Gemma McCaw's advice on how to keep love alive

Happily married to Richie McCaw and with one-year-old daughter Charlotte in tow, Gemma shares her life hacks for a happy heart.

By Gemma McCaw
No matter what stage of life you're at, all relationships take work. And whether they end in tears or last forever can depend on many different things.
But there's no doubt that our own actions play a vital role. Maintaining a healthy relationship is a bit like tending a garden – you reap what you sow. The more love we put in, the more we get out.

See the value

Many relationships evolve and change over time, and some simply run their course. If a romance doesn't work out, try to avoid seeing it as a failure. Remember that we all learn as we go along, so try to let go and enjoy the journey.

Look in the mirror

The biggest thing you can do for your relationship is to take care of number one. If you abandon your own needs, you are not in a position to nourish your partner. Eat well, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep so that you're in the best possible space both emotionally and physically.

Give and take

Love is a lot more than just a feeling – it's a process of meeting each other's needs. When that exchange is mutually beneficial, then a relationship feels great. When it isn't, things can quickly turn sour. It's important to take care of each other and ensure your romance is not a one-way street.

Be kind

It's easy to snap at those closest to you, but a kind, gentle approach can change the whole course of a relationship. Instead of focusing on the things that irritate you about your other half, hone in on all their good points. Everyone likes to feel loved and appreciated. Research shows that criticism can kill a relationship, so instead of firing accusations like, "You always leave your clothes on the floor," frame it in a more gentle way: "I feel annoyed when I see a messy bedroom – would you mind putting your clothes away?"

Take a break

Remember that a happy relationship doesn't necessarily mean being in each other's pockets every minute of the day. Experts say that no matter how in love you are or how long you've been together, it's important to take breaks from your partnership. Hang out with friends, take up separate hobbies and head off on the occasional weekend trip away. Then when you do come back to your loved one, you'll both be recharged and stronger than ever.

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