Relationships are tricky. With time, what once was a picture-perfect romance may seem to dwindle into a series of petty fights and the feeling that your partner doesn’t truly understand you. The fact of the matter is that it’s normal; it’s common for relationships to have rough patches, and honestly, the best part of the climb is the view, the growth, and maturity you both have built at its peak. Starting a new year means many things for relationships. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity to make memories and how to love stronger and healthier than ever before.

1. WRITE LETTERS

This may be the cheesiest advice ever offered, but if you want a healthy relationship in 2021, you need to start writing love letters. Why is that? Letters are romantic yet provide the ability to share your heart’s desires and unresolved feelings of your mind. Letters can show your partner that you care enough to settle down long enough to jot down your feelings in ink and give them an inner gateway to your heart. Letters show compassion and romance better than any fancy gesture ever could. Relationships are built on communication, and by writing your loved one a letter, what you’re really doing is showing them how special they are to you.

2. DON’T GO TO BED ANGRY

Out of all things, this tip is the most important one. If you cherish your relationship, do not go to bed angry, this is because going to sleep while angry allows for resentment to pour over your heart at night and force you to wake up in the morning feeling distant and defeated. While it’s easy to throw in the towel and shut down, refusing to argue anymore, it’s important both you and your partner feel heard. It’s okay if you both don’t see eye to eye. When the day is done, it’s better to agree to disagree and understand that sometimes you both will see things differently. Relationships are all about new ideas and benefiting from the differences your significant other brings. By going to be angry, you’re letting their differences be your downfall; instead, let them bring you joy.

3. LEARN THEIR LOVE LANGUAGE

The idea of ‘love languages’ has been around for a while, but some people just don’t see the value in understanding them. However, going into 2021, try it out and discover your partner’s love language and measure the benefits it has on the relationship. If your partner identifies with quality time, then plan a movie date at home or maybe a dinner date and some mini-golf. If they want physical touch, then go out of your way to shower them with kisses or hold their hand at every opportunity. Learning your significant other’s love language shouldn’t be viewed as silly or stupid because, really, what your doing is taking the time to learn about what makes them happy. The most common reason why relationships go south is that each partner thinks they’ve done enough to make each other feel loved. While there’s no denying that each has put in their fair share of effort, it may not be things that actually please the other person. For example, although picking strawberries in a field to give to your girlfriend is a romantic gesture in itself, ask yourself what happens if she is allergic to strawberries. If you had just done your homework, you would have known that she would have preferred apples instead. Really, that’s all there is to it. In 2021, do your homework.

4. FIND A COMMON HOBBY BUT MAKE SURE TO HAVE YOUR OWN

I think we all secretly wish our relationship resembled the cute, cuddly couples on TikTok. The ones who are always laughing and seem like they do everything and anything together. While having common hobbies is essential, it’s also meaningful to note that people need their own time alone. For example, both you and your partner agree to binge Grey’s Anatomy together and have come to the consensus that watching it without each other is the most royal betrayal. But on the other hand, you both also have your own shows—for you, The Office, and for your partner, Parks And Recreation.

A similar example would be you both love to work out together and hit the gym every morning, but when you head home, you decide to read a novel while your partner plays Call Of Duty. It’s time to realize that it’s okay for couples not to spend every waking moment together and that sometimes people just need time to breathe in their own bubbles. Having your own identity, in addition to your partner, is the only way not to lose yourself in the relationship, and it’s the best way to keep it healthy.

5. ASK THEM ABOUT WHAT THEY NEED

Sometimes in relationships, we become obsessed with the idea that the definition of a healthy relationship is that relationship that makes us happy; rarely do we think of this happiness as a two-way street. However, our partner’s satisfaction is just as important as our own. In 2021, make it a routine to ask your loved one, “What do you need?” Asking them directly what they need may sound forward and maybe a little bit too direct. Still, by asking this way, you get the opportunity to understand what they need in a relationship and what they need from you. Relationships can be complicated, especially when trying to navigate the unspoken words, confusing body language, and personal beliefs about one another. In 2021, make dating, marriage, or getting to know someone a more effortless experience by just asking what they need to feel loved by you.

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