Relationships take constant work. Even if your relationship is good, it needs attention and effort to maintain it. And don’t stop there. Make your relationship great!

Here are 8 steps to help you go from good to great.

  1. Remember self-care. Sometimes when we get into a relationship we forget to keep taking care of ourselves. Don’t expect your partner to take care of you. You need to think about how you can act lovingly towards yourself and take care of your own needs. Showing compassion and self-love will be your basis for how to love others.

    What does self-care look like? For each person it will be different. Some need time to be alone and process their thinking, exercise daily or treat themselves to their weekly cappuccino. For others self-care means hanging out with their friends, buying a new article of clothing or taking a nap. The key is to do something meaningful and important to you. Think of one thing you need to do for yourself this week and do it!

  2. Slow down. Love feels better at a slower pace than we are used to (compared to lust which is usually fast and fleeting). Sometimes taking things slower and more evenly paced will help you advance your relationship and fully connect with your time together. Rushing a relationship can create a lot of pressure. It may be frustrating to move slowly when part of you wants to race ahead, but you need to consider where your partner is holding and how ready he or she is to take the next step. So make sure the two of you are moving at the same pace and don’t hurry things along. Let things develop in their own time.

  3. Embrace mistakes. Practice saying, “My mistake.” Get used to those words. Don’t hate them—embrace them. Love is messy. Don’t beat yourself up; mistakes are a part of the process. Start thinking about the blessings that come from getting it wrong sometimes. What can we learn from this? How can we use this as a relationship building block? Instead of ignoring your mistakes or feeling bad about them, why not celebrate your failures as learning experiences that make you better? (But be careful not to confuse mistakes with red flags or unhealthy relationships.)

  4. Tune in to your partner. Know what is annoying, irritating, provoking, aggravating or obnoxious to your partner, and stop doing it. And be aware of what they enjoy and love, and give it to them. Give, give, give.

  5. Laugh easily and often. Use humor, have fun and be playful. Love can be hard; try to laugh together. Laughing is like exercise: it releases endorphins that fuel the body and make you both feel great.

  6. Speak openly. Speak freely and be open with one another. Don’t operate on fear and close yourself off like so many do. Rather speak about good times as well as problems. Practice deep listening, validation and understanding. One of the greatest pleasures is being understood. Share that from a real, authentic and sincere place within.

  7. Make time for each other. Time together is precious. Things like technology, work and hobbies take us away from each other. While we all have other obligations, make sure to make your relationship a top priority and commit to spending regular time together. When dating seriously, two to three together times a week can help to progress a relationship. Also, remember to balance your together time between serious and enjoyable activities.

  8. Nurture each other. Show your partner that you care deeply for them. Whether in words, by writing a letter or giving a gift. Small gestures on a monthly basis will help to deepen your bond and show that you’re committed to helping grow your relationship.

May you build a wonderful relationship and find more ways to go from good to great!