6 Secrets of a Loving Relationship

by Tammy Strobel on April 6, 2010

Earlier in February, Logan and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary. It’s amazing to think we’ve been together for so long. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the value of nurturing a long-term relationship.

Discovering the concept of simple living has improved our relationship tremendously. We are less stressed about money and no longer worry about conforming to what others think we should be doing with our lives. We stopped listening to the naysayers and started focusing on the people and activities that make us incredibly happy.

Below are a few tips that have improved our relationship and I hope they will help you.

1. Don’t take your partner for granted.

Starting out in Portland, without Logan, wasn’t part of my plan. I wanted him to be here with me, exploring the city and going on hikes in the park. While I’ve missed Logan like crazy, I’ve also realized how much I take him for granted. Being in love and partnered with such an amazing individual is a beautiful gift.

So pay attention to your partner. For example, if you’re reading a book and your partner starts talking to you resist the urge to say, “Sure, honey that sounds great.” Instead of ignoring your partner put your book down, turn the internet off and pay attention. If you aren’t actively listening, you’re taking your mate for granted and that isn’t cool.

2. Stop nagging, criticizing and snapping at your partner.

You can only change yourself, not others. When you get the urge to nag, criticize or snap at your partner, take a quiet deep breath. In The Happiness Project, the author talks about how nagging, criticizing and snapping doesn’t bring about happiness. So why do people continue to behave badly?

3. Actively communicate.

When you’re feeling upset talk to your partner. Having a calm discussion will result in some type of mutual agreement and you won’t be as stressed.  For example, selling our cars was one of the best things we ever did. We could not afford the cars or the lifestyle we were leading, which inevitably lead to arguments over small things, like not vacuuming the carpet.

Showing less anger and resentment over the little things like household chores has helped us tremendously. When we start to snap at each other there is a larger issue at play. It’s so important to communicate. By actively talking to your partner you’ll resolve issues before they manifest into resentment.

4. Support your loved one’s dreams.

Leaving my day job to focus on writing is something I’ve dreamed of doing for the last few years. Logan has supported me every step of the way.

Supporting your partner’s dreams is one key to a successful relationship. I have a few friends who would love to leave their day job, but their spouse isn’t supportive and would rather have expensive possessions than a partner that is satisfied. It’s such a shame. Life is too short to have your dreams thwarted.

5. Destroy your T.V.

Turn it off. Unplug it. And then give your television away.

I guarantee you’ll talk with your partner more and your relationship will improve. Instead of watching T.V. you can go on a walk, bike ride or run.

6. When times are tough, remember love.

There is no love; there are only proof’s of love. ~Pierre Reverdy

Over time I think it’s easy for partner’s to take each other for granted. So do little things for your partner to make their day a little brighter. Actions speak louder than words, so remember love and continue to show little proofs of your love everyday. Here are a few ideas:

  • Say I love you.
  • Hand write love notes and leave them in unexpected places.
  • Hug and snuggle more often.
  • Send love notes via email, twitter or facebook.
  • Surprise your partner with a home cooked meal.
  • Make coffee or tea in the morning.
  • Plan a date night.
  • Go for a walk, bike ride or run together.

We only get one life. Use it well. Stress less, embrace happiness and show your love with actions and words.

Note: The portrait shots were taken by Russ Roca.

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1 Simply DIYgal April 6, 2010

Great post!

#4 & #6 are definitely two key aspects of my relationship with my fiance (oh, it’s weird saying fiance…still very new to me). We have some rough times and bad luck, but getting through it is so much easier when you have someone that you know loves you and will be there for you thru thick and thin.

2 Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell April 6, 2010

Congratulations on your anniversary! Good tips. After nearly 31 years of being with my husband, I would only add “Grow with your partner.” My husband and I certainly aren’t the people we were when we were 15 and 18 and we would never have lasted this long had we not grown with each other.

3 Alan April 6, 2010

Lovely post, Tammy. And Happy Anniversary… :-)

Alan

4 Alejandro Reyes April 6, 2010

Even when we can say these are small tips, they mean a world to a relationship. I’m really glad that you know and practice them, there are proof of how much you care and sharing them really adds up to the spirit of love itself.

Small things are sometimes the most important and today we have proof of that. Thanks Tammy. =)

5 Jean Hong April 6, 2010

Beautiful pictures and beautiful words! Thanks for the great tips. #4 speaks to me the most – supporting each other’s dream is such a beautiful thing and also a key to happy and growing (as Kelli mentioned above) relationship. I’m going to write a love note for my husband today! Thanks Tammy!! :D

6 Joy Tanksley April 6, 2010

Thank you for this. Excellent.

I am so deeply grateful to be in a healthy, loving relationship. I have found that the deeper my relationship is with myself – the more I am able to love and appreciate ME – the richer my relationship with my husband becomes.

Oh, and the picures with this post! GORGEOUS!

7 Simpler Living April 6, 2010

What a beautiful post, Tammy. Happy anniversary to both you and Logan!

Naomi

8 Copyjockey April 6, 2010

This is great. Thanks for posting.

9 Michele Nicholls April 6, 2010

You are SO right, and, as usual, beautifully put. We celebrate 25 years of marriage this June, and I can vouch for the importance of everything you’ve said, especially not taking your partner for granted. It’s so easy when you’ve been together for a while, to go into ‘auto-pilot’ on your relationship – big mistake!

Congratulations, here’s to the next 9 years, may they be even better ;o)

10 Tammy April 6, 2010

Thanks everyone for the comments! I appreciate it. :)

11 Mara April 6, 2010

congratulations! i am tons older than you, but my husband and i have just celebrated our 8th anniversary. could not agree more with your post. this marriage is going so much better than my previous ones (wish i was as minimalist in marriages as i am in everything else, duh) simply because both husband and i are following the very same pointers, especially #1 and #2! why why why do people nag? isn’t that the most self-defeating downer? bleah. i shall hoist a glass of bubbly in your honor!

12 Jen April 7, 2010

Beautiful post Tammy. Congratulations on your anniversary. it is really inspiring to hear how you have changed your lives.
Jen

13 Martijn April 7, 2010

This post gave me goosebumps. Thank you for inspiring me.

14 Chris O'Byrne April 7, 2010

This is so sweet! What a wonderful post.

15 Todd Schnick April 12, 2010

This was really great stuff. Really meant a lot to me. Thanks for writing it…

16 Tammy April 12, 2010

Hi Todd – Thanks! I so happy you found the post helpful. :) Thanks for the kind words.

17 Dawn May 14, 2010

I felt that I needed to thank you for this post. My husband and I have been having little fights now and again and I thought it was because I wasn’t being supported. No, I may not feel supported in my dreams but I realized that I’m not supporting him either. So because of this post I am asking him how I can help him. Lead by example, right? Provided it doesn’t conflict with any of your own values and dreams!

18 Tammy May 14, 2010

Thanks Dawn. I’m glad you found the post helpful! :)

19 Cloud August 10, 2010

Maybe one suggestion to add: To love another, you first have to love yourself.
All sounds very easy, but when it comes down to it…..a lifetime task….

All the best. Your blog is very inspiring for me right now, even though I sometimes miss a certain depth. But I know, I can get that also from somewhere else….the internet, what a new world!!!

20 Ash August 14, 2010

Thank you for a lovely article. I just made my special guy some really funny love notes that I plan to leave around for him to find. It’s easy to forget sometimes, but love is really all we need. Thank you for the reminder :)

21 traci sabia September 25, 2010

hi tammy,
i enjoy ur sight so much. thank u also for the relationship tips. i have sadly found that i am doing some of what i advise not to do. i think alot of it has to do with my husband living in CA in the navy as i am in PA. he is being transferred to PA in a few months but as of now we are at time at a long distance war. we are trying to be a married couple 3000 miles away and at times its so confusing and hard.
we love each other more than anything but find ourselves snapping because of the distance. do you have any advise on this matter.
thank you
traci

22 lavanya February 26, 2011

Great post… I am in a committed relationship and this blog post made me realize what should I do often to make it more enjoyable each day.

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