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5 Simple but Often Forgotten Ways to Keep a Relationship Strong

Couple

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown

Out of our six loving years together, my partner and I spent two and a half years in a long-distance relationship. During these years there were times we communicated nearly daily, but there were also times when we couldn’t even email or text for a month at a time while I was living in an African village.

Being separated by an ocean from the person that is the most important to me was of course difficult and painful, but I believe it also made our relationship stronger.

We have learned some invaluable lessons about love and relationships from being separated by the distance. These lessons are still crucial in our relationship and allow us to maintain our love, happiness, and harmony.

After the long-distance part of our relationship, we moved in together. We lived a “normal couple-life,” spending daytime apart, eating dinner together, unwinding with a movie while cuddling, and spending our weekends together.

Then we set off to travel. For over a year, we volunteered on organic farms, hitchhiked, couchsurfed, and traveled together.

During this year we spend nearly every hour of every day together, or at least near each other. Talk about making up for the long-distance time. Yet, we still employed what we learned during our years apart.

I truly believe that we learned and practiced the universal truths that are essential for every relationship regardless of the distance.

Trust

When I was apart from my boyfriend people didn’t understand how I remained so calm and never worried that he would cheat on me or leave me. How I did it was so simple: I always trusted him. We would have never made it without our trust for each other and for our relationship.

Trust is crucial. Period. No ifs or buts.

If you are in the relationship for the long term, you simply cannot afford to have trust issues. There is no room for doubt. You have to trust with a full heart that your partner loves you.

Quality time

As I mentioned before, during our long-distance years weeks passed by without us being able to talk to each other. We had to have quality conversations rather than only chit chatting about meaningless things.

We even added fun and meaningful activities, like carving Halloween pumpkins or having a meal together through the Internet.

Quality time is essential. Whether you are in a long-distance relationship or just live a busy life with full-time jobs and outside activities, you may not be able to spend as much time as you’d like with your loved one.

Do something fun together, do something meaningful, have meaningful conversations, pay attention to each other, and express your love like crazy.

Communication

Communication is always crucial, especially when you communicate through Skype. We quickly realized that the way we communicated with each other was key to maintain a loving conversation.

When you communicate with your loved one, remember that love is the key. Speak from the heart.

Have good intentions and be clear. Discuss problems in a peaceful and loving manner.

Practice effective active listening skills; do not interrupt the other person, listen and watch. Be mindful.

Remain calm. Be respectful. Be loving.

Small acts of kindness

Small acts of kindness have always been a big part of our relationship. When we were apart we sent each other postcards, eCards, handwritten letters, and songs over email. When we were in the same country we bought each other flowers and made each other some wonderful meals.

Small acts are vital. Whether it is a small gift, doing the dishes, or giving a hug, it shows your love and support.

Send flowers, send an ecard, or leave a small note on the table. Bake cookies or make breakfast in bed. Give hugs and kisses for no reason other than to show your love.

Express Your Love

Expressing our love for each other was probably the most crucial thing in our relationship. It still is. We always make sure to tell each other how much we love each other, and do it with meaning.

Love is always the foundation. It’s nearly obvious, but sometimes so obvious that couples tend to forget about it, and saying “I love you” becomes monotonous. But love is the basis and the reason of your relationship.

So express your love through actions, words, and non-verbal communication. Don’t make “I love you” a routine, but instead always, and I do mean always, say it from the heart.

Photo by Helene Valvatae An Das

Profile photo of Kat Gál

About Kat Gál

Kat Gál is a holistic health and life coach who believes in the power of plant-based foods, love and positive thinking. She loves running, traveling and nature. Kat hopes to guide others to create true health and happiness inside and out. You can follow her via her new website, happyhealthy365.com, her blog, happyhealthy365.wordpress.com, Facebook and Twitter.

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  • video sharing

    good ideas.. really like them.. these siggestions actually works

    click it for more advices

  • Megan Bearce, LMFT

    Great blog! Separation due to work is becoming a phenomenon world-wide but it doesn’t mean couples can’t stay connected. I share similar and expanded advice in my book Super Commuter Couples: Staying Together When A Job Keeps You Apart. There aren’t many resources out there for these couples so thank you Kat for your post!

  • Fernando Gasperi Jabalera

    Great post, I love it! Thanks a lot!

  • Antonio Da Silva

    The baby boom, came after couples were separated during the world war.

  • Shannon Coleman

    Great article…as someone who had a long distance relationship for the first year and a half with my now husband of almost 12 years, we’ve spent the last 3 plus years in each others constant company. We’ve traveled together as well the last 2 years, lived in small spaces together, and have been through many ups and downs, growth spurts, individually and collectively and I can say that the one singular thing that has been the glue, for me, in our relationship has been trust…not just trust in him, as a person but trust in a higher, divine power guiding our relationship. I trust that that divinity, will always have my best interest at heart and will always give me and us exactly the experience that we will need to grow, as individuals and as a couple. With experience, I know that everything that we have been faced with, each challenge, has been for our highest good.

  • nharasym

    very true, my husband and i have been married for 19years and together for 26. due to our careers we have spent days weeks and months apart throughout these years. people think we are crazy they dont understand. i trust him and he trusts me. he gives me no reason not to trust. the time apart makes us miss each other, sometimes terribly. our communication needs work. but all relationships require work on both sides to make them last
    .

  • Joy

    Thanks so much Kal. My partner and I have recently re-united and live in different countries. What a journey it has been figuring out how to make long distance work. Not being physically with someone so much gets lost in translation. We are working through trust issues and this morning I was feeling somewhat low or insecure and this article was in my inbox. A beautiful sign and a helping hand when I needed it. Thankyou.

  • Franziska

    Thank you so much for this article, it’s absolutely true!

  • Kat

    Thank you 🙂

  • Kat

    Joy, I am so glad I was able to offer a helping hand. I hope you and you partner work through your trust issues. Listen to your heart and trust the process. Perhaps share the article with your love and discuss tools that can help you through the distance 🙂

  • Kat

    Every relationship is different. The most important is that it works for you! And, wow, 26 years, clearly it works for you 🙂

  • Kat

    Powerful words. Thank you for sharing your experience. I wish you many more loving years.

  • Kat

    🙂 Isn’t that true?!

  • Kat

    Thank you!

  • Kat

    You are so right, couple commuting or traveling a lot for work face similar issues. It is more and more difficult to keep relationships together – but it is certainly possible. Your book sounds interesting, I will check it out. Thank you for reading!

  • Shannon Coleman

    Thank you and you as well 🙂

  • liz

    Wow..this was beautiful. So simple and clear! Thank you for taking the time to share this..I really needed to hear this.

  • Kat

    Thank you, Liz. I am glad you found value and inspiration in my article.

  • Walter A. Pluas, Jr.

    Thank you immensely for the article and reminder of what it is needed for a relationship to work. I travel a lot for business and one day I happen to read my girlfriends text messages W/ a neighbor, and he invited her over for a glass of wine and he asked her if she wanted him to shave. When I saw this I confronted her and she denied of anything happening. I do not know what to believe since I am madly in love W/ her.

  • Stel

    Sorry but I just don’t believe in trust. And I don’t believe those who have their trust been betrayed will believe in it either. The stories are all out there to prove us wrong. What I feel is more liberating is that we fully accept and love the person. That means accepting that humans are not perfect. When we decide that we are going to love the person no matter what, then we are free from fears and insecurity. Of course if other party does things that hurts us and continues to show no sign of change , then we must make the decision to walk away. While we can love the other person, what is more important is self love.

  • Kat

    Stel, I agree that self-love is crucial and necessary. However, I do believe in trust. And trust (:P) me, I have been betrayed before, I had my trust broken, I had my heart broken. Yet, I still think one must trust. I agree that fully accepting and loving the person is liberating and important. I love and fully accept my partner. And because I love and fully accept him this makes it even easier to trust.

  • Kat

    Your very welcome for the article. I hope everything works out for the very best with your gf.

  • Joe

    Great Article

  • Carrie

    Kat, anything to add about spending the next two years apart from your best friend (who is moving away to an African village as well), rather than a significant other.

  • Kat

    Carrie,
    I think pretty much the same holds true for friendships: trust and communications. I live a nomad life and my best friends are always far away. The beauty of close and true friends that no matter how far you are or how long you don’t talk: nothing changes. We keep in touch via skype, facebook, emails as much as we can, stimes things get busy, stimes there is no internet, we can’t talk daily but when we do we make it quality, we listen to each other, and even if our lives are often very different and we live in different countries, we support each other no matter what… Sure I would love it if I could just go over to their place for a late night chat anytime, but on the other hand I know these friendships are true and quality friendships and not only about hanging out and shopping together. Since your friend is moving to African village, I want to add something: his/her outlook on life may change a lot, she/he may changes a lot – while of course your own life back home will change as well, but differently. So be understanding, accepting and supportive of these changes. But anyways, I guess trust, understanding, communication is the key. Trust that he/she will keep in touch as he/she can, trust you will remain best friends, know that your bond is strong – act like friends as before, except instead of going for coffee or to the movies you may communicate only through skype, emails, facebook or postcards… 🙂 A quote comes to mind that pretty much sums up everything for me: “True friendship are not being inseparable, but it’s being separated and nothing changes.”

  • Kat

    Thank you

  • Kat

    If you have further and more specific questions, contact me via my blog and I may have more specific tips 🙂

  • Carrie

    Wow, thank you so much for all of your input and wisdom. These are all great reminders that I will definitely keep in mind, and come back to often. I will for sure be in touch through your blog if I have any further questions. Thank you so much 🙂

  • Criola

    Wonderful story with such a kind message. I enjoyed it very much, thanks Kat! I shared a similar story on long distance love on TB (http://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-lessons-about-love-and-long-distance-relationships), and it feels wonderful to knowing there are more couples out there walking a similar path 🙂 Wishing you lots of love xx

  • Ella

    Hei Kat, would love to get your insight on how to actually make the move to move in together after 3 years together on a ldr, when I am now understanding that I need a different way of doing it than the one we chose as I kind of neglected my own perspective and needs just to make sure we move in together as quickly… I am dealing with quite a lot of anxiety right now as I have to accept my own needs and still trust that we can overcome this and find a harmonious way to move in…I just feel like I’ve totally lost track of myself after dedicating myself completely to this whole roller coaster of our relationship and now I just want to be with him and experience our relationship from a very naturally flowing state where things are just simple and nice and harmonious..
    So how did you guys got to move in together and understand how to do it the right way? Because it always implies big changes and compromise but it has to be right for both of them…Would love and appreciate your precious help very much so, as a story like yours just gives so much positive energy and hope!!

  • Sandy

    This is a really nice article. Short and sweet! I am always looking for more ideas on handling distance and connecting with my partner. After I spent 6 months away in the backcountry with only USPS service once per week via helicopter, we learned a lot.

    I recently decided against doing the Peace Corps (which would have meant 27 months of distance) so we are happily together now but I’m certain one of us will have another personal adventure to go on some time in the future. Thanks for this. These are great reminders.

  • Fen

    Thank you so much! I ve been struggling with trust issues and it’s only me who doesn’t trust him and it’s driving me crazy too. It has been a year since our long distance relationship and most probably 3 years min 5 years max.. LDR is a challenge but if I keep on having this trust issues I’m not going anywhere. Thank you for sharing~

  • I adore this post! My boyfriend and I were long distance for the first year and a half of our relationship, and let me tell you: that’s a strange way to start off a romance 🙂 We worked through some trust issues at the beginning, and you are absolutely right about there being no room for distrust in a healthy relationship. I’m glad to say that once the trust was resolved, we are blissfully happy. Having a positive and flexible attitude is very helpful as well. Great post Kal!

  • Diana

    This is by far the most inspiring article I have ever read about having a strong relationship and I thank you so much for writing and sharing this. I love how it exudes motivation and optimism. I used to think it was not good to not talk to your Significant Other for a long time. I used to feel bad and very upset about not being able to talk to my partner on a daily basis and it made me question how committed we are and how much we value our relationship. But then, I realized, you are right when you said it makes a relationship stronger. It is like a test that every relationship has to go through and this article made me realize how lucky I am to get this far. You are amazing, Kat!

  • Kat

    Thanks 🙂

  • Kat

    Thank you.

  • Kat

    Thanks.

  • Kat

    Thank you!!!

  • Kat

    We first went ldr after already knowing each other in person, dating and even living together for a short time. This perhaps made the ldr part more difficult (I know what I was missing when I missed his presence) but made moving in together easier. Still not always the easiest as we had our own ways. I think regardless of the situation, communication is the most important: coming from understanding and kindness, voicing what’s on your heart and what you want/need, but understanding the other one’s perspective, finding the way together while keeping your own ways too. Lifelong process I guess 🙂

  • Kat

    Sweet! Thanks for sharing!

  • Loving Muffin

    Thanks a lot Kal. I was gonna let my love go, just because of loss of trust and communication. We’re staying apart since six years of our lives. But my love always wants me to be in touch. And we make it a point to have a conversation whenever possible.
    Our relationship started in middle school and it’s going strong till date. It has inspired me and kept me from ending the relationship. I realised that trust and communication along with expression of love is very essential for any kind of relationship.
    <3…