s your partner’s intellect or his dry sense of humor. Maybe, it’s just how she makes you feel when you’re around her.
The thing is, you won’t recognize these things if you’re always together. If you’re unsure what to do while away from your partner, use this time to improve yourself. Strengthen who you are so you can be a better person and partner – i.e. learn something new at the museum that recently opened, sign-up to learn a foreign language at your local college, take a cooking class so you can showcase your skills when you get home, etc.


Have fun together

You can’t have a strong relationship if you never have fun together, right? Go on “date days” and “date nights” regularly; pretend that you are still teenagers in love and let your inner silly child come out! Go to a comedy club, go to an amusement park or local fair, tickle each other, and/or tell dirty jokes that are sure to get belly laughs. Laughter is healing. It helps defuse tense situations and makes you feel better when you are ill, sad, anxious, and/or unsure. So, giggle a lot because it does a relationship good!


Be affectionate

Affectionate couples typically have the strongest relationships because these relationships involve a high level of trust and respect. More specifically, these individuals like being around each other – and it shows! I’m not suggesting you have a make-out session in the middle of Whole Foods. However, a peck on the cheek or lips and/or a warm hug in public and regular sexual activities (i.e. body massages, foreplay, intercourse, etc.) at home can reinforce your bond.



Apologize! It’s the only way you’ll strengthen your relationship. Seriously. Nothing says, “I love you,” more than saying, “I’m sorry,” when you mess up. Always apologize – even if you don’t think you did anything wrong. Someone has to make the first step, so why not you?

Don’t make excuses – just apologize. When you apologize it shows your loved one that you care, and when your partner feels that you care, it strengthens your relationship.


Be positive and supportive of each other

The average person doesn’t want to be around a “Negative Nelly” or “Negative Norman,” so why assume your partner does? As I mentioned before, no person and no relationship is perfect. People make mistakes because we are human. Instead of “kicking your partner when he or she is down” how about offering him or her a little positivity and support?
Be there for your partner through thick-and-thin. Help your significant other see the light at the end of the tunnel with praise, compliments, and positive affirmations. Massages, hugs, and kisses can also draw you closer together. 


Stay open and communicate

Allow yourself to be vulnerable with your partner. Neither of you is a mind reader; the best way to know where your “heads” are is to stay open and communicate. Don’t just talk about problems; talk about everything – the good, bad, and ugly.
Devote your time and energy towards learning something new about your partner every single day. Tell your partner when he or she hurts or disappoints you. And, when you feel ignored or dismissed. Also, tell your partner when you’re scared and sad.
Note: Don’t forget to share the happy moments with him or her too, like when you get a promotion at work, lose those pesky pounds you gained during the holidays, have a good day, etc. Share it all with your partner because it will help your bond grow.



Lastly, forgive each other. If you want an unbreakable bond, you’ll need to learn how to forgive. And, I mean really forgive – not false forgiveness where you hold onto a never-ending grudge. Resentment and anger will only tear you apart until you have a weak or non-existent relationship. If you want a strong relationship, you’ll have to forgive (probably many times) and then let it go.
Oh, don’t just forgive the little things – forgive the big ones too! 

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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