Early dating days are all about spending time together and getting to know one another. We focus intently on who the other person is and how they're feeling, which helps to build intimacy. However, as time goes on, it can become harder to stay connected. 

In the same way that a tired and unloved vehicle won't travel very far on its journey, the same applies when it comes to our relationships. Unfortunately, when life becomes hectic - as it easily can - maintaining the health and happiness of our partnerships tends to quietly sink to the bottom of the daily 'to-do' list. 

There are multiple contributors to the ultimate disconnect in a relationship. Financial pressures, changing priorities, loss of attraction, and external factors all play their part. However, there is one key element that can be the connector to a brighter, better future together.

That key element? Good communication - and lots of it!

Without great communication, a relationship simply cannot thrive. Not only that, but without being able to communicate well together, you may run the risk of breaking up altogether. Communication is the cornerstone to every strong relationship and the essence of any future plans together.

So how can you improve communication to ensure your relationship goes the distance?

Despite what you might assume, communication is actually much more about the ability to listen than the skill of speaking. Although it can be tempting to share everything you are thinking and feeling in an attempt to make your partner understand your point of view, you are both far more likely to resolve any lingering issues by sitting back and hearing the other person's perspective.

The next time you find yourself in any kind of dispute together, try to avoid the temptation to speak over your partner when you disagree. You don't have to give up on your own beliefs; you just need to be patient enough to hear the other side in full before you respond. This simple change will make a world of difference!

It's important to set aside time to hear how your partner is feeling. We are all guilty of getting swallowed up by the bright lights of our smartphones all too often. Set aside a portion of your day where you leave distractions in another room. Pour up some drinks and talk about each other's day. Resist the urge to offer counsel or opinions on what your partner tells you.

Leave space for them to feel heard and for their feelings to be validated by your full attention.

The process of personal connection is a constant journey. It is a practice you choose to take each and every day for one another, making an effort to find time and opportunity to be in each other's company. Create the habits of a lifetime, and your relationship should last just as long.