DO: Communicate at all times about everything.
This one is so obvious. And yet, so many people fail to follow it! If you're going to be in a long-term relationship, you need to be able to share everything with your partner. You also need to be able to talk through your problems and work them out in a civilized manner. You even need to be able to talk about the way that you talk to one another so that you know which forms of communication are most effective for each of you! A good relationship is all about good communication. Don't ever forget it.
DON'T: Run to your friends to talk about your relationship problems instead of talking things out with your partner.
Now, we're not suggesting that you can't ever talk with your friends about your problems. But, what we are saying is that you shouldn't be running to them first whenever an issue comes up. Instead, learn to communicate it directly to your partner. It'll help your relationship and your friendships as well.
DO: Hold your partner's hand and do other small things to show them how much you care about them.
Something as simple as holding your significant other's hand in public can make them feel like they're important to you. So, take the time to do small things that will pay off in a big way. If you do, we're sure they'll return the favor.
DON'T: Disrespect your relationship by flirting with others or sending mixed signals to them.
If you have a man or a woman in your life, act like it—even when they're not necessarily around to see it. Now, you obviously cannot stop people from coming up to you and engaging you in conversation. But, you can be very forthcoming with them in letting them know that you are in a committed relationship. This will stop you from having any misunderstandings with your partner in the future.
DO: Maintain close ties with those friends that are important to you outside of your relationship.
We see this rule broken all the time. A person gets into a relationship, cuts off contact with those close to them, and then ultimately ends up unhappy. You need to find a balance and maintain contact with everyone in your life in order to sustain a long-term relationship. Don't lose yourself once you get into a relationship. It's vital that you have a strong support group surrounding you that extends beyond just one person.
DON'T: Go out every night partying with your friends while your partner sits at home.
Do we really have to explain why this is important? And yet, you'd be surprised at how many guys just can't give up going out regularly with their friends and how many ladies are still lined up every week for ladies' night. If you want to do that, that's fine. But, don't expect your relationship to grow. Everyone needs to go out sometimes, but you also need to set aside plenty of time for your significant other.
DO: Set aside specific "date nights" for you and your partner to be together.
Again, this may seem self-explanatory. But, many people simply don't make time for one another. Life gets too busy and they forget to enjoy a night out together. You need to make sure that you have those times in order to reconnect. So, shut off your cell phones, get off your computer, and spend some time together. It'll be good for both of you.
DON'T: Forget to call home if you're going to be late at the office.
This is common courtesy. But, it also lets your significant other know that you're considering their feelings. It may seem like a small gesture. But, at this point, you should understand that just about everything on this list involves small gestures that make a big difference. So, if you're gonna be late—or you're out with your boys later than you expected—give a call and let your partner know.
DO: Read books to get a better understanding of how to improve your relationship.
Reading books about relationships can give you valuable insight into how to keep yours strong. So, try reading things like Steve Harvey's Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man to get a better understanding of where your partner is coming from in certain situations.
DON'T: Consider books about relationships the Bible.
As you'll see in the movie, Think Like a Man, some pretty crazy stuff can happen if you base everything in your relationship around a book. So, use the book to get knowledge. But, talk about things with your partner—there's that pesky "communication" again!—so that you're both on the same page at all times. If you can do that, you should have no problem at all sustaining a long-term relationship. Good luck!