1. Don’t listen to what they say any less than you did your college lectures. Pay attention to what they tell you, no matter how insignificant or mundane. Don’t turn the conversation back around at yourself by using an example from your own life to compare to theirs. Stop comparing all together. Don’t just talk to them, have an actual conversation– an art that is waning. Don’t pepper your responses with mindless head nods and a high pitched “yeah” or “nice.” Engage.
2. Withhold the blame-placing, even if you know you’re right. There is an incredible emotional buffer in starting sentences with “I believe” rather than the accusatory you-are-wrong-and-I-am-right. Nobody deserves to feel like they’re the lesser in a relationship, especially not for something they think or believe.
3. Be selfless. Not just by monetary means or anything like that, but in the way you remain faithful if you say you will. In putting your damn hardest effort into giving them things that aren’t emblems of wealth or things you wish they’d like, or that you like, but of how well you know them and how much time and thought you put into getting or making or finding something that lets them know that you know them and love them for who they are and what they are right now.
4. Genuinely wish them well and don’t harbor resentment or jealousy for their professional or other successes. Also don’t look down upon their chosen field of work. It’s one thing to argue about not paying the bills, it’s a whole other to insult them for pursuing something they love. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.
5. Speak to them like they are someone you respect. To not correct them in public, or yell at them like a child, or berate them like your inferior.
6. Forgive them and acknowledge their humanness more than you do whatever issues you take with them. Love makes us see people as these perfect creatures who are supposed to continually perform in the role that we expect them to fill and to remain doing so for any given period of time. This, of course, isn’t only unrealistic, it’s simply not feasible.
7. Learn to enjoy your time together without complaining about anything. After the fact, learn to look back on said time together and not focus in on what was wrong and the instance that they annoyed you and whatever other issues you find, but be grateful for your great dinner out, or the thing you laughed about, or that you just got to see them in the midst of their hectic schedule.
8. Take their word for it. Don’t require proof. If they aren’t being honest, that’s on them, not you. It is, however, on you to trust your partner.
9. Learn how to fight clean. Know how to tell them you’re upset without having it blow up into a huge argument. Don’t revert to childish name calling or yelling across the apartment over something silly that’s really a symptom of a larger problem. Learn to work through things as they come, not let them drift off to collect and build into a mounting heap that seems impossible to get over– because many couples often don’t.
10. Appreciate who they are and what you have right now, and stop only seeing them through the filter of the bigger picture if said picture is your expectations and the ways they don’t fulfill them. It’s the worst way we cheat ourselves out of love.