Photo credit: Studio Five Weddings
Like all relationships and especially romantic relationships, it requires work, commitment and willingness to change and compromise with your partner. Regardless of whether you are in the infant stages of your relationship or you have been together for years, there are always steps to build and maintain a healthy (or healthier) relationship. Everyone deserves to feel fulfilled and happy, so even if you have experienced lots of setbacks in relationships in the past, do not fret as you can always find fulfilment and enjoy lasting happiness in a relationship.
But First, What Is A Healthy Relationship?
We should recognise what encompasses a healthy relationship. No two relationships are the same and every relationship is unique. Sharing a common goal of what you exactly want in a relationship and where you want the relationship to go is part of what defines a healthy relationship.
There are also other characteristics that most healthy relationships have in common, including maintaining a meaningful connection (emotional & physical) with each other and expressing yourselves effectively, while keeping outside interests alive.
1. Focus On Each Other’s Strengths
It is not always easy to look past your partner’s minor annoyances. However, learning how to accept or manage them helps to set healthy and realistic expectations for the relationship. Understanding your partner’s strengths and weaknesses would allow you to navigate your relationship and how you may work things out between the both of you. For instance, if you are better with technology, do not get mad when your partner is not good with figuring out what’s wrong with the house Wi-Fi. Likewise, if your partner is better at cooking, they could manage meal planning instead. Of course, you could always teach and assist them in learning new skills, as we are all better at some things more than others. Using our strengths stimulates happiness and well-being, and when we help our partner to use their strengths on a daily basis, it promotes relational satisfaction.
2. Effective Communication
Tell your partner what you need, avoid making them guess. It is not always easy to talk about your needs. For some of us, we do not spend enough time thinking about what is really important to us in a relationship and that simple action will do wonders in a relationship. Providing comfort, understanding and a safe space to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden.
Another form of communication includes non-verbal cues and that is just as important. Non-verbal cues include eye contact, tone of voice, gestures, postures often mean much more than words. Being able to understand your partner’s non-verbal cues will help you understand what they feel and you are able to respond accordingly. Your partner’s responses may differ from yours and that is okay, so long as both of you understand each other and are able to respond accordingly.
3. Do Not Expect Your Partner To Complete You
Using the phrase “you complete me” is not exactly effective in reality. Completely relying on your partner to complete or fulfil you put a huge responsibility on their shoulders and it leads to over-dependency. Rather than completing one another, you should complement each other instead. We are always individuals first before being in a relationship, and we should nurture our own interest and desires instead of expecting your partner to fill up the void.
4. But Still Do Things Together. And Have Fun Together!
While it is necessary to not depend on each other fully, it is still essential to share experiences together as a couple to maintain a healthy relationship. Find something that both of you enjoy doing together, whether is it a shared hobby, gardening, daily walks or even having coffee together in the morning – finding a common ground will root you together. Also, try new things to keep the relationship interesting and fresh. It can be as extreme as trying a new sport or as simple as incorporating a new routine into your daily lives.
Couples are often more playful and fun in the early stages of the relationship. It is common that many may forget this phase of their lives as the relationship grows and more challenges come their way. Keeping things fresh, exciting and light-hearted could help the both of you to go through rough times with more ease and strengthens the bond.
5. Accept & Expect Change
As individuals, we are constantly growing and evolving into different versions of ourselves. It is just the same in relationships where both your needs are changing and the relationship revolves. Today you are not the same person when you got married and so is your partner. Your needs today may not be the same years from now.
It is crucial to be flexible with changes and adapt to them. Ultimately, you are a team and a team improves to meet the end goal, whatever it may be.
We hope that this article benefits you and there is a takeaway or two for you to learn from. Remember, do not give up and do not give in easily to emotions – think rationally before making any decisions. There was a reason why you fell in love, and you need to reignite the spark between you two.
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Putri Aisha Laily