Take it from me, relationships are hard work. A "real" relationship is hard work. It's easy to say yes to someone when they ask you out, go through the rosey parts, the dates, the prezzies, the heart-to-hearts, the laughs...Then there are the arguments, the fights, the insecurities, the misconceptions. But here is what I've learnt...
1. No matter how many big fights you go through, watch how you react. In the heat of the moment you might say something you don't mean or do something that will crush your partner, give them sleepless nights and possibly feel less of themselves. Life is 5% what happens, 95% how you react. So go easy on those reactions.
2. Normalize speaking your mind. Don't hold back your opinions, your thoughts, your perspective over any subject at hand. Create an environment where both of you feel safe to speak your mind.
3. Normalize reminding your significant other how much you appreciate them and adore them and how much you love them. Saying "I love you" genuinely out of the blue is more than enough, the sweet messages, the silly jokes. Make their day beautiful by reminding them how much you love them.
4. Normalize talking about mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, suicide, inner peace, spiritual issues, the whole pack. Your partner is your best friend, be open to talk about these issues because they indirectly affect your relationship.
5. Always, always love and support your partner. Through their flaws and imperfections, your love is always greater than that.