Everyone wants a healthy relationship, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. There are lots of things you can be doing to foster your relationship and ensure that you and your significant other have a partnership that lasts a lifetime.
Of course, there will be times when you don’t get along and have arguments, but by using the following advice, straight from the experts, you can be happy despite the issues that might arise along the way. If these tactics don’t work and you still want to stay in the relationship, consider seeking out couple’s therapy, which can give you additional tools to help you and your partner. In the meantime, here are some tried and tested techniques to try.
1. Show An Interest In One Another
Just because you are a couple doesn’t mean you like all the same things. You’ll have some things in common and other things that you’ll have your own interest in. However, healthy relationships involve showing an interest in each other’s passions and hobbies. If your partner enjoys wine tastings and art galleries, but you prefer barbecues in the backyard and movie marathons, you’ll have to meet in the middle. Even if you don’t do everything together, you can take an interest in what the other person loves and ask questions and attempt to participate once in a while. Even if some of your partner’s interests are boring to you, showing that you care is an important part of fostering a healthy partnership.
2. Respect Is Vital
Even if you don’t respect every behavior or decision your other half does or makes, you still have to have respect for him or her as an individual. Even when you’re upset with one another, this means not talking negatively about the other person in public. It’s important to work out differences while still viewing each other in a positive way. There are always things you’ll find out about your partner that will upset you and vice versa, but the healthiest relationships don’t let this get in the way of the respect that you each deserve.
3. Positive Versus Negative
A healthy relationship is one in which both parties see mistakes as honest and good qualities as part of who they are. Instead of thinking your partner made a mistake because they are dumb or don’t care about you, you will see that situation as what it is, which is probably just a mistake, rather than being out to get you or to sabotage the partnership. Think about how you would like to be treated if you mess up. That’s how you and your partner should be treating each other, mistake or not. At the same time, you should always be seeking out the positive in the other person.
4. Meet Each Other’s Needs
In a partnership, you both have basic needs, and you should always be working to meet your partner’s needs. For most couples, this involves spending an adequate amount of time together, showing each other affection, sexual and otherwise, and following through on promises. This can be done in a multitude of ways, including making time to go on dates or spend time together, holding hands, kissing, doing a chore as promised and much more. When each of you feels that your basic relationship needs are being met, you are much more likely to foster a healthy partnership that can stand the test of time.
5. Solve Problems Together
When a problem arises, as it most likely will, couples in a positive relationship work together to solve the issue instead of expecting just one person to figure it out. For example, a healthy couple will solve the problem of childcare together, with each person arranging their schedule so that the task is taken care of in a way that is satisfactory for everyone. Perhaps there is a plumbing problem and one person will need to stay home from work to be there with the plumber. By working together to solve these daily issues, you’ll both feel satisfied in your relationship, and problems will be taken care of as needed.
6. Fixing Relationship Issues
Of course, your relationship is going to go through rough patches; most do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have a positive relationship. The trick is learning to recognize and fix the issues as they occur instead of letting them fester, making things worse. When you hurt each other or upset the other person, it’s important to see that the other person is feeling that way, and then take action to repair the rift as soon as possible. Letting things go builds resentment, which can ruin partnerships. You won’t be able to avoid ever hurting your partner, but you can definitely repair the pain and keep your relationship one of the healthiest around.
7. Argue The Right Way
A healthy relationship will have its share of arguments and disagreements, but it will fight fair. That means you have it out without saying hurtful things or threatening to end things. Instead, you talk through the problem, let each other know how you’re feeling, apologize and come to a mutually agreeable solution for solving the fight and moving on. Most experts agree that using “I” statements in this case is effective and keeps blame from being hurled back and forth, which can cause irreparable damage to a partnership and keep you from ever solving the issue that caused the initial fight.
8. There Is Equality
Nothing is going to be exactly fair, but if both partners feel that the other is doing their fair share, the relationship will stay healthy. Even if you don’t both do the same amount of work, you should feel that things are divided fairly and that you are each getting the help you need and deserve. The division of labor will change with time, so don’t be afraid to talk it out if things start to feel uneven. At the same time, each partner should be getting equal affection and meeting of needs. No person should feel like they are putting in all the work in the relationship while the other person isn’t helping at all.
A relationship is hard work, but it doesn’t have to feel like it. When you are partnered with a person you value and love, it shouldn’t feel like work to be affectionate or do things to help the other out. Of course, you should never feel forced, and a healthy relationship is never abusive or manipulative. Each partner reserves the right to say, “No” at times without having to feel guilty or unloved. With the rising divorce rates across the world, it can feel as if a healthy relationship is impossible, but it can definitely be done and you’ll be so glad you put in all the work required to create a healthy partnership with the person you love.