Studies show that having healthy relationships increases your mental and physical health. Plus, they reduce stress and make us feel happy!
Even though each relationship is different, whether it’s between you and a family member, a friend, or your significant other yet, they all have certain things in common that make them grow stronger over the years.
Read below our top 10 tips for maintaining a healthy relationship.
- Learn Good Communication Skills
Communication is at the core of any relationship. If both parties can communicate well, then the relationship has a chance to stand the test of time.
Yet, it’s worth mentioning that communicating isn’t just about knowing when to talk and what to say. It’s also about knowing when to sit there and listen.
The two fundamental rules of good communication are paying attention and maintaining eye contact. Through them, you’ll get to know one other and value what each of you has to offer.
- Set Up Realistic Expectations
Our imagination sometimes gets the better of us, and we expect the people in our lives to do things for us. Then, when they don’t, we get exasperated and disappointed.
But you can’t be expected to be mad at someone when they don’t even know what they did in the first place!
So, the first thing you have to do is talk and make things as straightforward as possible. Then, find some sort of common ground where each one tells the other what they expect from this relationship.
- Accept Change
Healthy relationships are constantly changing and evolving. This might not be easy for someone who dislikes change and prefers being in control.
Yet, the sign of a good relationship is to be flexible. Start by sharing your uneasiness about change, but at the same time, you have to have faith in the other person that they won’t put you in harm’s way.
That trust goes both ways. Just like you’re willing to accept changes in your life, they should also be willing to take it one step at a time and respect your reluctance to change too many things too quickly.
- Follow Through
Everyone wants to have someone in their lives they can depend on. And who better than the person they care about and love?
This means that you have to make a conscious decision to take on the responsibility of always being there. If you make plans, follow through. If they ask for your help, show up on time and be willing to do everything it takes to help them out.
Trustworthiness and honesty are two vital factors in every healthy relationship. Without them, your relationship won’t stand a chance.
- Fight Fair
Arguments and full-blown fights are bound to happen in any relationship. It simply means you disagree, not that you’ve stopped liking or respecting each other.
We talked to a few experts on the rules of fair fighting, and this is what they had to say:
- Take a few breaths before jumping back into the argument.
- Use ‘I’ statements that show how you feel without assigning blame
- Focus on the problem
- Avoid criticizing or judging the person
- Be accountable for your decisions and apologize if you’ve made a mistake
- Recognize that not every fight can be resolved in one sitting
- Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle
When you’re first starting out in a relationship, you want to do everything together, which is fine up to a point. But, after that, you have to find outside interests and hobbies.
You can’t be expected to like the same things. So, instead of looking at it as a bad thing and complaining, take it as an opportunity to get involved with other activities outside the scope of your relationship.
Then, at the end of the day, you can tell each other all about it.
- Be Authentic
Sometimes we tend to give in way too much for the people we love. If you do this once or twice, then this means you’re willing to compromise, which is a sign of a healthy, balanced relationship.
Yet, if you’re the only one doing all the compromising, then it’s no longer a relationship. Instead, it becomes more of a one-sided connection without much respect or value.
So, to build up and maintain a healthy relationship, you have to learn to say ‘no.’ You also have to be okay with showing your true self. Then, if the other person doesn’t like it, they can leave.
Remember that healthy relationships are made up of authentic people, not fictional characters.
- Express Your Emotions
Relationship experts recommend having an ‘emotional bank’ in your relationship. For every negative feeling or interaction, you have to put in five positive ones in return.
If you’re able to keep up this magic ratio, then, in all likelihood, your relationship will be stable. This also means you have to put in the effort and constantly work on making your relationship better and stronger.
Expressing your appreciation and offering positive feedback are all part of a healthy relationship. They help show the other person that you care for them and value their input.
- Make Time for One Another
Even in this busy day and age, it’s crucial that you make time for the people who matter most in your life. So, go on date nights, grab lunch, or just meet up for coffee.
Other fun things include trying something new or taking a class together. Find a common interest that both of you enjoy and make it your ‘thing.’
If the two of you are seriously invested in the relationship, you’ll find a way to make it work.
- Focus on the Positive
We’re all flawed, every last one of us so pointing a finger at your partner during a discussion or argument won’t do your relationship any good.
Instead, highlight the positives more often? Catch them doing something nice or being helpful and tell them how much you appreciate what they do and how much they mean to you.
At the end of the day, one of the cornerstones of any healthy relationship is respect. And having someone that you respect and care for doesn’t come by very often. So, don’t take it for granted!