Building a healthy and strong relationship takes time and effort. If you want to cultivate a meaningful relationship that endures the test of time consider the following practices.

1. Favor Quality Time, Over Quantity

It doesn’t really matter if you see each other every day, or even if you live under the same roof. It’s how you choose to spend the time that you do have together that truly counts. Whether you’re on a dinner date or just hanging out at home washing the dishes, take the time to truly connect and engage with each other rather than just going through the motions.

2. Ask Meaningful Questions

It’s easy to fall into the habit of asking the same old, “how was your day”, which can often result in the same old monosyllable response, “fine”. Try asking more open-ended questions, like “what was the best part of your day”, or “tell me about that presentation you had at work”. When you ask meaningful questions and take a genuine interest in your partner, the chances are likely that you’ll receive a more meaningful and thoughtful response, allowing for deeper connections to be made.

3. Pick Up the Phone

Texting is fine for making quick plans, and it can be sweet to get a midday text from your partner telling you that they love you or letting you know that you’re on their mind. With that said, it shouldn’t be your main mode of communication. If you feel more comfortable sharing your feelings over text than verbally over the phone or face-to-face, there’s obviously some work to be done. With texting, there’s too much left to interpretation, and it’s hard to connect on a deeper level. Effective communication is key to any strong relationship, so when appropriate take a few extra minutes to pick up the phone and call. Not to mention that hearing the sound of your lover laughing out loud is a lot sweeter than reading “LOL” on your screen.

4. Be Open and Honest

The longer you’ve been with your partner, the more likely it is that you believe you know them inside and out. And while this may be true to an extent, don’t always assume that you know what they’re thinking, or vice versa. Communicating effectively involves not only being open and honest with your true feelings – regardless of how uncomfortable and awkward that might feel – but also being an active listener and encouraging your partner to share their own feelings while abstaining from criticism and judgment. Address important issues as they arise rather than sweeping them under the rug to deal with later.

5. Focus on the Positive

The sooner you accept that your partner isn’t perfect, the sooner you can move forward in cultivating a wonderful relationship. While your partner’s snoring might irritate you, not to mention his habit of leaving his dirty socks on the bedroom floor each day, it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship rather than dwell too heavily on the negative – especially the small things. When there’s no nit picking or nagging, you cultivate a space where you can both feel perfectly at ease in each other’s company. When your partner feels supported in this way, they’re more likely to want to take the steps necessary in changing their behavior or talk about solutions.

6. Be Adventurous

Too much of the same old routine inevitably leads to boredom. Adding an element of adventure and spontaneity to your relationship can involve anything from a different type of outing, a last minute change in plans, or trying out a new sexy move in the bedroom – basically, anything that breaks you out of your regular routine and spices things up a bit.

Keep in mind that building healthy and strong relationships takes time and effort. Take to heart this quote by Don Miguel Ruiz, from the Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship (which I highly recommend by the way):

“You don’t need to justify your love, you don’t need to explain your love, you just need to practice your love. Practice creates the master.”

About the Author

Elaine is a Certified Nutritionist and Women’s Health Coach. She works with clients across the globe to help them improve their health and relationship with food. Elaine believes in a real food approach to health that is rooted in optimizing digestion and includes ongoing and intelligent cleansing. You can download her FREE Hip, Healthy & Holistic Makeover Guide to learn 5 simple things you can do every day to lose weight, increase energy, kick cravings, and feel beautiful inside & out.