12 Relationship Commandments You Should Start To Follow Right Now


We’ve probably all been in relationships and know some have been better than others. Some may be more fun-oriented while others were more respect-oriented.

But, can’t we have both? In the past, we’ve talked about “25 Ways To Know If He (Or She) Is The One.” We compiled a list from five primary sources, including married people and therapists, like:

  • “You accept him ‘as is’—don’t expect him to change—and he does the same regarding you.”
  • “You respect him/her.”
  • “‘I miss you’ isn’t just a sweet thing you say. It’s a reality.”

As far as a relationship goes, “The easy answer is, it can always benefit from better communication,” said Jeffrey Sumber, MA, MTS, LCPC to Bustle. “I don’t know any couple that doesn’t need a little work when it comes to healthy communication, respect, positive regard for our partners.”

Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka “Dr. Romance”), agreed. “Good communication will make your relationship great — bad communication will break it,” Dr. Tessina tells Bustle.

“Also, talking is not always communicating. If you’re just jabbering away at each other, you may not even be heard. It’s very easy to tune each other out and just make listening noises. It’s a good idea to somehow differentiate: ‘Honey, I have something important to talk to you about. Is this a good time?’ rather than just launching into whatever it is. You’ll understand the difference between talking and just communication.”

YourTango recently published a list of “The 12 ‘Commandments’ Of Successful, Lasting, Happy Relationships” by Charles J. Orlando. See if you agree with them.

He said “to create a successful relationship that truly lasts, here’s what every couple needs”:

1. Acceptance

“Too many people talk about tolerance, but great couples don’t ‘tolerate’ each other’s quirks and differences—they accept them. They celebrate their similarities AND their unique differences. They recognize that if you can find someone who addresses 60 percent of your wants and needs, you’re truly lucky/blessed. Acceptance makes you and your partner both feel safe to share your true selves. You don’t fear judgment, because you aren’t being judged.”

2. Honesty & Trust

“Being honest is mostly an individual decision, based on self-worth, self-confidence, and knowing you/your actions are accepted—even with flaws and mistakes. Trust follows when each person has undeniable faith that they can believe the other person—unequivocally.”

3. Respect

“Many people confuse attention with respect. Attention is great, and it shows love, desire, connection, and passion. Respect is a deeper level of connection, where you value the person at an innate level, without the promise of reciprocation.”

4. Loyalty

“In today’s temporary relationship-driven society, loyalty has largely turned situational—meaning that many people have only become as loyal as their current wants, needs, desires, and opportunities. With acceptance, honesty, trust and respect in place, loyalty is largely automatic. If your partner feels attracted to someone else, experiences a level of disconnection, or has a change of heart—it is discussed—openly and honestly.”

5. Staying Present

“Technology is ever-present in our world—and it transfers to our relationships. Mobile devices, social media, and technology overall makes it easy to mentally check out from where you are and who you’re with physically. Successful couples recognize that technology is a tool for their individual and joint use, but it doesn’t disconnect them from their relationship.”

6. Affection & Passion

“Everyone wants to feel loved, and sustaining physical connection is a big part of that. Whether together two months or 20 years, the little things like holding hands, shoulder touches, and sitting together make a very big difference. A healthy sex life is the extension of that affection, helping you and your partner maintain a connection level that is simultaneously physical, mental, and emotional.”

7. Humor

“Laughter makes everyone smile, feels great, and works like magic to build, maintain, or restore balance (and attraction) in your relationship. Whether it’s simply telling a joke, playfully teasing your partner, or enjoying a ridiculous conversation, humor builds a happy connection that transcends any individual or joint stress, and keeps you enjoying each other’s company.”

8. Effective Disagreements

“Arguments in a relationship are normal. It’s how you handle them and repair communication that makes your relationship last. Talking through issues with active listening (meaning: not just waiting to explain your own views, but rather, really listening to their side/experience and then offering empathy—regardless if you agree or not), being patient, and not judging allows both of you to maintain your opinion/views on the matter and still connect with one another. People in long-term relationships often have a choice: Being happy… or being right. Hint: Happy is better!”

9. Privacy

“Today, there is an epidemic of over-sharing, and in relationships, this is often a death sentence. Bottom line: What happens in your relationship isn’t for public consumption. It’s none of anyone’s business. Keeping things between you and your partner and excluding others from your inner-workings—to include kids, parents, friends, and strangers—is of paramount importance.”

10. Maintaining Your Individuality

“A successful relationship is made up of two individuals. Your partner still has interest in things they like, whether you’re interested in them or not. Having your own lives outside the relationship not only contributes to each of you maintaining a sense of self-worth and self-esteem, but also gives you things, accomplishments, and interests to bring back to your relationship and share with your partner.”

11. Support And Sharing

“Paying attention to your partner’s activities—as well as sharing your own—keeps couples connected on a day-to-day basis. Lending opinion and insight, or just a compassionate ear when things get tough makes all the difference. When you care about and respect your partner, you want to know what they’re doing and how you can help them achieve their goals—even if that means you see them less. Being invested in their lives is what contributes to you both people feeling valued.”

12. Consideration & Gratitude

“The moment you’re no longer grateful for your partner is the moment you start disconnecting, becoming complacent, and/or building resentment. Show consideration to and appreciation for your partner—just for being who they are. They, in turn, will feel grateful as well … and that’s a great cycle to be in.”

“Trips and gifts are great, but it’s the everyday behaviors that count more,” said Orlando. “A couple that takes time to do the things that made them fall in love in the first place will find themselves connected and happy long after the newness of the relationship has passed.”

Photo by Emery Co Photo


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About the Author
Natalia Lusinski
In addition to Simplemost, Natalia is an ongoing writer for Bustle (sex, dating, relationships, and money), HelloGiggles (pop culture and news), The Delite (feel-good stories), and Don’t Waste Your Money (yep, money issues!). You can also find her writing in the L.A. Times, the Chicago Tribune's RedEye, xoJane, Elite Daily, Scary Mommy, Elephant Journal, and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, among other publications. She has a Ph.D. in couch-surfing, having spent four years sleeping on over 200 L.A.-area love seats and sectionals, all in an effort to whittle down her student loan debt. She still loves couch-surfing in other cities, too (hint, hint).

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