Communication and Healthy Conflict--The Open Relationship
Speaking out about your feelings is perhaps the most important element of any successful relationship, romantic or otherwise. Poor communication leads to cheating, breakups, misunderstandings, suspicion, distrust, indifference and dissatisfaction. If you can't speak openly about your feelings to your partner, then you are very insecure about your partnership. Frank communication builds trust; couples who trust each other can always rely on each other to tell the truth about everything. Every aspect, from sex to chores, should be freely and honestly discussed. Create an open, non-judgmental policy about every issue in your relationship and encourage each other to talk about your feeling without fear of repercussion, even if opinions don't coincide.
Disagreements inevitably will happen, but keeping an honest approach to every confrontation you experience will make it much easier to respect each other's opinions. Fair fighting strengthens a relationship rather than weakens it and encourages each partner to listen. Don't let things bother you and then explode in a tantrum. If the issue is resolved within 48 hours, don't raise it again simply out of spite. When engaged in healthy conflict, stick to issues and facts only and avoid baseless accusation, interrupting, raising irrelevant past issues, threats, taunts and insults.
Cooperation--The United Relationship
A couple is made of two people, so if each person has his/her own independent ideas about everything, then you are simply two people keeping each other company and not a couple. Make it a point to have separate activities and interests, but cultivate activities and goals together as a couple as well. Making goals, resolutions, plans for the future, taking up new hobbies, sports, courses or joining clubs together unites your experience together and helps you solidify your common interests. Couples often drift apart over time because they have little in common and go their separate ways, so cement your partnership together by cultivating mutual interests.
Uncomplicated Romance--The Neverending Passionate Relationship
Valentine's Day is an excellent day to profess your undying love to your soul mate, but romance should be injected daily into the lifeblood of any relationship. Any simple surprise, like a day trip, flowers, chocolates, a trip to a musical, an elegant wine or a handmade and heart-felt card reminds your partner that you are thinking of him or her. Couples break up when the "magic" and passion begins to wane, so a daily reminder that you are thinking of each other, even if only a simple text or email, keeps the spark alive. Be sure to plan out date nights, even if you have been together for a long time or are married, to spend time together as intimate lovers.
If you are married with children, it is especially important to enjoy a date with your mate. Remember that you were partners before you became parents, and that you will revert to being partners after your children grow up and leave home.