You’re watching a romantic movie. A boy and girl meet and suddenly fall in love. They spend an awesome time together. Then something happens and they have to separate. This escalates the tension between them and eventually they break up. A few years later, they meet and fall in love again, marry and have children. The end.

A classic romantic movie, representing the idea of a perfect love story. But not a real relationship.

The movie industry changes our perception of love, where everything is seen through pink glasses and all the couples live happily ever after.

On Social Media, we are flooded with accounts for couple goals, relationship quotes, love and so on. Our feeds are full of happy couples who own expensive cars, big houses, wear expensive clothes, travel on expensive vacations, and of course, eat fancy brunches.

Apparently, the perfect relationship according to most people.

But how many do you know that actually have a good relationship? And how many pretend to have an awesome one but are actually quite miserable?

We can only see what’s outside, how happy the couples seem to be, but often the truth is different. As a matter of fact, the couples who are truly happy don’t put so much effort into looking happy. Because they already are.

Building a good relationship can be hard. It demands patience and persistence.

It is like a flower that is charming when the sun lights up its tiny leaves. But in order to survive as long as possible, it needs water, warmth, and sun. However, it can be destroyed in a few seconds by the strong wind of a thunderstorm.

I am nowhere near an expert. But throughout my life, I’ve learned a thing or two about love.

Here are my 11 tips for a strong relationship.

Unconditional Love

Most important characteristic of a good relationship is the unconditional love. Unconditional love means that you love your partner without setting any conditions. You accept him with all his flaws even when life doesn’t go the way you want it.

You don’t love him because of his fast car, or because he is very nice to you. You love him for what he is. Not what he owns, or what he gives you in a physical or mental way.

Think how often you’ve made the mistake to be with someone only because they made you feel good about yourself. How many times you’ve been with someone only because you didn’t want to feel alone?

It’s quite depressing, isn’t it?

Conditions, either conscious or subconscious, can only complicate a relationship. You teach yourself and your partner that in order to be loved, he has to give you something in exchange. The moment this exchange is gone is the moment the relationship ends as well.

Love is not a currency. True and long lasting love is unconditional.

Be Yourself

Hands down, the most important thing in a relationship is to be your true self. Pretending to be someone else, so that your partner will like you more, will lead you to a pretty dark place. Your partner should love you for who you truly are, not for who you pretend to be.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself. That’s what makes you, you. You shouldn’t be afraid to reveal to the other person that you also have fears, that you aren’t perfect.

No one is.

I know lots of people who are scared to be themselves in their relationships because they are afraid that their partner won’t like them. Trying to avoid the feeling of rejection, is the reason why most people fail to reveal their true self to their loved ones.

Being yourself is making your relationship real. If you aren’t your true self in your relationship, is this even a relationship?

After all, it’s better to be hated for who you are, than loved for who you are not.

The Little Things Matter

I know. This is such a cliché. But it’s true. The little things do matter. By little things I don’t mean little material things, I mean gestures of love which make the other feel happy and appreciated.

A little can do a lot.

Moreover, this lights up the flames between two people, who love each other. And exactly this keeps the relationship alive.

For example, cook something for your partner, take them to a picnic, a walk, or a surprise date. Bring them flowers, do something without a reason.

Making your partner feel appreciated is far more convincing than buying them an expensive material gift.

milenial guy and milenial girl are happy together

Have in mind that in order to be real and meaningful you should always ask yourself whether you do this out of love. Because if you want to get something from your partner, or you think they will love you more if you do this, then better don’t do it.

Communicate

I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends don’t have a good connection with their partner, because their relationships lack communication. The single best tool that welds together the bond between two people is the communication.

I mean deep uncomfortable conversations.

This way you will get to know your partner better. What they like, what their thoughts are, what they fear. The good communication is like the water to a flower.

The good communication gives you the opportunity to improve yourself. Because your partner can be your adviser when you fail, or when you are in need of good advice.

It also builds trust between you two. The more you communicate with your partner, the more connected you will feel to each other.

Be Truthful

Be truthful and honest with your partner. Many people fail to fulfill these qualities, which of course in most of the cases leads to break ups.

The recipe is simple.

When you choose to be with someone, you make a decision. If you don’t want to be with that person or you are not sure in your feelings, then don’t be.

It’s that simple.

Don’t let yourself lie.

If you are ashamed of something, just say it. If you like going to parties and tend to lie because your partner doesn’t like it, be honest. There is no point in lying.

Why be with someone, when you lie them about things?

A great lesson that I have learned from my mom and dad (which are happily married for 24 years now) is that it is really easy not to say the truth. But everything you have been working for, all your efforts are going to be meaningless.

If you lie once and get caught this will destroy the trust in your relationship. Once you lose the trust of a person, it’s really hard to get it back.

Accept Your Partner

Let’s take a step back. In order to accept the other, you have to first accept and love yourself. If you love yourself you won’t feel a need to change your partner.

So don’t try to change your partner. Accept him the way he is. He has different views, opinions, and ideas.

That’s what makes him unique. He will like things you don’t and you can’t push him to do otherwise.

Because if you want to change him, he probably doesn’t fit in the image you’ve created in your head. This can mean that you don’t want to be with this person.

Accept that he is not perfect and you can only help him develop but don’t try to shape him. Why be with someone when you pretend that he fits in your image, but he is not? You are free to make a choice and say no to this relationship because you also love yourself.

All in all, no one has the right to change you, and you don’t have the right to change anyone.

Love Isn’t Perfect

Nowadays people watch a lot of romantic movies. The problem is that they show the love as something that always ends up happily. That is why some people can’t accept that real life is different.

There is no such a thing as a soul mate.

I’ll repeat it so it is clear to you.

There is no such thing as a soul mate.

It’s false to believe that love consists of two halves that make one piece. It’s better you adopt the idea that love requires two pieces, two people, who are separately a whole piece and together they make something even bigger.

You shouldn’t complete each other.

You should help each other develop.

paris the city of love

Put An Effort

Remember. You shouldn’t take your loved one for granted.

That’s the biggest mistake people make.

Because the routine can make you forget that you have to constantly show your partner that you love and appreciate him.

The truth is that the routine makes life look grey. When our life turns into a routine, the love also naturally turns into a routine.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t love your partner anymore or he doesn’t love you, but you may have forgotten to show him that you still love him.

Unfortunately, if you don’t put an effort and don’t show your partner that he is important to you, you may lose him.

That’s why you have to put an effort and keep the relationship constantly alive.

My tip for you is not to wait things to happen but to be the force that makes things happen. Don’t expect your partner to keep the relationship alive alone. Because at some point he will just give up.

Avoid Jealousy

The obvious sign for a toxic relationship is the jealousy. This is like a snake to a flower. It can suffocate it to death. The same is with a relationship.

There are too many people who have failed to maintain a relationship due to jealousy. If you are constantly afraid that your partner might be unfaithful, then there is obviously a problem. Either you don’t trust your partner which is bad for you or he has given you a reason not to trust him.

If you make a problem out of the fact that he goes out without you, or ask him constantly where he is or with whom, I can promise you this won’t continue long. Because everybody wants to have a freedom.

Let’s face it.

It’s scary, but if your partner wants to cheat on you, you can’t stop him. No matter what you do.

So why worry about it?

Remember, the jealousy can kill the relationship. If you don’t trust this person you should either break up with him or change your current mindset.

Don’t Make A Mountain Out Of A Molehill

The arguments in a relationship are not a bad thing. Actually, they are a good one. And it’s pretty stupid to think that you if you argue, it’s unhealthy for your relationship.

However, the arguments should not be over the limit. Making a problem out of every single thing will be devastating for a relationship. It’s silly to expect that someone will think the same way as you. The other person can’t read thoughts. And it is better this way.

Next time when you are about to start arguing with your partner because you had a bad day and he didn’t take out the trash, think first. Ask yourself whether it is okay to make a problem out of this.

Do you just feel awful and want to transfer your mood to your loved one?

If your answer is yes, it’s better not to start an argument at all because it will be very ugly and won’t bring anything good to you, except anger and things which you don’t mean to say that will probably offend your partner.

Don’t Manipulate

As much as you want to, you can’t control the other person. If he wants to do something that you don’t like, or you want to get something this way, don’t manipulate him into changing his opinion. You can control your pet.

But do you want a pet or a partner?

Nobody ever wants to feel controlled by someone else. Even if you are successful in your manipulation, this won’t continue long. At some point, you will start lying in order to succeed. And you will go further and further.

You should learn to accept that the other person is equal to you.

In Conclusion

If you are here reading this article, you probably don’t have a good relationship. Or you want to improve your current one.

I will encourage you to sit down and assume that you might be the one who puts himself in all these awful relationships. It’s probably about time you questioned yourself what you make wrong.

And if everything seems right this can help you see some things you’ve missed out.

I’ve done it. And I can assure you that it works because it changes your perspective and it puts you in the driver seat of your life.