03/24/2016 12:04 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2017

5 Surefire Ways to Sustain Your Relationship When Times Get Tough

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Strong relationships don't just happen. In order to have a flourishing relationship with your significant other you have to do the work. So what happens when the tough times, whether it is a financial situation, an ailing parent, or a lost loved one, comes knocking at the door of your relationship? What does one do? The answer is to quickly spring forth into action!

Any relationship, even good marriages, has bad times. It may help to consider relationships as works in progress, a long-term commitment in which the "downs" may sometime outnumber the "ups." That being said, tough times are the test of every relationship and what is at its core, sometimes causing couples to draw closer and overcome their challenges.

Putting these five tips into practice now will greatly appease any hardship ahead, during, and after. After all, a healthy relationship is an important component for living a great life.

1. Choose to Forgive
Forgiveness is not only a choice, it's your choice. If a situation arises in your relationship where you might be offended or where your partner is at fault, the natural response is to harbor anger or resentment towards them. But what if instead, you chose to forgive them? You accepted what happened, but you no longer held it against them. You would feel better, because now instead of focusing on the negative feelings you have toward them, you can focus on moving forward. You can't really get through a difficult time when your every thought is about how upset you are with the person who got you into that mess. It only makes things more difficult.

2. Actively Pursue Each Other
Are you actively pursuing your partner? Relationships are priceless, valuable, and a lot of work. It requires energy. Many couples apply no energy to their relationship but expect it to thrive. But that won't happen unless they actively pursue each other. And the tough times are no different. Holding hands while communicating openly, listening attentively while looking into each other's eyes, and re-pledging yourselves to each other aloud on a regular basis, are some of the ways that show your partner you truly care. The times may be tough but that doesn't mean you or your partner have to be. By actively pursuing each other, it helps affirm that you and your partner are on the same team, and are ready to conquer anything that comes your way.

3. Be Extra Reliable in the Small Things
Relationships are built on trust, without it they wither and die. Being extra reliable especially during tough times builds that trust -- your partner knows that they can count on you to keep your word, be there when you'll say you'll be, and do what you say you'll do. And it's in the small things where you will see this reliability bring in huge dividends. Even in tough times, your partner will feel safe and secure that you'll be the same day after day, no matter what happens. By keeping your promises, being consistent, and managing your expectations your relationship can ride the wave of any storm.

4. Break Out of the Norm
Between kids, careers and outside commitments, it can be difficult to stay connected to your partner. Yet there are good reasons to make the effort. To keep things interesting, some couples plan regular date nights. Even dates can get old, though, if you're always renting a movie or going to the same restaurant. Breaking out of the routine and trying new things -- whether that's going dancing, taking a class together, packing an afternoon picnic, or pulling out your old photo albums to reminisce, can help avert all of the negative energy that tough times may bring and get you and your partner back in the right frame of mind.

5. Keep Calm and Stay Patient Towards Your Partner
Patience is an excellent remedy for the tough times you will go through. You love your partner so don't choose the moments of crisis to come down on them. Don't let the stress and pressure of the situation sway you into losing perspective. Realize that if you are not careful, adversity can damage your relationship. Stay away from blaming, using criticism to make a point, lecturing, sarcasm and name calling. In other words, "no low blows." In times of difficulty, turn "to" your partner instead of "away from" them. Keep calm and stay patient. Everything becomes possible again when love and patience are present.