1. FIGHT FAIR
You and your partner will argue, but knowing how to fight fairly will be an important skill to keep your relationship solid through the years. Things will not always be fair, but they should always be respectful of both partner’s needs. If one partner doesn’t get their way now, make sure that there are opportunities for them to get their way in the future.
The power balance in a relationship is often not balanced, especially for male and female couples. Researchers found that a relationship where the male partner had more power and was dominant were more likely to last long-term. On the other hand, another study found that power imbalances and unequal treatment was a reason that women more often cited for breakups than men did. Check in with your partner to see how they feel about the power balance in your relationship.
2. HONESTY IS REALLY THE BEST POLICY
Being accused of hiding something from your partner is not a great way to establish trust, which is essential to a good relationship. Do your very best to follow this golden rule that every relationship needs to know because the consequences of being less than honest are lonely and painful.
If you are unsure whether to tell your partner about something, ask yourself if they found out another way if they would be upset. Withholding information is likely to not win you any points with your partner either. Flat out lying is definitely frowned upon. Trust, once broken, is never quite the same again.
3. KEEP THE PAST IN THE PAST
Your past, your partner’s past, and any exes should stay there. The same goes for the mental file of your partner’s past bad behavior. Let it go or the weight of that baggage will drag your relationship down
4. ALLOW YOUR PARTNER MORE FREEDOM
No one wants to be caged up, and the more freedom you can allow your partner to have, the greater their appreciation of the wide boundaries that you provide. In a study of breakups and relationship expectations, researchers found that partners who left wished that they had more freedom outside of the relationship.
We are not talking about the freedom to stray, but if you have restricted your partner’s coming and goings, activities, and friends, they are not likely to like being with you. For this golden rule, allow as much freedom for your partner as possible, because you cannot expect to keep someone who is chained to you happy.
5. GIVE MORE THAN YOU RECEIVE
Be as supportive as possible to your partner for this golden rule, or your partner may find the support elsewhere. Be the best friend and companion to your partner as well as a romantic mate.
6. KNOW YOUR PARTNER WELL
Provide what your partner likes and needs. Know their love language and give them love in the way in which they like to receive it.
7. THINK LONG-TERM
Today is not where you will be ten years from now. Where was your partner headed before you met? Did you derail them from reaching their goals? They probably have not forgotten what they dreamed of before they met you, so be supportive of their future goals as well as your own.
8. BE MINDFUL IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Mindfulness of your emotional state, your partner’s feelings, the significance of this moment in the scope of your relationship…all of these are things that deserve our full attention. When we are shielded from experiencing the fullness of our relationship, we miss out on the wonderful moments.
9. MASTER THE ART OF COMMUNICATION
By communication, we mean listening more than speaking your meaning. The Gottman Institute studied the difference between couples who had divorced after 6 years and those who had stayed together. The difference between divorce and happiness was simple; paying attention to your partner when they express an interest in something versus ignoring them.
If your partner is interested in something, they are basically asking you to turn toward them. If you decide to turn away, you deny their request for your attention. Repeated turning away makes your partner feel unloved.
10. BUILD INTIMACY OUTSIDE OF SEX
Sexual passion is not always an enduring factor in long-term relationships, so this golden rule is important to make sure that your relationship has staying power of many intimate moments, shared jokes, joy, laughter, and connectedness that will keep you bonded for life.