The first year of your relationship can clue you into how your relationship is going to be long-term. Making it to the one-year mark with someone isn’t always easy. There are so many uncomfortable things you have to go through together to make sure you’re equally in it for the long haul. Things like chemistry and intense sexual attraction can only get you so far.

1. Work Out Most Of Your Communication Issues

It’s no secret that having open and honest communication is one of the many keys to relationship success. Although you can’t expect all of your issues to be worked out in that first year, you should constantly be finding ways to improve the way you communicate with each other. Communication helps keep the two of you connected and creates a solid foundation for the start of the relationship. It’s vital, especially in the first year of a relationship, to always be communicating with your partner if you want it to last.

2. Set Realistic Expectations For Your Relationship

Everyone goes into relationships with expectations. While some relationship expectations are good to have (i.e. a well-balanced partnership) others can hurt your relationship, in ways you may not realize. So if you want your relationship to last, you need to “sacrifice the ideal” relationship before your first anniversary.  There is no such thing as an ” Ideal partner”. You need to sacrifice the idea of the perfect partner, in order to make the most of the ongoing relationship with your actual partner. Once you are able to forget that image of an ideal, you will be able to grow stronger, since you won’t be comparing and contrasting all the time.

3. Make It A Habit To Try New Things Together

Keeping the spark alive isn’t something you really worry about during the first year of your relationship since everything is still so new. But in order to avoid getting into relationship ruts in the future, make a habit out of trying new things together. Oftentimes people in relationships will become too comfortable and as a result, the sparks will begin to die. It’s important to keep things interesting in the relationship so it always feels new and exciting.

4. Find Ways To Keep Your Individuality

It’s so easy to get swept up into the newness of being as part of a couple. But if you want your relationship to last over the one-year mark, it’s super important to keep your sense of individuality. Don’t lose yourself to your relationship. Often times, we’re so over-the-moon happy with the person we found that over time we expect them to be everything for us completely forgetting that we had a life outside of that love bubble. If you give each other a little space to be the individuals you each fell for, chances are you’ll continue falling in a little bit deeper.

5. Discuss Your Love Languages

How does your partner give and feel love and affection? If you want your relationship to last, you should be familiar with the idea of the five love languages by your first anniversary. A good tip would be to writing down your love language and share it with your partner. Describe specific examples so your partner is clear on what you mean and have your partner confirm their understanding of your love languages so you’re both on the same page. “Always agree to check in with each other at least monthly to see how this aspect of the relationship is going. Communication is key!

Maintaining a relationship long-term takes a ton of effort. But if you can do these five things by your first anniversary, you’re off to a really great start.