5 Things The STRONGEST Couples Always Do To Make Relationships

Learn how to build trust with your partner and create a love that lasts forever.

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is not.

If you watch romantic movies or read romance novels, intimate relationships are all about being “in love”. Don’t let the pop culture mindsets that equate love and romance fool you.

Lasting love requires building trust that empowers a strong, stable relationship between you and the one you love. This is true whether you are old or young, rich or poor, gay or straight.

Watch Dan Ariely’s TED Talk on the value of trust and how important it is in our relationships and interactions.

So, how do you build the trust that fuels the lasting relationship of your dreams?

Couples with strong relationships will tell you about nine key elements on how to build trust in relationships and maintain them:

1. They bring 100 percent of themselves every day.

Strong couples bring 100 percent of themselves to the relationship, no matter how much effort it takes. They don’t stonewall or withhold.

They realize that some days, 100 percent looks big but on other days, it looks small. When both partners are having difficult lives, they take turns stretching to be “the strong one” and going the extra mile.

2. They keep their promises.

Trust is built on aligning your words and your actions. Say what you mean. Do what you say you will do. When a partner makes a promise and can’t keep it, strong couples don’t hide.

Apologize for making a promise you can’t keep. Renegotiate the details of your promise if you can. Can you fulfill the promise later or in a different way? Is there someone else who can help you fulfill your commitment?

If you can’t keep your promise, be clear that you are reneging on your promise. Make amends if you can. Own the consequences.

RELATED: 4 Reasons You Keep Breaking Promises (Without Meaning To)

3. They talk about the hard stuff.


Practice compassionate honesty. Find kind ways to speak your hard truths. Don’t ever tell lies, even so-called “white lies”.

Susan Piver has a great book, The Hard Questions, that is designed to walk couples through hard conversations that matter. Spending a few weeks working through the chapters of this book will strengthen your relationship, whether you are newly in love or have been married for years.

4. They expect miscommunication.

Miscommunication, breakdowns, and even betrayals happen to the most loving couples. The strong ones know how to recover. Have a weekly, scheduled check-in time where you can bring up whatever is bothering you.

Listen deeply to your partner and try not to get defensive. Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is provides some great tools. Apologize and forgive freely. Let time heal raw emotions.

Don’t hold grudges. Revenge is when you take the poison and hope your partner dies. It’s not worth it and it destroys love.

5. They put each other first.

Strong couples put each other first. They act as “we” not “I”. They don’t make important plans or promises without consulting each other first. They work to support each other’s hopes and dreams. They work to a minimize their partner’s fears and concerns.

There is no “I” in “team”. It’s cliché and it’s true.

6. They honor human dynamics.


Michael Gurian’s book, What Could He Be Thinking, is a great place to dive deep in understanding the differences between men and women.

Men have a core fear of losing autonomy. Women have a core fear of abandonment. Men are less likely to want to talk it through. Women are biologically wired to focus on relationships.

Strong couples understand these dynamics and how they impact love. They can talk through difficult issues when they arise.

7. They set healthy boundaries.

Strong couples work to keep their relationships strong by setting healthy boundaries with each other and people outside their relationship. They have individual identities and interests outside the relationship. They know how to manage their emotions.

They ask for support but never dump their problems on their partner. They don’t allow other people to interfere in their relationship. That includes parents, children, siblings, and well-meaning friends.

8. They manage expectations.

Strong couples realize that even the best partners have limitations. Gurian’s book has hilarious chapters that explain why men can’t see dirt and women don’t give better directions.

Strong couples know their partner’s strengths and challenges. They don’t set their partners up for failure. They talk about what is reasonable.

9. They avoid the Humpty Dumpty approach.


Many couples take a Humpty Dumpty approach to trust. Trust has one dimension. Once broken, you can never put it back together again.

Strong couples understand that trust can and will be broken; it can also be repaired. Even trust broken by infidelity can be healed with time and commitment.

Think of trust as the foundation of your house of love. If you build a weak foundation, your love won’t withstand the storms of life.

Good communication forms the structure of your home. Good communication, like good design, can create a home that’s not just livable but an oasis of peace and security.

Romance represents your home décor. You can change it on a whim. New things age and lose their “wow” factor, but often, we cherish these things the most.

The strongest couples build a strong foundation for love. They structure their relationship for good communication. They trust in the relationship because they have built a home designed to withstand the storms of life. They value romance, but they realize romance is not love.

The strongest couples know that lasting love takes effort. It’s worth it because the biggest “wow” in life is loving and being loved.

Gretchen Martens is an author, speaker, coach, and happiness expert. Join her open Facebook community, The Happiness Society, to learn more (@ResilientHappiness).

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