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  • Writer's pictureNomsa Clara Mncube

101 Steps to a Happy Relationship

Updated: Feb 14

Dating and marriage is different than it was twenty years ago. In today’ssociety, more than 50% of all marriages fail for one reason or another.Just thinking about that makes “commitment” seem scary. It seems that whenrelationships are faced with challenges, people quit trying.

Dating is more like a marathon, trying to date as many people as possible,instead of taking time to get to know someone at a deeper level.

For married couples, divorce is not biased. Whether married for thirty years oreight months, the outcome can be the same.

The fact is that relationships, whether dating or married, are hard.Things do not always go perfectly, fighting does occur, and it takes a 100%commitment from both parties to make it a success.

Often when people break off a relationship, they feel as though something ismissing.

The “spark” has gone, leaving one or both people feeling inadequate andunfulfilled.

However, even though the odds are not very good, healthy, and long-lastingrelationships are definitely possible and proven by many people.

Look at Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard, Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman,or Nancy and Ronald Regan. What secrets do they possess?

The answer is that they all work hard at their relationship.

They made a decision of choosing to love their mate rather than relying on the“warm and fuzzy” feelings, which everyone knows will fade.

By making love a choice you are making a decision that even in the bad times,you stick it out. Think of it like choosing a car.

You pick out the make, model, year, color, and features that you believe arebest for you.

After driving your car for a couple of months, you realize that perhaps youshould have purchased a larger car, or that maybe the leather seats wouldhave been better, or on hot sunny days, the sunroof would have been nice.

However, it is now too late so you choose to keep your car and make it work. Itis the same for marriage.

Not everything will be perfect and there will be major obstacles to overcomebut you have made your decision and now you choose to make it work.

There are hundreds of things you can do to better your relationship.

To help get you headed in the right direction, we have chosen 101 ways tobuild, strengthen, and enhance your relationship. Remember, little steps takenevery day will add up to big successes.


1. Start Over

When couples first get together, everything is new and exciting.They overlook the little annoying things the other person does. However, aftertime, the nagging starts, instead of hearing, “You look beautiful,” they mighthear “Why are you wearing that shirt?” If this sounds like your relationship,first, the two of you need to sit down and be honest that things have changed.Identify the things each other did in the beginning of the relationship thatcreated the attraction in the first place. Then together, make a commitment tostart over. The truth is, both of you will have to work on this. It will notautomatically be easy but it is possible. Start by forgiving each other, forgettingthe past, and then start over with the flirtation. Focus only on the specialthings your mate does and relearn to put the unimportant things aside. It willtake some time so be patient.

2. Schedule Time

Spending quality time together is crucial. This time can be with friends, diningout, attending a sporting event, or cuddling together while watching a favoritemovie. The activity is not what is important but the fact that you are together,doing something that you both enjoy. People have extremely busy schedulesand between work, family, the home, errands, and everything else going on,finding time for your mate can be difficult. Just as you would schedule ameeting on your calendar, show some courtesy in the relationship by

scheduling time with each other. Once the plan is in place, no backing outunless you have some life and death emergency.

3. The Power of Touch

When a child is ill, doctors will tell you that it is proven that a simple, lovingtouch of a parent can quickly pull the child through a crisis. It is the same forrelationships. Playing with your mate’s hair, rubbing their hand, a soft kiss onthe neck, a soft pat on the leg or giving a gentle back rub will make a hugedifference in how your mate responds to you. When was the last time youwalked up to your mate for no reason and without saying a word,affectionately placed a kiss on their neck? This is not in a sexual way, but anaffectionate way. There is a difference. The next time the two of you are sittingin the car, at the grocery story, or standing in line at the theater, quietly reachover and take their hand. Do not be surprised if you get a strange look ofcuriosity the first time!

4. Surprise

If you and your mate have scheduled some time for a Friday night dinner, puttogether a surprise instead. For example, if your mate loves professionalwrestling, buy some tickets near the front or if they like concerts, purchase thetickets ahead of time, getting the best seats possible. When Friday night comesaround, insist on driving and head toward the location where the event istaking place. When asked where you are going, simply answer, “I have asurprise for you. I know you love professional wrestling so I purchased twogreat seats for tonight’s performance,” or “I know we had planned on going todinner, but I wanted to surprise you with something special. I purchasedtickets to see one of your favourite groups in concert.” The idea of you gettingthe tickets for something THEY like and then keeping it as a special surprise willtouch the heart!

5. Needed Space

As important as it is to spend quality time together, it is equally important togive each other time to do something they like. If your mate loves to fish butyou have no desire to bait a hook with little, slimy worms, or if you like to go tothe casino but your mate would rather do something different, encourage eachother to take time apart. Try establishing a set time for this very purpose, if possible. For example, perhaps you could determine that every other Fridaynight is “singles” night. This is not a time to date other people, but to enjoypreferred activities. Remember that you have to place trust in yourrelationship. If you try this and then drill them, to see what they did, whomthey were with, and where they went, then the exercise has failed.

6. No Debates

If you know that you and your mate have proven differences in opinion oncertain subjects, avoid those subjects. As an example, if you are a Republicanand your mate is a Democrat, politics should probably be avoided. As the twoof you identify new topics that could cause a debate session, stop theconversation before it even gets started

7. Filler Talk

If you are married, especially with children, break out of the habit of talking about nothing. Many times, families will be sitting around the dinner table and the conversation consists of, “Do you like your carrots?”, or “I wonder what ison TV tonight?” Instead, change your strategy to include real questions,showing real interest. Replace the normal, “Did you have a good day at work?”with “Tell me what you did at work today.” Even if you do not understand everything being said, listen with interest. It is not that you are so muchinterested in the work, but your mate’s life.

8. Re-establish Old Traditions

If you and your mate had a tradition of some kind when you first got together,dust it off and breathe life back into it. Perhaps you met after work on Friday atthe local pub for a drink, washed your cars together every Saturday morning,or attended church together on Sunday. Whatever it was, re-establish the tradition.

9. Lighten Up

Often when couples have gone through or are going through some bumpyspots in their relationship, things tend to get serious. It could be that there is atremendous amount of tension or perhaps they are not sure what to say.Regardless of the reason, learn to lighten up. Do not take every comment,glance, or movement as a serious problem. If your mate makes a mistake,which you both will, let it go, or if appropriate, laugh about it. If you make a mistake, do not be afraid to poke fun at yourself. This will automatically startthe process of tension breaking.

10. Communicate

When couples are having problems in a relationship, communication is thefirst thing to stop. It is often easier to just be quiet than to get mad. Whenrebuilding relationships, just as communication was the first to stop, it nowneeds to be the first to start. This will require that both individuals let downtheir guard and pretty much throw caution to the wind. Healing in therelationship cannot start until you talk. Make an agreement that you will talkabout anything and everything and that you will listen, really listen. That doesnot mean that you will agree with everything, which is perfectly fine. However,if you do not agree, do not yell, rather, the two of you need to calmly discussthe issue and together, work out a solution. This is hard work but within a veryshort time, you will both feel much better, individually and as a couple.

11. A Night of Passion

Intimacy and passion in relationships is not only important but also healthy.Couples need to enjoy being together in an intimate way. When relationshipsare troubled, the last thing either person wants is to be sexual or passionatewith each other. However, this is a part of the healing and rebuilding of the relationship and although it might be awkward in the beginning, it is crucial.Make your intimate time together special. Surprise your mate with a warmbubble bath, lighted candles, soft music, and a bottle of wine, or reserve a niceromantic evening at a local hotel to include a wonderful candlelit dinner, finewine, and a beautiful room.


12. Dinner Party

Start a new tradition of hosting a dinner party every other month or two andinviting several of you and your mate’s friends. Set up board games thateveryone will enjoy, have some light and lively music playing, and plan to havea blast. Spending time with friends in this kind of setting is a great way toreduce stress. When stress is low, couples get along better. This is a wonderfulway to interact with each other’s friends as a couple.

13. Happy Birthday

As people grow older, in general, birthdays become less celebrated. Gifts arequickly given, meals eaten, and it is over. For your mate’s next birthday, takesome time to plan something very special. Make this a true celebration of theirlife as a way of showing your love and appreciation. Every person, even adults,like attention and love to be appreciated. Whether a surprise party or not,your mate will be impressed that you went to all the effort just for them.

14. Secret Getaway

Plan a nice weekend getaway to some place off the beaten track where youcan enjoy some privacy. A quaint cottage or charming bed and breakfast wouldbe ideal choices. Scout out the area ahead of time and choose a few things thatthe two of you would like to do in the area but just be sure to leave plenty oftime for you to enjoy some alone time. Order a nice bottle of wine or some hotcappuccino and relax in front of the fire! Make this a romantic weekend whereyou can rekindle your love.

15. Special Greeting

If your mate has to work late and you know he had a bad day, surprise himwith a late-night gourmet meal. When you hear him arrive home, greet him innew, sexy lingerie, a warm kiss, and wonderful hot meal. After he picks himselfup off the floor, he will fall in love with you all over again for this wonderfulgreeting. If reversed and the woman is coming home, after giving her alingering kiss, have her join you in the dining room where the table is set withsoft glowing candles and a wonderful meal. Have an envelope lying by herplate that when opened, she will read, “This certificate is good for one thirty-minute massage after dinner.” This is how you keep romance alive!

16. Just Because

Give your mate gifts “just because.” These do not have to be expensivewhatsoever. For example, one woman had a miniature dish collection in herkitchen. Her husband came home and told her that he had a gift for her.Holding out her hand, he gently placed in her hand a miniature porcelain cupwith her name neatly written in blue ink. She knew that this cup probably cost no more than $2.00 but the thought that he would take the time to findsomething she enjoyed, was worth $1 million. The small gifts packed withthought are far more cherished.

17. Say it with Words

Surprise your mate with little notes found in unexpected places. If your matetravels for work, place a loving note somewhere in their suitcase. Perhaps theyhave a long commute to work. If so, slip a note saying, “I love you,” in their CD case where you know they will find it. Another recommendation is sticking anote on the bathroom mirror so this will be the first thing seen in the morning. Be creative and have some fun with this.

18. Cuddle Time

When couples first start dating, cuddling is usually a part of their everydayexistence. However, as the relationship progresses or after children enter thepicture, the cuddling stops. Take some time just to cuddle. If your mate issitting on the couch watching a movie, or laying in bed reading, scoot close andtell them that you just want to cuddle. This makes both people feel secure andloved.

19. Breakfast in Bed

When was the last time you or your mate were served breakfast in bed?Never? On a Saturday or Sunday, when nothing special is planned, get up alittle early and fix their favorite breakfast. Include the morning newspaper asan added bonus. Although they may be shocked, you can be guaranteed thatthis gesture of love will be appreciated.

20. Make the Men Feel Good

For the man in your life, here are some recommendations for making him feelspecial

 Flirt with him in public places

 Just once, leave the toilet lid up

 Lavish him with compliments!

 Tell him how sexy he is

Act jealous occasionally, even if you are not.

 Remind him that he is a wonderful mate, husband, father, whichever applies!

 Tell him how handsome you find him

21. Make the Women Feel Good

Just like men, woman love feeling good about themselves.These recommendations might help: Tell her how beautiful she is Compliment her on her many skills (be specific) Just once, leave the toilet seat down. Tell her how much she means to you Let her know that she is your best friend! Show affectionate to her in front of family and friends Let her know that you find her to be sexy!

22. That Kiss

As couples become comfortable with each other, kisses can become lame. Getrid of the pecks and get serious with the kisses. The next time the two of yougreet each other, enjoy your kiss and do not be so quick to stop. While thereare appropriate times for serious kissing, they should be loving, sincere, andpassionate, regardless of how long they last. You will find that as you payattention to your kissing and let your mate know that you enjoy kissing them,you will both feel better about your relationship.

23. Be Kind to One Another

Unbelievably, kindness is often over simplified. Even good relationships canlack acts of kindness. This refers to “Do unto others…” Simple acts of kindnesscan have huge impacts on a relationship. If your husband or boyfriend is outworking on the car on a hot summer day, make a thermos of ice-cold tea andtake it to him, giving him a gentle kiss. If your wife or girlfriend has beenworking at the computer all day, walk up behind her and massage hershoulders and neck. You get the idea. Kindness means looking at the otherperson’s situation and seeing what you can do or add to that situation to makeit better or easier. This is a way to validate your respect for each other.Kindness will go a long way in a relationship.

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