From parents to siblings to co-workers to close friends, we can all think of quite a few couples in our lives. Loving, lasting relationships are a wonderful thing and something to be admired! But they don’t happen without work.

After all, 40 to 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. So what does it take to create and maintain a mutually happy and successful relationship? Here are five ways you can devote attention to your partner year-round, not just on Valentine’s Day!

1. Practice Mindfulness

We’re all busy, but mindfulness is a practice that allows us to stay engaged and present in our lives and with our partners. Research shows that relationships are more satisfying when individuals practice mindfulness. When you’re interacting with your partner, make an effort to slow down and really focus your attention on them. Set aside time each day that’s just for the two of you, whether it’s over dinner or in the morning before work.

2. Show Your Love

You might pick out a sweet gift on Valentine’s Day, but do you remember to express your love regularly throughout the year? We can all start to take each other for granted over the years, but don’t forget how powerful meaningful compliments and gestures can be. Remember to hug and kiss your partner, and remind them of the things you love about them.

3. Let Go of Arguments

If you’re arguing about something minor, like what movie to go see, let it go! Many times, arguments start with something unimportant and then escalate into major fights that are usually unproductive. Unless you’re addressing an important conflict, try to take the high road and choose happiness over winning a fight.

4. Have New Experiences Together

Over time, living through the same routine with the same person can get a little boring. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have new experiences together to help shift your relationship to new levels. This could include anything from taking a class (such as cooking or photography) to traveling to doing something active, like hiking or taking tennis lessons.

5. Be Patient

Relationships aren’t going to be all sunshine all the time. Your partner might frustrate you or do things that don’t feel good. But if you are patient with them and respond with kindness and empathy, it will help you both learn and grow instead of getting upset and hurting each other’s feelings.

If you’re invested in your relationship and want to learn more about how you can better understand each other and communicate, contact a relationship counselor at The Arkansas Relationship Counseling Center at 877-452-9515 to schedule an appointment today.

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