Relationships are hard. From showing each other appreciation to figuring out who’s paying for meals — having a strong, healthy relationship can be difficult. Though challenging, communication is key when it comes to building a grounded relationship.

If one person in the relationship notices their partner has been acting down, communicate with them. It’s easier said than done, but here are some tips to help better your relationship.

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Listen to your partner

Making sure everyone in the relationship is heard is important. Sometimes what they may be ranting about may not seem all that interesting or it may even sound annoying, but listening can lead to learning more about the other person. It takes a lot of effort, but there’s always something new to be learned from just listening.

In instances where what’s being said is a touchy subject, sometimes walking away from the conversation is the last thing to do. Maybe it was brought up because they feel strongly about it or maybe it just needed to be said. Try to gather up the strength to power through the conversation and listen but if a discussion feels too intense, know that it’s OK to pause and continue another time. Listening requires input from both parties.

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Have unfiltered honesty

Being truthful not only builds a relationship for the better but it also shows a caring relationship. Lying breaks trust and destroys the foundations of a relationship.

It’s best to maintain unfiltered honesty. Don’t be afraid of hurting or offending a partner, speaking your mind will allow space for true understanding. Challenge a relationship by pushing boundaries without crossing the line. Finding some way to open up will establish trust and respect.

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Show affection

There are many ways to show affection to a significant other.  Body language, for example, sometimes speaks louder than words. Physical touch can really show someone how they can be cared for. If it’s as simple as touching their shoulder to get their attention, they will appreciate every step taken to get closer with them.

Words also show affection. Someone doesn’t always necessarily have to say “I love you,” to express such a feeling. Saying “I appreciate you” or “you make me happy” will always reassure this fondness. Being honest with someone else about how they are feeling even in the simplest of expressions can go a long way.

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Be vulnerable

Nothing says trust like showing your vulnerability. By opening up, you communicate you’re only human, and vulnerability speaks to how human a person truly is.

Be vulnerable, show affection, have unfiltered honesty and listen to your partner — it’s easier than many people think.