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Relationships are volatile. It isn’t always a constant high after the honeymoon phase—in fact, you might encounter moments where you’re left struggling to keep it all afloat.

Everyone has felt this way at some point. But rest assured—you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t care enough to want to keep your relationship strong and hardy.

The key to a maintaining relationship is as simple as this: trying. Simply making an effort to uphold your relationship is the first, vital step, and those who don’t think to even try would have already lost.

Cherish your relationship? Game for trying? Here’s how you can deepen your bond with your partner even more:

1. Talk to each other.

And this means more than just the weather and the trite-and-tired ‘how’s your day’. Summon enough care and concern to delve, solicit details, be attentive, and most of importantly all, listen. Learn to read into your partner’s nuances so you can infer their needs beyond a tepid exchange of words.

2. Show how much you truly care.

Saying it—more often than not—really just isn’t enough. Words carry little stock if you don’t have actions to back them up. Make a note to perform nice, daily gestures for your partner—to offer an enduring sign of initiative and affection. It will only affirm the fact that you truly want them in your life.

3. Talk about the things that matter.

And by things that matter, we mean the grittier, deeper topics social flouncers dodge on a daily basis. It will prove vitally important to discuss more of the significant issues between the two of you. Remember, staying close is key to staying strong.

4. Keep up a playful atmosphere.

Don’t spare the sparks after the honeymoon phase. Keep a flirty attitude up and alive throughout the course of your relationship so you’ll have plenty of room for refreshing banter and—more importantly—bring back those exhilarating gushes of chemistry from the old days.

5. Be patient and forgive.

Grudges will get your relationship sinking faster than the Titanic. Muster up the strength to forgive them, and mean it. Above everything, patience is key.

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