What makes for a healthy romantic relationship differs from couple to couple. Forming a trusting and positive partnership takes effort and time. And unfortunately, it doesn’t just happen overnight. For any relationship to grow strong and stay strong, you need to put in some work. Below are some habits that will help create and maintain a happy and healthy twosome.
Communication is key. It is one of the most important qualities a healthy relationship. However, not everyone knows how to communicate properly ... or even communicate at all. Happy and healthy couples have this game down. They vocalize their love for one another, saying “I love you” often and offering compliments. They also discuss the bad instead of sweeping issues under the rug. In order to move forward and grow, you two need to be able to truly talk about your feelings. No matter how awkward or uncomfortable it feels, it will make for a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.
Aretha Franklin sang a whole song about it, so you know it’s got to be important. Respecting your partner comes in many forms. Maintaining a joyful relationship means respecting your partner’s time, heart, character, and trust. However, there are many things people do in relationships that can break down respect, like name-calling, talking negatively about the other to friends or family, and/or threatening to leave the relationship.
Quality Time, Not Quantity
It’s all about quality over quantity. It doesn’t matter how much time you and your partner spend together. The most important part is about the quality of this time. There’s a huge difference between having dinner at a table while talking about your day at work, versus having dinner while sitting on a couch watching the latest episode of The Voice. It’s fine to zone out together and enjoy distractions, but it’s crucial to make sure you two are still engaging and spending quality time together to maintain a deep connection.
Spending time together with your partner is important. But just as important is spending time apart. Being able to do your own things and remain independent is vital. When couples spend too much time together, it can create an unhealthy codependence. Maintaining healthy boundaries and some autonomy will make for a long-lasting partnership.
Gary Chapman came up with the notion that men and women have five love languages. People have unique ways of feeling loved. There are words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch. It’s important to know which love language speaks to you, along with your partner. Telling each other what makes you feel loved and special helps both of you stay connected. Furthermore, make sure you are attending to your partner’s love language consistently.
Often, we forget to let other people in our lives know that we appreciate them. We think it, but we don't remember to show it. This occurs in our romantic relationships as well. Show your special someone that you love him or her. This could be done with words, cards, flowers, acts of kindness, or more. Remember, a flower a day keeps the fights at bay. Okay, maybe not every day, but you get the point.
Positive Vs. Negative
Sometimes, we get caught up in the negative. We hate our jobs, are annoyed with our friends, and our boyfriend or girlfriend is getting on our last nerve. Uh-oh, have we been drinking too much of that half-empty glass? It’s vital that we look at our partner’s positive qualities, in contrast to the negative. Nobody is perfect, and that includes our significant other. So instead of focusing on the bad, let's make a conscious effort to look at the good.
Choose Your Battles
There are arguments to be had in every relationship. It’s crucial to bring issues to the forefront, and work through the hard times together. However, I don’t think arguing over your SO using your favorite coffee cup should be one of those. Choose your battles wisely, because people in happy and healthy relationships do.
Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s also talk about how important it is in cultivating a flourishing relationship. Sex is simple. The more you have it, the more you want it. The other side of that is true as well. The less you have it, the less you want it — and, unfortunately, the less you'll feel connected to your partner. Keep your sex life alive and interesting. "Spicing it up" is not just meant for the kitchen.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Or even if it is, it might not be the kind of grass you would like. We often compare our lives to those of others — what jobs people have, their homes, their clothes. And with the help of social media, we tend to compare our relationships as well. But the happiest of couples don’t look to see what the grass looks like on the other side. They are happy with the view out their own front door.