Relationships are hard, I think everyone can agree on that. To make it easier, here are eight tips from people of all ages who are actually in committed, loving relationships.
1. Putting in as much as you get out.
"I definitely feel that we both get as much as we put in. We are both very supportive of one another and are basically each other's rock. When I am going through a hard time he will be there for me and help me with whatever I need even though we are so far apart (7 hours). I also do the same for him. We are both very appreciative of one another and all that we do for each other. We are honestly best friends, and I couldn't ask for a better partner in my life. I don't know where I would be without him."
2. Don't listen to others. Your relationship is all your own and has no rules.
"We lived together before we got married. We actually lived together before we were dating. I know it isn't always a popular opinion, and there are arguments against living together, but for us I think it helped us know that we could stay together."
3. Communication, as oversaid as it is, is key.
"[When we argue,] if you boil it down, it is always about one or the other of us not paying attention to the needs of the other. It may seem like it is housework, or money, or kids, or plans, but at the bottom of it all is one or the other of us has a need that isn't being met and hasn't communicated that before it boils over."
4. There is a learning curve. You need to compromise.
"I tend to be a really clingy person, which can be an issue when you're in a long distance relationship and you don't see each other more than six times a year. At the beginning of our relationship, I think I expected for him to give every single minute of his free time to me, and that caused a lot of stress. He also isn't the best at communicating his feelings, which caused a lot of problems. But we've sat down with each other and talked about it, and for the past couple of months things have been going really well. We don't really argue, and I think now we've both realized that we need to express our feelings more and think rationally about situations instead of getting upset over something we can't control."
5. Laugh with your partner.
"Honestly it's really stupid, but one time we were at the grocery store, and he pronounced asparagus as AH-s-Par-Ah-Gus and I've never ever laughed so hard in my entire life. (He legitimately thought that's how you said it.)"
6. Sometimes, it's the little things that count.
"When I went out of town for J-term last year, I made a countdown calendar for his wall of days until we would be together again. On the back of each day, I wrote one of my favorite memories of things that we'd done together or things that I appreciate about him. I am allergic to nuts, so he avoids eating anything with nuts when I'm in town, so I also left some Reese's peanut butter cups since I know he loves them and can't eat them when I'm around. Most of the things that I do are small gestures, though!"
7. Push through the hard times.
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and multiple reconstructive surgeries. I had a particularly bad reaction to chemo. Multiple medications were tried, but nothing controlled my nausea and vomiting, which then progressed to uncontrollable diarrhea. I was absolutely miserable and ended up in the hospital in shock from blood and fluid loss. It was just plain ugly."
"Again, medical things aren't his forte, but he cooked, he cleaned, he shopped, he bathed me and washed my hair. He changed my bandages and emptied my drain tubes. He cleaned up messes of body fluids while I cried with embarrassment. He took me to every single appointment and held my hand while they stuck needles in and pulled samples of tissue from the tumor. He hauled coolers of dry ice to chemo appointments to cool special caps used to try to prevent hair loss. (It didn't work especially well, but he tried.) He held and reassured me when I cried and had panic attacks in the middle of the night. He loved me when I felt horribly unlovely. He showed me an ability to do things neither of us would have thought he could because I needed him. He isn't the most flowery 'I love you, darling,' kind of guy, but he spoke love through action in ways I can never forget."
8. Love your partner, unconditionally.
"We entered this marriage with 'til death do us part' mentality. We were bright-eyed optimists and very young when we got married. We have survived many challenges and enjoyed many mountain top moments, but we have always gotten through them together. At the end of the day, we are the most important person in the other's life, and our relationship means more than anything else that may arise."
Your partner might not be the only rock in your life, but they will likely be one of the most important ones. Make sure you know how to succeed and make your relationship the best that it can be!