Yes, I am divorced and had to learn it the hard way, because unlike schools, in life you are always given a test that teaches you a lesson.It takes work to make a relationship flourish. Most people have heard this and would agree. But, what does it really mean to work at a relationship?Hurt feelings, misunderstandings, grudges and anger can derail even loving relationships. When troubles arise, what type of work, exactly, is needed to keep love on track? Communication, humility, compromise and caring may not always be easy, but they are necessary to make sure both partners continue to feel loved, respected and valued in a relationship.Communicate. It may sound obvious to say that communication is important, but real communication is more difficult than it sounds. Remember that there are two sides to communication - speaking and listening. Speaking to make your point or say what you are feeling is relatively easy. Listening, on the other hand, is work. It is not easy to be quiet and hear what your partner is saying. Listen to the words and feelings that are being expressed. Have empathy and put yourself in your partner’s place to understand the emotion and reaction that you hear. While you are listening, do not become defensive or form counter-points in your mind. Do not just pass the time anticipating your turn to speak to explain why your partner is wrong. Instead, actively and lovingly listen. Consider what is being said and make an honest effort to understand.Swallow your pride and behave with humility. Sometimes, you are going to be wrong. You will not be perfect and will owe apologies. It isn’t always easy, but you must recognize these instances and own them. Admit your mistakes and express regrets with humbleness, from the heart. On the other hand, sometimes your partner will be wrong and will make mistakes. Do not gloat or explain repeatedly why you were right. Accept apologies with kindness and grace instead of with self-congratulatory satisfaction. There will also be disagreements where both partners are sure they are correct, and these situations are even more challenging. It takes strength and humility to let go of the need to win and find an answer out of love. Finding the balance between standing your ground and giving up a little (or a lot) takes work and thoughtfulness.Compromise. Decisions that couples make will seldom be ideal for both partners and compromise becomes necessary. Compromise does not mean that you agree to a solution and then hold a grudge for not getting all you wanted. Compromise means finding the best solution that both partners can accept and accepting it. The work in compromise is sincerely being satisfied even if your wishes were not completely fulfilled. It can be a challenge to learn this way of thinking, but it is necessary for loving compromise.Care about your significant other’s feelings and about what is important to your partner. You don’t have to share your partner’s’ enthusiasm for a new hobby. You may find the conversation they just had with a family member completely uninteresting. Sometimes, however, you must recognize those things that are truly important to your partner. Focus on how the subject makes your significant other feel and use that as motivation to share their emotion, if not their interest in the subject.–Above all, treat your significant other as you want to be treated. Remember that there are two people in your relationship and both of you have needs and wishes. It takes work and love to continue to be happy. Communication, compromise, humbleness and compassion ensure that your relationship will continue to be a loving, respectful one.