Editor’s note: The following article is written by a Skinny Mom Resident Mom. The Resident Mom program gives a voice to our readers, allowing moms across the world to contribute content to Skinny Mom. If you’re interested in becoming a Resident Mom, click here to apply.

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To build the deepest bond with the one you love, you must have one thing: communication. Establishing an effective way to communicate your wants, needs, likes and dislikes without being considered loud or mean is essential to growing old with someone. I’m the kind of woman who says what’s on her mind, though I understand that some people aren’t like that or don’t feel as natural discussing their feelings. But at some point, speaking your mind to get what you want is necessary to reach the fullest potential in your relationships.

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It’s okay to want different things than your 20-year-old self and it’s okay talk about it to the person with whom you share your life. The same goes for your partner; you want your spouse to grow and evolve, too. The quickest way to grow apart is to stop sharing and communicating with each other. It should be a main goal to understand your spouse. (Notice that I didn’t say agree, I said understand.) Giving your spouse the freedom to go through natural stages of life without being judged is so special. Understanding them just means that you can see where they’re coming from and that you support them. The inner peace that comes from knowing your spouse understands you, supports you and looks forward to experiencing the future with you no matter how you evolve is the ultimate gold star in the love department.

With that, here are my five tips for keeping the lines of communication in your relationship open and growing your bond.

Get on the same spiritual page. Are you religious? Spiritual? Both? Not sure? Find out! This I can’t stress enough. Give your relationship something to fall back on. Realize where your faith lies and get aligned together.

Talk about your day together, every day. It doesn’t take long to catch each other up on what’s happening in each other’s lives. It is essential time spent together and can keep little things (frustrations) from building into big things. Also, it gives you time to share the triumphs from the day; so much happens, don’t get caught not knowing who you live with.

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Dream together. Take the time to think about what the future holds. Not just next month, but next year, in two years, in five years, in ten and at retirement. Once you dream together, you can create a visual picture in your mind of what the future looks like. When you start with your ultimate dreams in thought, they turn out to be your reality down the line.

Talk about what you love about your relationship, your memories of each other and how you met. Being reminded of how and why you got together in the first place are great reminders for you and great examples for your kids.

Be in your moments together. Realize that you were picked for one another for a reason. Your paths crossed not out of coincidence but because you were meant for each other. Understand that where you are right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be, so be there, in every moment. Breath and feel the blessings of love that surrounds you, pay attention to the little things, enjoy them, take mental notes of what you love, affirm what you love and act out of love. In those conditions, all relationships will strengthen and flourish.