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Many people grow up believing that they will meet someone, fall in love, and spend the rest of eternity happily ever after. And while that is a nice thought, it’s not reality.

In reality, people meet, get to know one another, fall in love and endure obstacles together. There are tests. The spark begins to fade. Life feels routine. And what is left is two people who love each other very much, working together as a team to build something beautiful. Conversely, I suppose you could have two people who refuse to do the work and their relationship falls apart. If you are here, though, I highly doubt that is your mentality.

Life is all about habits and choices. The small decisions and habits we participate in today come together to weave our future. If you are wanting to build a beautiful relationship with your partner, the best thing you can do is take action now. Here are 10 simple habits that create positive relationships.

1. Embracing autonomy.

Being in a healthy and happy relationship does not involve meshing together into one blob of a person, or being obsessive about your partner. On the contrary, it’s important to have time apart. To cultivate a life outside of your partner that defines you outside of them. Without this, you lose the version of yourself that your partner fell in love with in the first place.

2. Working to be a team.

A relationship is best when it includes two people who are on the same team. If you are not on the same team, then it’s going to be you vs. them, instead of the two of you taking on the world together. And if you are always fighting against one another, it isn’t like you are going to make this last.

3. Fighting for the relationship, not to be right.

Arguments are not inherently bad. Fighting can be a good thing, as long as it’s healthy. A healthy fight (argument) is one where you both express and communicate where you are coming from and try to find common ground to make the relationship move forward. If you are fighting to be right, you are never going to win.

4. Spending (quality) time together.

It’s important to spend quality time together. And when I say quality time together, I mean time where you put the phones and laptops away, and talk. No distractions, just the two of you doing something together.

5. Respect.

Respect is fundamental to a positive relationship. Two people who respect one another are always going to be able to find a way to make things work. And when you are respectful of someone, it’s much easier to understand them even when you don’t agree.

6. Honesty.

Honest. Is. Everything. No matter what you do, stay honest. Don’t hide things, or omit things. Be open and honest with your partner.

7. Trust.

Trust is also fundamental to a relationship. Without it, things are going to get rough. People tend to get jealous and insecure when they don’t trust their partner, which can only lead to more trouble.

8. Having boundaries.

Boundaries are our limits. Just because you have a limit between you and your partner doesn’t mean that you don’t love them unconditionally, it means that you also love yourself. Sometimes, you have to put up boundaries.

9. Showing gratitude.

Just because you have been with your partner for years, that does not mean they understand that you are grateful for them. Sometimes, it needs to be said. So, if you haven’t said it in a while, tell your partner how grateful you are for them and why.

10. Responding to one another.

Another tendency in a long-term relationship can be when your partner says something to you, and you just look at them. Deep down, you may think they realize that you have absorbed the information or that they know you are listening. But, when you listen and respond, it shows much more interest and consideration. Not to mention it opens the doorway of communication, which is also necessary.