What makes a healthy relationship?
Every relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is sharing a common goal for exactly what you want the relationship to be and where you want it to go.
Knowing these basic principles can help keep your relationship meaningful, fulfilling and exciting whatever goals you’re working towards or challenges you’re facing together.
The following tips can help you to preserve that falling in love experience and keep your romantic relationship healthy.
Maintaining a meaningful emotional connection with each other.
You each make the other feel loved and emotionally fulfilled. There’s a difference between being loved and feeling loved.
When you feel loved, it makes you feel accepted and valued by your partner, like someone truly gets you.
Good communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people know what they want from the relationship and feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, it can increase trust and strengthen the bond between you.
Falling in love vs. staying in love
For most people, falling in love usually seems to just happen. It’s staying in love—or preserving that “falling in love” experience—that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort. A healthy, secure romantic relationship can serve as an ongoing source of support and happiness in your life, through good times and bad.
Spend quality time face to face
You fall in love looking at and listening to each other. If you continue to look and listen in the same attentive ways, you can sustain the falling in love experience over the long term.
Stay connected through communication
Good communication is a fundamental part of a healthy relationship.
When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of change or stress can really bring out the disconnect. It may sound simplistic, but as long as you are communicating, you can usually work through whatever problems you’re facing.
Tell your partner what you need, don’t make them guess.
It’s not always easy to talk about what you need. For one, many of us don’t spend enough time thinking about what’s really important to us in a relationship. And even if you do know what you need, talking about it can make you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even ashamed. But look at it from your partner’s point of view. Providing comfort and understanding to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden.
Be a good listener
While a great deal of emphasis in our society is put on talking, if you can learn to listen in a way that makes another person feel valued and understood, you can build a deeper, stronger connection between you.
There’s a big difference between listening in this way and simply hearing. When you really listen—when you’re engaged with what’s being said—you’ll hear the subtle intonations in your partner’s voice that tells you how they’re really feeling and the emotions they’re trying to communicate.
Keep physical intimacy alive
Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. While sex is often a cornerstone of a committed relationship, it shouldn’t be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, kissing—is equally important.
Be willing to forgive.
Resolving conflict is impossible if you’re unwilling or unable to forgive others.
If tempers flare, take a break. Take a few minutes to relieve stress and calm down before you say or do something you’ll regret. Always remember that you’re arguing with the person you love.
Be open to change.
Change is inevitable in life, and it will happen whether you go with it or fight it. Flexibility is essential to adapt to the change that is always taking place in any relationship, and it allows you to grow together through both the good times and the bad.
Respect your partner’s privacy.
Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to spend every moment together or share everything.
Respect your partner’s need for privacy and space. If jealousy comes up, remind yourself that jealousy is something you feel that may not be directly related to your partner’s actions.
Don’t demand your partner’s passwords to social media accounts or email. Respect your partner’s privacy and be willing to trust your partner.
It’s not healthy for you or your partner to constantly monitor each other’s behaviors. This can be rooted in jealousy or control, which are not healthy components to bring into a relationship.
Give each other space.
No one person can fulfill everything and every role for another person. Let your partner have time with friends and family and engage in hobbies. It’s important for each person to have their own friends and activities that are enjoyed on their own. While you may want to spend every moment together during the beginning of the relationship, respect each other enough to spend time apart and know that time spent apart doesn’t mean anything negative for the relationship. Support your partner in maintaining friendships.
Spend quality time together.
Find activities that you can do together regularly. It can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee together each morning or reading together at night.
Trying something new together can be a fun and exciting way to spend time together. You don’t have to do anything crazy — even going out to dinner at a new restaurant or trying a new cuisine can be a fun experience.
Appreciate each other.
A healthy relationship should be one in which you and your partner feel appreciated. Often, relationships are built from many small things added one on top of the other. Find the things your partner does for you and say “thank you.” Instead of focusing on mistakes your partner makes, focus on the ways your partner adds to your life. When you notice something, speak out and show your appreciation.
Ask your partner how they like to feel appreciated. Write a note or a card, or make an effort to say “thank you” often.