Looking back on my 3 year plus relationship hasn't made me by any means a GURU in love, but reading this article, I kinda felt the need to come up with my very own list. This list is borne out of my own personal experience, and by no means prescriptive to all reading this. I think it's really dependent on the type of partner you're with.
For my list, it's the most applicable to the Alpha Male, Type A, MCP kind. This description is NOT derogatory in any form, its just a label I've put on my partner. (which he prolly agrees to as well)
Things that Make a Relationship Work
1. If the hard approach doesn't work, try the soft one.
I used to get really upset with my boyfriend when he sometimes get insensitive with his words in front of his friends (when I'm around). I.e he might say "You're just not smart enough to handle that" or "Your friend so and so is dumb", or sometimes brush of something I say when I'm with his friends.
I would feel disrespected and upset at that situation. However, I've learnt that, as much as you want respect, it's disrespectful to show contempt there and then at him, or sulk the night away in front of his friends, purposefully showing that you're upset at him.
As much as we women have egos, so do men, and my gosh, more often than not they have bigger egos too (unless ur dating a pussy whipped guy). I used to get very peeved off when we were back home and used to be really mean back to him. Time and time again, this has backfired, and it has turned even into a bigger argument in the end. 1 approach that has continually worked is using the "soft" approach. I'll sit him down and talk to him very nicely, telling him that I think his attitude isn't right and end of by not demanding or not being angry at him, but being ultra nice to him. "Pouring burning coal on your enemy's head" does work here and many a times, for me, this method has seemed to work and he softens once I softens. Try it!
2. Hold Hands
If you look at your parents, after 30 years of marriage, how many of them still hold hands when they go out? yea we might cringe at the thought of our parents holding hands, but indeed, that is a basic form of affection. Sometimes, more effective than words, a small squeeze of your partner's hands in worth more than a thousand words.
3. 1 kiss in the morning, and 1 (or more kisses) at night
Don't get me wrong, I'm not the kind for the full out make out sessions, etc. The kind of kiss I'm talking about is the peck on the cheeks, or quick peck on the lips kind. I think it can be the most wonderful sign that 2 people love each other. People say never go to bed angry, but I'm more for "Never go to bed without a kiss".
4. Nick Names/Baby Talking
Some people cringe at hearing couples baby talk or call each other insanely embarrassing nick names. I for 1 cringe at over expressive PDA or baby talking in public. (GET A ROOM!)
But I think nick names are made just in a very endearing way, and as long as used in the comfort of both your personal space, be free to talk in whatever goo goo gaa gaa language you want or call each other whatever name pleases you.
I have a friend who calls his friend "Chou Pi Pi" in public and that translated from chinese means "Smelly fart". I think it's cute, but if the gf obviously doesn't like it then its time to retire it to something she likes more. Remember, nick names are not for shaming a person, its to show affection in an endearing way.
My bf calls me "POO", as in poo for shit. I know, kill me already. But I guess I've never been one to get offended by such things, to me it doesnt matter because he says it in such a cute way, i can't even get angry. (Although I must admit that it is upsetting when his friends start calling me Poo too!!!! WTH!). In return, I call him "Poo" back, so if he doesnt like it, he'll somehow have to stop calling me that. But so far, we have been calling each other "Poo" for the longest time.
I've learnt that if you don't like a nickname you partner gives you and if he's the kind of guy Im dating, if you tell him you dont like it, he will not change immediately. In fact, he will, on the contrary call it more often, for the sake of irritating you. Just dont bother about it, and in sometime, with his short attention span to something, he'll change it (to something else possibly worse! haha, good luck).
Never be afraid of being silly. That's all I can say. Sometimes, you need to let it all go and be a child, only then will you release the inner child in your partner.
I think this is something hard to do, especially for heinous "crimes", but forgiveness is key to a strong relationship. When someone is forgiven, he/she will sense the faith you have in that person, and if this person truly wants to be with you, will make amends to mend the relationship. Girls get bitter quite easily, or remember bad things at a snap of a finger (although they never score well in history classes). If you find that you cannot forgive your partner for something he/she has done, its time to move on.
7. Adapt to their LOVE LANGUAGES
I've read Gary Chapman's "5 love languages" once but it has taught me many important lessons about love languages. We all have different love languages and just because your partner doesnt love you in the love language you want, doesnt mean he doesnt love you at all. And by loving him with you love language, it doesnt mean he's feeling loved at all! Irony right, but oh so true.
Take for example, my love language is time spent and acts of service. But my bf's love language is words of affirmation and gifts. By loving him by cooking for him every dinner (acts of service) might not be as effective to him as if you were to say to him at the end of the day "Your such a wonderful bf to come make an effort to come home early every night although I know you're so busy at work. I love you so much". Get it?
Anyway these are my thoughts on love languages. Its best to know what love language your partner finds important so you can show him you love him, the best way he knows how to interpret it. If his love language is (expensive) gifts, then good luck to you. Better head to Singapore's casino more often!!!
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable, you don't have to put up a front all the time. Cry when you're sad. (applies to males too). When you truly open up to a person, that person can understand you for truly who you are (and love you too).
9. Be Supportive
I think this is one of the most critical factors -- being supportive. Everyone out in the dog eat dog world is already out to criticize the hell out of you, so why would you need one more person to? Support fully even though you might not understand, defend your partner when the need arises, and just be there (without nagging).
With love, gifts, time, with yourself. Splurge now and then, because money is the bank can't buy you love.
Lastly, to all the ladies.... never loose composure... breathe slow...