Anyone who has been in a relationship longer than 12 months understands how easy it is to fall into a rut. Today I challenge you to take responsibility for the state of your partnership and use your power to create excitement, joy and happiness that will last forever.

The following are 10 simple and powerful ways to grow  a relationship:

1. Give up the need to be right. My husband leaves his shoes everywhere, under the coffee table, under the kitchen table, in the entryway etc.  I spent the first years of our marriage trying to get him to pick up them up. It didn’t work. In an enlightened moment I decided to pick up his shoes without complaining and resentment. Soon I found myself happily taking care of his shoes and grateful for the opportunity!

2. Take an interest in what interests them. My husband loves to golf and watch all sports on television. I had no interest in sports. Eventually I realized how much he did for me and with me. One day I decided to take golfing lessons and watch sports with him

3. Make love with your thoughts words and actions. Making love is not only about sex. When you have loving think lovingly, speak lovingly to him and of him your love life will improve as well. Our brain is our biggest sex organ. Learn to think love and speak love and you’ll find yourself more in love.

4. Learn to be playful and plan fun. Learn to lighten up. Choose to have a light hearted and playful attitude. Plan something you both enjoy. Go away for a weekend once a season. Life is difficult. Learn to enjoy it anyway!

5. Practice gratitude. Don’t take your partner for granted. Keep a journal of the loving deeds your partner does. Practice gratitude together while riding in the car or taking a walk. One person states what they are grateful for and the other follows. Continue taking turns until you’ve exhausted every possibility. Your relationship will thrive.

6. Catch your partner doing good. Praise each other. Say thank you at least once a day! Focus on what’s right and good and your love for each other will expand.

7. Get help. Don’t ever give up without first seeking help. That’s the easy way out. My husband and I sought counseling when all else failed. Be willing own your own character defects. You will project all unfinished business onto your spouse. We are in each others lives to heal the broken places. Unhealed stuff follows you until you resolve it.

8. Go the extra mile. Relationships are never 50-50. Christopher and Dana Reeve were a great example of this. Dana gave up her singing career after Chris’s accident. She chose to give him everything. I believe their relationship is an example of unconditional love.

9. Give each other space. When our daughters were in high school my mom helped my husband while I did an internship in Mexico for three months. He has always allowed me space to follow my dreams and have my own friends. He has always had female friends and colleagues in his life. When you trust each other you create a bond like no other.

10. Cherish each other. Never let anything or any person get in between the two of you. Support each other. Laugh together and grow together. I know this works. I was pregnant and married at 17. We have been married for 37 plus years, have four grown daughters, and three grandchildren. And it just keeps getting better!

Photo byHamed Masoumi

Tess Marshall

Tess Marshall M.A. is a fear-shattering, risk taker, author, and courage coach with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. You’ll find her books and new e-Course, “30 Days of Bold”, at her blog The Bold Life.

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