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        Relationships are seriously 100% one of the hardest “jobs” in the world. When people say relationships are work, it’s true, and for anyone who has been in a long-term relationship/marriage, you really know how true this is.

        I could probably write a book on relationships since have learned so much over the years, and it has become some of my favorite advice to give. And even if you’re not in a relationship, read these anyways, cause one day you will be!

        1. Be best friends before anything. By far the most important aspect of a happy and healthy relationship..being friends before anything else. Being best friends means many different things..

        -Having fun together, seriously enjoy each other’s company, adventure, laugh, just relax. It’s about not taking things so seriously.

        -Being yourself… find someone who you can be completely okay with who you are when they are around. If you have to put on any kind of show, thats not your person.

        – You care about, support, empathize, help, and forgive: everything you’d want in a friend.

        Honestly, I could probably stop the blog with just that one, because that is what the foundation of your relationship is, anyways. Some people can be together for a lifetime and never fully enjoy the other person, but when you prioritize the whole “BFF” thing… everything else comes SO SO easy. Also… learn proper communication techniques! Most fights in relationships are dumb. Learn about “I” statements versus accusatory “You” statements. Learn how to actually listen. Learn how to speak in an even tone. Learn eye contact. Learn how to take a breath before you respond. Learn how to let things go. Learn how to choose your battles. Learn how to see the other persons side before shoving your own down their throat (like seriously, look for the grain of truth in your partners criticism and remember you’re not perfect).

        2. Be straight up about what you’re thinking, feeling and what you need… don’t expect anyone to read your mind, relationships shouldn’t be a game. Talk about things before they snowball into bigger issues, but also learn how to pick your battles and not nag for the sake of arguing. It’s a balance.

        3. Choose being happy over being right (most of the time). Arguments are often ego battles, and they’re usually based off opinion and perception rather than facts and universal truths. In most arguments its important to place the happiness of you and your partner above your need to be right (whether you are or not).

        3. Don’t take things so personally. When you’re offended, in most cases, just stop & choose to not be. See it from their perspective, because likely, they had no intention of insulting you (if they’re a good partner!). It’s all about being open minded when in communication, so rather than jump to being offended, try just not giving a f instead, it feels better anyways!

        4. Don’t get petty to knock them down IF they did offend you. Again, learn healthy ways to communicate to avoid this…cause when people feel vulnerable, they often get immature (which leads to petty comments and words they regret)

        5. Don’t make them be every role for you. They don’t need to be all of your friends, your therapist, your chef, your masseuse, your workout buddy, your yoga partner, AND the only person you go to for everything. If your partner hates hearing your updates about your fav reality show…find someone who cares! If your partner doesnt like hiking, find someone else to hike with! Don’t make them do everything and be everything for you, thats too much pressure.

        6. Compromise but don’t settle. Its the difference between coming to an agreement you can accept, and giving in because you feel powerless. 

        7. Be with someone who accepts every inch of your being.. no matter how weird or f’ed up. Because your partner is supposed to be your safe place. Their job (and yours) is to be the person you go home to after you feel like the world and life beat you down a little bit to find comfort. Where you can fully relax into yourself and just BE. For every weird and f’ed up part of you. Find someone that you can safely share every inch of your soul with, a person who can be comfortable and accepting of every dark corner they find. 

        8. Pick someone not for their good qualities, but their “bad” qualities. Everyone has good traits, thats what attracts us to each other..but what are your partners WORST traits? Those are the ones you’re committing to in the end..and if they’re ones you really can’t accept, they will probably be the thing to break you up or divorce you in the end. (like you may hate that your partner is the ultimate procrastinator, but can you accept that?) For one person, maybe, for another, it can be a deal breaker. Its so important to think about these in the beginning, because each person has their own baggage— commitment/trust issues, being controlling, avoiding important conversations to “keep the peace”, not being ambitious, fear of flying, a laugh you can’t stand, or someone who resorts to yelling every time they’re upset)

        9. Know yours and their love languages. Words of affirmation, quality time, giving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. The way we express and receive love is usually through 2-3 of the same “love languages”, and when you understand your own, you can tell your partner what you need to feel loved. Also, its super helpful to know theirs because then you can be sure to give them what they need. Sometimes conflict arises and people don’t feel loved/appreciated/listened to because of these variations. My personal “love languages” are quality time and acts of service (and probably words of affirmation because I’m a 3,000x a day “I love you”-er)…. which means I’m not only more likely to appreciate these things, but more likely to give them, as well. But, if I have a partner who I notice has “physical touch” as one of theirs, I can consciously choose to give more in that way so we all feel like we are getting our needs met. This all comes from a book I’ve never even read, but the concepts make sense and have worked wonders for me in my personal life!

        11. Apologize first and when you need to. Don’t let your ego ruin your relationship. Its okay to be wrong, its not okay to not admit when you’re wrong. Even if your partner sucks at apologizing, be an example.

        12. If you want something changed in your relationship.. be an example and start first. If you want more “I love you”s, start saying it first. You want more patience, give it. You want less nagging, stop doing it. Someone has to start, it might as well be YOU.

        10. Be with someone who lifts you up and makes you want to be a better person. Don’t be with someone who brings you down, obviously. But also, seriouslllllyyyy find someone who makes you WANT to be a better person. Not someone who FORCES or guilts you into being a better person. If you find someone who has some kind of energy that you can’t explain but it just makes you want to do big happy awesome things, allll on your own, there ya go!

        11. DONT TRY TO CHANGE/FIX/SAVE PEOPLE. SERIOUSLY DONT. IT WILL NEVER EVER WORK. This is tied into the one above, because your partner should be doing this work for themselves. And you should be doing it for yourself. Its nobodies job but their own, because you’re not their parent and they are not yours. Be an adult and figure your own stuff out. And, let them figure theirs. It is a waste of time.

        12. And to add on to that one even more, take care of yourself and your goals. Put yourself first. Don’t lose yourself and your goals to someone else, no matter how amazing they are. You will always be your own person and you cannot tie your whole identity and life into another individual.

        13. Say I love you a million times a day. Because why wouldn’t you???

        14. Don’t take your shit out on them! Your partner can easily become your punching bag, but seriously, they are supposed to be your PARTNER not your enemy. To be in a healthy relationship, it requires that you know how to responsibly handle your own problems without tearing another person down.

        15. Never stop loving/having fun like you did “in the beginning”. Love grows over time, and that should only make the dynamic between two people even more magical. Again, be best friends first, and just enjoy life, because one day we’re all gonna die anyways so you might as well find the person you most enjoy spending time with and actually enjoy each other.

        16. Learn humor. If you can’t laugh in both good and bad times, your life is going to suck. Everything becomes easier when you can make terrible (and sometimes dark) jokes about the worst times in life.A