Relationships aren't easy — anyone who has been with anyone for any length of time can tell you that. But it takes a certain type of love, commitment, patience, and humility to stay with the same person for years and years. Long-term relationships may lose their idealistic honeymoon-perfection after a while, but that doesn't mean that they're any less beautiful or worth pursuing. However, although you'll get to know your partner like the back of your hand, it's of course no secret that your long term relationship won't always be smooth sailing. Whether it's during a rough patch or a season of bliss, having a few strange but brilliant relationship hacks up your sleeve can give you both a few healthy habits to build a stronger union.
When you're with your partner day in and day out for years on end, you begin to get "used" to each other, oftentimes forgetting about the special little things, sweet moments, and selfless acts you did in the beginning that made your relationship so great. But, no matter your age, maturity level, or personality, the health of your relationship may depend on bringing some of those things back into your romantic life.
Luckily, these hacks make reviving and maintaining your relationship easier, and that is something every couple needs, whether in good times or bad.
1. Having A "Safe Word" During Fights Can Save You
Safe words are common in movies and in, you know, other areas of relationships, but what about when it comes to everyday conversations or arguments? According to Evolution Counseling, having a safe word during your fights can save you from unnecessary trauma, distance, and hurt.
It can be as simple as "time out," or something silly to lighten the mood, but once it's said, you both agree to take a break from the conversation until you can regroup and calm down.
2. Swap Your "Most Hated" Chore Lists
Does your partner loathe doing dishes and you hate folding laundry? Swap "chores" and take their hated task while they shoulder yours. It will always feel like they're doing you a favor while you'll feel like you're helping them out too.
3. Trouble With Decisions? Try The 5-3-1 Method
It's almost too simple, but if you or your partner struggle to make up your minds about, say, where to go have dinner or what movie to see, you need to try this method. According to Life Hacker the 5-3-1 method goes like this: one partner picks five options (say, restaurants to try), the other eliminates two, leaving you with three, then the first partner eliminates two more, leaving you with your choice. Genius.
4. Take A Shower
This tip comes from Reddit, via Your Tango. "When I'm angry, I excuse myself and I go take a shower," shared one Reddit user on a thread about relationship tips. "It relaxes me and I think more rationally so that I can fight fair or apologize afterward. By the time I get out, one of us is usually sorry anyway."
5. Stop Correcting Your Partner
Although not technically a tangible "hack" this little relationship tidbit can save you from years of conflict. Psychology Today noted that while criticism is usually an obvious "no no" for new relationships, when you're in a long term partnership, it is easier to forget as little "annoyances" creep up. Correcting your partner (otherwise referred to as nitpicking or even "constructive criticism"), however, can cause your partner to feel unloved and hurt. "Unconditional acceptance is the name of the game," the aforementioned article noted, and if you've been in a relationship for long, you'll quickly realize this to be true.
6. Keep Dating Each Other
Dating doesn't stop after you get married, or you move in together, or you get comfortable enough to start pointing out their atrocious morning breath. An article from Mic pointed out that the happiest couples are the ones who never stop dating each other. Specifically, taking time to be with each other, even after a long day with the kids, or an exhausting day (week, month) at the office.
7. Get Your Partner's Hairstylist's Number
And no, not for that reason. Men's XP sneakily suggested that people nab their lady's hairdresser's number and get an update each time they get their hair (nails, brows... anything for that matter) done. That way, they'll be well-equipped with a compliment, even if it's just a trim.
8. Stop Asking, Start Doing
An article from Buzz Feed wisely pointed out that sometimes taking action is the sexiest and most helpful thing to do in a relationship. For example, if your partner has had a bad day, don't ask, "Would you like to see a movie tonight?" in an effort to cheer them up. Instead, take charge and say, "Get dressed, I bought us tickets to see that movie you've been wanting to watch!" And then go have fun.
9. Keep A Secret List Of Things They Want
The aforementioned Men's XP article also suggested keeping a secret list on your phone (or, on paper, if you're super old school) of things your partner loves or mentions that they want. When it comes time to get them a gift, choosing the item will be a breeze.
10. Stop Solving Problems & Just Listen
Although many partners simply want to help their partners by solving all of their problems for them, Psychology Today noted that simply listening can solve the issue easier than providing an actual solution.
11. Talk About The Good Things First
When you see each other at the end of the day, don't focus on the negatives first. Be sure to point out your favorite thing about the day, even if it's as simple as seeing a cute puppy at lunch. It will start your evening off on a happy note, instead of a depressing one.
12. Prove Yourself Wrong
This brilliant hack comes from a BuzzFeed article by Summer Anne Burton. "Take it upon yourself to freely admit that you were wrong on a fairly regular basis," Burton wrote. "You'll find that it's actually freeing, and your partner will appreciate it and start taking after your example."
13. Stock Up
This relationship hack comes from ScoopHoop, and it's pretty clever. If your partner ever asks you to pick him or her something up from the store, like razors or pads, grab a couple extra and hide them in your car or somewhere safe. Then, the next time your honey runs out, you can save the day!
14. Use Food To Your Advantage
Although it may sound trite, as Elite Daily pointed out, the couple that cooks together, stays together. I'd also add that cooking foods that may not be your favorite for your partner can earn you major brownie (or, you know, spaghetti) points.
Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.