These mountains are built grain by grain, not boulder by boulder. You can't just make something, or make up for something, in one shot. Yes, there are those milestone moments, but you built towards those. If you try to rush it, then it will be focused strictly on the now as opposed to how sustainable the progress would be. Basically, the harder you push it, the more you're doing it wrong.
So how do you do it? Just remember that everything is important. That's not a minimization of a very complex method or something, that's really all that there is to it. You're not in a relationship with someone because of those aforementioned milestone moments. You only reach those milestones by remembering even the most mundane and simple interaction, whether it's a text or a squeeze as you're passing by (careful, kids will catch you on that) or sitting down and watching the same show. It's not what you watch; it's that you're watching it together. DVR, live, or real life. She's with you because you two do those things well, because you're partners in crime, because of that reason that you just can't really put your finger on.
In life, you get married once (well, hopefully, and only if you want to in the first place). It's a year-plus of planning to spend thousands of dollars for four hours that you really won't remember. The wedding itself doesn't really mean anything. Get dressed up, put some metal on each other's fingers, and then put cake on each other's faces even though you promised that you wouldn't.
Your wedding day is a very special day, but it's all of those other days that matter the most. I mean, isn't it just basically promising to spend every day forward with each other? A very public (and did I mention expensive?) promise, but just a promise. A wedding is there to say that you'll spend the rest of your life with her or him. It's the starting gun to the marathon that is the rest of your lives together. Stop pushing yourself to get to the finish line faster, because you'll get your wish, you'll reach that finish line, and then you'll wish you hadn't because now it's over.
If you're beginning a relationship, be natural about it. Go into it just trying to get to know someone who is attractive to you. Nobody wants someone to run up to them in a bar and say, "Hey! I can't wait for us to get married! By the way, my name is Jason." Trust me, doesn't work, especially if your name isn't Jason. If you're forcing things, then that's exactly what you're going to come off as doing. Nobody likes that.
If you're going to do something special for her, which I definitely want you to do, then do it because you want to. Don't do it to impress, don't do it to compensate for a mistake, don't do it because you "have to." The worst thing that you can do is make someone feel like their happiness is your obligation and not your desire. You're there to share your burdens with each other, not make her or him feel like a burden.
Too often I see guys royally eff things up (sorry ladies, we're the champs when it comes to being idiots) and then try to make things special again. Don't do that. Sure, you can give her flowers or take her to dinner in order to apologize, but only if you mean it. If you don't mean it, then don't do it, because she'll know. And honestly, if you're not really sorry, then that's something to really think about. Don't just try to brush that under the rug like a broken Roomba that's only making things worse by trying to make things better.
When it comes to friendships, the same things apply minus the whole wedding thing. Don't start talking to someone with the intent of him being your new best friend; talk to someone because you can commiserate over a lost season (again) or because you want to know where she got that top. Just like before, could you imagine if someone ran up to you and said, "Hey! We're going to be best friends! Let's go do best friends stuff!" Yeah, that'd be creepy as hell and you'd never want to be in that friendship.
So don't push it. Let it flow (not to be confused with "Let It Go" which is now stuck in your head for the rest of the day, you're welcome) as it does. Remember that you can't force life, you can't force relationships, and you have to let it grow (again, not to be confused with "Let It Go") day by day, brick by brick, and grain by grain. If you do it this way, then you're on your way to whatever your relationship will naturally be. Does this mean that it's guaranteed to work? Nah, but it does guarantee that it ends up the way that will last, whatever that may be.
I spent a good while trying to think of a funny and insightful closing line, but nothing came to me, so this will have to do.