There is no denying that my love life hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows (God knows I’ve had my fair share of mistakes, tears and disappointment!), it’s a fact of life and as I get older, I realise just how tricky it can be to navigate relationships if you don’t know the basics of how to nurture one!

I am a HUGE observer and analyser (born to be a blogger?) and have always been one of those people who very much so learn from their mistakes, and interestingly other peoples mistakes too! When reflecting on my past relationships, my current one, my parents relationships, friends relationships, even my parents friends’ relationships, I feel like I have started to really understand what makes a relationship work, what doesn’t, and the reasons why two people work together like magic, and why two other people just simply aren’t compatible whatsoever.

I think compatibility is hugely important both physically and emotionally, but what about all of the little things that need to be worked on after you’ve found your dream partner?

Just because you’ve found your perfect person and things between you two are pretty perfect without even having to try, doesn’t mean you should stop making an effort and stop looking for things you could always improve on within your relationship. Whether you’ve been together for 6 months or 50 years, I believe that relationships HAVE to be nurtured in order to be successful, and being aware of that already puts you onto the road of relationship success with your dream human!

1. Communication is key

This is number one and the amount of times my mum has said “communication is everything” over the years has given me one two many headaches! I have learnt this lesson the hardest way, coming home from an ex boyfriends house and feeling sick because I couldn’t find the courage to bring up something that was on my mind because I was scared of his reaction – THIS. IS. SO. UNHEALTHY. If you are ever afraid of bringing something up that is bothering you to your partner because you’re genuinely scared of their reaction, you do not have a good sense of communication and I really do think this is a huge red flag that needs to be worked on.

You should always feel like you can bring anything up to talk about with your partner, and know that they are willing to listen, make an effort to understand, look for a way to move forward and fix the problem positively, and not judge you along the way. If your partner isn’t capable of doing this, I suggest finding someone else who will! It’s EVERYTHING.

2. Love and look after yourself

My friends and I all 100% agree on this one. You cannot love someone and put 100% into your relationship unless you love yourself first. How is someone going to feel warmed by you if you are constantly in a battle with yourself? Your own personal issues and insecurities will always manifest themselves into your relationship, so in order for your relationship to maintain itself and grow in a consistent, happy positive way, you have GOT to ensure that you are secure with yourself, on the inside and out.

Something you hate about your own personality? Start making a change in your mental thinking. Feeling insecure and shitty about your body? Go to the gym and make yourself feel SEXY! If you feel awesome and sexy, your partner is going to think your awesome and sexy. So so so so soooooo important.

3. Make time and effort for intimacy even when life gets busy

Another hugely important one, because SEX is important. As we get older, we get busier and have more and more responsibilities every stage of life we go into. It can be easy to get too busy and exhausted for sex, but that is going to put a huge strain on your relationship and probably without you even realising. Being frequently intimate creates so many benefits for your relationship and is something that should always be prioritised! Nobody ever regrets a bit of naughty time and nothing beats that feeling of safety and closeness with your lover. Plus it’s great exercise 😉

4. Involve each other with both friend groups

Yes, it’s important to have your seperate friend time, seperate girl time and boy time is great for your relationship, but as we grow up and our partners start to become even more interwoven into our lives (babies, marriage, buying houses, long term travel buddies) it’s just, if not more important to ensure that your partner enjoys and is happy and comfortable spending time with your friends, and vice versa. It means you can spend time with the Bae as well as your friends which is awesome and is super important to maintain a good social life together, but it’s also just incredibly healthy to know that your friends and partner get along and enjoy each other’s company!

5. Be grateful

Everybody likes to feel like they’re appreciated, and really at the end of the day, the whole reason we date someone is not just because we like them and enjoy their company, but because we love how they make us feel. You got together because you made each other feel great, if you aren’t doing that three years down the track, you’ll probably notice that things aren’t going too well. I always make a huge effort to let my boyfriend know that I am grateful for him and everything he does for me, and I know it goes SO appreciated.

6. Consistently look for ways to make each others lives more positive 

If your partner is feeling like crap, acknowledge it and go out of your way to do something nice for them, whether its shouting dinner that evening, a back massage or a good cuddle with a whole lot of compliments, if you engrain this kind of behaviour into your relationship from both sides, you will always remain each others ‘happy place’ where they can forget about whatever is stressing them out or upsetting them. Your relationship should be a place where you can go to feel loved, feel happy and forget about the things that are getting you down!

7. Don’t ever stop dating and having fun together

The whole point of a relationship is to have fun and enjoy each others company and I feel like a lot of couples end up forgetting this after a while. Even if you live together or spend most of your free time together, getting up on a Saturday morning and heading out for brunch or even just a coffee date together is so important! It’s unhealthy to fall into a rut where all you do is hang out at home. Go to the movies, get drinks together and most importantly have fun!

While I am putting all of my advice, thoughts and opinions out there, I totally understand that what may work for one couple, may not work for another. It’s incredibly interesting but I would LOVE to hear how you make your relationship tick and the things you do to keep the spark going.

Thanks for reading guys!

Ash xx