Whether you’re just starting the dating and relationship process or you’ve been married for 30 years, relationships take work, compassion, understanding and effort. Here are 10 steps you can take to having better relationships:

heart 1. Change from an inward to an outward focus

A relationship by its very nature is not about you alone. It’s about you and the other person. When both partners put the feelings of the other on equal footing with their own feelings, love blossoms (in friendships and in romantic love).

2. Let your partner be himself or herself.

If you go into a relationship thinking something is wrong with the person but that given time, you’ll be able to “fix” it, you should not be in the relationship. The things you want to fix are what makes the him or her unique. Love without wanting to change your partner.

3. Relationships mirror the effort put into them.

Relationships take work. You have to communicate, be tolerant, learn to understand each other. You have to love each other enough to recognize that you’re both human, imperfect, and make mistakes.

4. Don’t take everything personally.

Two people, no matter how much they have in common, will occasionally disagree or see things a different way. Don’t take it personally if you and your partner don’t agree on everything. How boring!

5. TALK.

Communicate about everything. The more you talk, the stronger your relationship will be.

6. Don’t judge.

Long lasting relationships become long lasting when two people can trust each other enough to open up and be vulnerable. That cannot happen when judgement and condescension are more likely than loving support.

7. Believe in your partner’s dreams.

Partners in love, as in business, should be there to support each other. Instead of pushing your partner to become what you want him to be, believe in his dreams.

8. Act like grown ups, play like kids.

Treat each other with the respect that comes with being mature enough not to have a temper tantrum when things don’t go your way, but don’t become stodgy and old and let your relationship wilt. Have fun, play, and laugh together as often as possible.

9. Never stop dating.

No matter how busy life gets, never stop prioritizing time for just the two of you.

10. Forgive.

Don’t lay blame, don’t hold grudges, never go to bed mad, and always make up the first chance you get.