A happy and healthy relationship needs more than chocolates, flowers and candlelit dinners for two. There are times when relationships have to work through challenges of life events or disagreements, but these can all be managed successfully by committed couples who are willing to work on their communication and who can compromise in any given situation.
Here are three tips for a happy and healthy relationship whether you are celebrating several years of marriage or at the start of a new relationship:
Good communication ensures that you feel appreciated and wanted. Listening is considered by some to be twice as important as talking since we have two ears and one mouth. If you find yourself assuming too much about your partner, consider a course in active listening. Communication is also non-verbal and facial expressions and other actions can say much more than any words. The tone of communication is equally important, with silent treatment, aggression or foul language all considered to be red flags in any relationship.
You need the right environment to allow for healthy communication. This means making time to be together to share common interests, whether that be going for a walk or cooking together. When celebrating your anniversary, make sure you mark this in a special way such as with a precious gift or a beautiful experience Plan regularly scheduled date nights or shared activities so that you do not let time together slide away under all your other responsibilities.
Having differences is a normal part of any relationship. Two people are bringing their habits, beliefs, experiences and behaviours with them. For a happy and healthy relationship, each must show respect for the other at all times. If criticism and put-downs become part of a relationship, this should be acted on as a red flag. Everyone should have the right to express their opinion whilst accepting difference and be open to compromise, even if that is to agree to disagree on a particular issue. Compromise ensures that both of you feel respected in the relationship, without one feeling resentful for being put down.
Being aware of your own issues and how you discuss them is important. There are times when we all do something that frustrates, upsets or even hurts our partner. This may be a misunderstanding or something deliberate, but we must learn forgiveness. If you are the one who has erred, apologise as soon as possible and do what you can to fix the problem.
A happy and healthy relationship is when you are both committed to putting each other and your relationship first, above even your children, parents or other family members. Commitment requires both generosity and sacrifice, but the true joy and fulfilment it brings are worth it. Knowing that both of you are committed to meeting challenges and growing together makes you fearless, whilst also building trust and intimacy.
Before this is possible, it is important that we each understand ourselves and what makes us tick. This can help you to learn more about your partner and as everything changes as we grow, we can find out more about each other, which can create an unbreakable bond over a lifetime. Keep a positive outlook on your relationship and remember the qualities that you fell in love with. Your views may have changed, you may think him cheap when initially you admired his ability to save money. Give each other the benefit of the doubt and keep a list in your wallet of all the things you love about your partner.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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