The word “rules” sounds so constrictive, doesn’t it? It probably brings back memories of school, authority figures, and strict rights and wrongs.
If you are worried I’m here to tell you what relationship rules you MUST follow to be successful in love, you can now sigh in relief. I’m not here to do that.
But I do want to help, so think of relationship rules as a pact, contract, or agreement between you and your partner to ensure you both know what you expect of each other. These rules also help you communicate, set healthy boundaries, build intimacy, strengthen your connection, and cut out misunderstandings.
My husband and I have been together since 2010 (married since 2012), and we follow our relationship rules. I contribute a big part of the success of our relationship to that pact.
Today, I’ll share the most popular rules you can follow in your romantic relationship with your partner.
12 rules for relationship success
It’s important to discuss these rules and relationship advice with your partner so you can both be on the same page in your relationship. You’ll know what each of you want in your relationship, and having these rules makes it easier to meet those needs.
Once you’ve read through the rules below, I want to encourage you to amend the rules and add more to make it work for you and your partner. Revisit the rules often; life circumstances change and you grow as a person, so the rules need to continue working for you and your soulmate.
Emotional relationship rules
1. Prioritize your relationship
Prioritize your relationship with your partner by investing effort and time into them and the relationship.
Make sure you don’t just focus on work or going out with your friends; your relationship will suffer. It’ll be like you are single, living your life, and see your roommate – aka partner – at home.
2. Keep communicating
You might be tired of hearing that communication is the key to a healthy and successful relationship – but it’s true.
By communicating about the rules for your partnership, your dreams and fears, and every day gratitudes and challenges, you get to know your partner and love them more.
3. Be you, always
Your partner can’t love you if they don’t know who you are – truly are, I mean. If you are pretending to be someone else, your soulmate loves that pretense, not you.
So be authentically you in your relationship (and the rest of your life). Being you strengthens your relationship. Like that Facebook quote that makes the rounds every so often: Be who you are loudly so you can attract your tribe.
If you are you, then your (right) partner will love who you are.
Physical relationship rules
4. Hug often
Hug your partner in the morning before you leave home for the office and when you get back home. And then on every other opportunity you can.
Hugging has a host of benefits: it reduces stress (by decreasing cortisol) and increases oxytocin (the love hormone). It also makes you feel closer to your partner, gives you a safe space to just be, and makes you feel loved.
5. Keep sex on the table
Like hugging, having sex is regularly is essential for a healthy relationship. Making love lets you feel close and connected to your lover, it increases your level of intimacy, and it creates trust.
Studies have found that couples who have sex weekly are happier than those who do the deed once a month. However often you and your soulmate have sex is up to you, and it needs to work for you – not be based on study results.
6. Agree on PDA
Every person has their own love language, and everyone is comfortable with different levels of public displays of affection (PDA).
Have you ever seen two adults make out in the movie theater line like they are teenagers and can’t control themselves?
Did you cringe?
Or did you wish you had a special someone who wouldn’t mind showing their attraction and desire for you openly and publicly?
You and your loved one need to decide what level of PDA you are both comfortable with in public so you never feel embarrassed.
Is hand holding ok? What about kissing? Hugging?
Financial relationship rules
7. Be honest about money
Money issues are a big reason why a lot of relationships fail. And it isn’t just the actual money but the emotional feelings (uncertainty, jealousy, and more) money causes that places undue stress on both of you.
So choose to be honest about your finances. If you are in debt or have bad spending habits, let your partner know so there’s no unexpected surprises.
8. Set financial goals
You may want to buy a house together, or maybe traveling and seeing the world is more important to you. Whatever goals you have, sit down with your partner and talk seriously about these.
Plan and commit to how you can make your dreams come true. For each goal, you need to set a monetary target and a timeline.
Your financial goals also include your monthly spending and saving, so chat about debt, savings, investments, and your joint income. From there, make decisions together.
9. Plan your legacy
With legacy planning, I mean you need to pay attention to your wills and power of attorney. Having these discussions and getting the paperwork in order protects your loved ones.
Also look at life insurance and make the best decisions for you and your family.
Social relationship rules
10. Make time for each other
When a relationship is new, we want to spend all of our time with this “new” person. But the longer you are in a relationship, the more that desire dwindles, and you may spend less and less and less time together.
So make it part of your partner pact that you will make time for each other and that any time together should be quality time to let you bond. Don’t have dinner and discuss the kids. Rather, cuddle on a double egg chair and reminisce, discuss a book you read, and play a board game you both love.
11. Don’t leave romance and fun at the proverbial door
Your relationship should always, always have space for romance and fun.
Keep the romance alive by planning regular date nights where it’s just the two of you. Or how about a romantic weekend away (and leave technology at home too so you and your partner can truly connect)?
Fun should be part of the relationship, and hey, you can even combine it with romance. Let your inner child come out to play. Tickle and tease each other. Laugh and make jokes. Just have fun and forget about being serious adults for a moment or two.
When there’s plenty of romance and fun in your partnership, you can breathe easier, release stress, and focus on the positive.
12. Space is also good
While making time for each other is essential, it’s also vital to spend quality time by yourself. Unwind, do what makes you happy, and have me-time.
Ensuring you still have your personal space helps you keep your identity – you know, the person your partner fell in love with?
If you are in each other’s business all the time, it’s so easy to lose yourself and become a merged identity with your lover (you act the same as your partner, and they do the same).
The last rule: staying together
I’m sure as you read through these relationship rules, some (if not most or all) of them resonated with what you want, need, and expect in a relationship with your loved one.
When you have a moment, sit down and create a list of rules that meet your needs. Ask your partner to do the same.
Then you can both get together and discuss your romantic relationship rules. Find common ground, and make your partnership pact to help you be stronger in your relationship with each other.