We all know that relationships are not always easy, and just like a car, require regular care and attention to keep them moving forward or simply working at all. Although these tips are aimed mostly at couples who have been married for a while, you can probably benefit from some of these relationship tips if you are just feeling your way in the often confusing world of dating.

It’s been said many times, but communication really is one of the most important elements in any relationship. Take an interest in what your partner or spouse is saying, and act as though you really are interested and not just going through the motions. Asking how their day was, and offering support and encouragement if they have had a bad day, are easy to do but so often overlooked.

Show an interest in your partner’s hobbies, even if it isn’t something you have a passion for. If your husband plays golf every Saturday morning, ask him about the game, go and watch him play, or even play a round with him yourself. And if your girlfriend is into collecting antique dolls or something just as mysterious to you, show her you are interested.

It is easy to lose that ‘spark’ if you have been married a while, or take each other for granted. Ask yourself just what it was that attracted you to your spouse in the first place; chances are he or she still has that sense of humor, or thirst for adventure or love of family that they had back then.

But it’s also important to understand that your partner doesn’t quite think the same as they did 20 years ago, any more than you do. All relationships evolve and as you get older, it’s the closeness and the together time that become more important than wild nights or sizzling sex.

However, there are small ways to bring back that spark. Although it isn’t always easy to be spontaneous, taking advantage of the right moment can often bring a big payoff in the romance department. If the two of you don’t cuddle in bed on a Sunday morning anymore, do it. If the last time you held hands and hugged in public was longer ago than you can remember, you really aren’t too old to do that. And if you are a married man reading this, your wife really would like you to buy her flowers every now and then for no apparent reason, cook dinner, watch a chick flick with her or tell her that she looks great in that outfit.

All couples argue occasionally and if you have had one, there is a lot of truth in the old advice that says don’t go to bed mad. One of the most important things if you are arguing, is to focus on only what it is that is being discussed or talked about – it’s all too easy to bring up all the other little things that are bothering you, or everything else that is upsetting you.

Of course, it’s important to talk things through, but there is a time and place for that. Make an effort to listen to what your partner is saying and try to see their point of view – they may have an angle or a solution that just didn’t occur to you. Compromise is perhaps an over used word, but if you are in a relationship of any kind, the sooner you learn how to compromise, the better.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s with finance, coping with family, or problems at work. In a strong relationship, couples support one another.