Updated: Oct 17
Relationships thrive on love, understanding, and connection, however maintaining a strong and lasting relationship takes work and attention. Here are some things that can help you to build and maintain a healthy relationship - one that is built on the principles of commitment, effort, trust, dependability, and a deep caring.
The primary foundation for a resilient and affectionate relationship lies in the way you treat your partner. It starts with showing them the highest level of respect. This means cherishing your partner's time, emotions, character, and the trust they place in you. Respect serves as the cornerstone of a healthy and lasting connection, fostering mutual admiration and understanding between you and your partner. When both partners feel respected, it creates a safe and caring environment, and it is much easier to communicate openly and honestly.
Honest couples openly discuss their feelings, thoughts, needs, desires, and opinions on various topics. When both partners commit to openness and honesty, it facilitates communication and builds a solid foundation of trust and emotional safety.
It's inevitable that you will experience conflict, disagreements, and challenges within your relationship. To maintain strong and secure bonds, even when times are tough, effective communication is so important. This means listening to understand, keeping an open mind, showing empathy and respect, hearing each other's needs and feelings, considering each other's perspectives and experiences, and being willing to compromise and find solutions that are mutually acceptable.
People tend to compare their lives and relationships to those of others. Social media platforms have only added to this problem, leading to a lot of people feeling unhappy with where they're at. The happiest and most resilient couples avoid making these comparisons. They acknowledge that conflicts can arise, and their relationship may have ups and downs, but they prioritise improving their connection rather than daydreaming about others.
Take Time to Connect
Make it a habit to regularly chat with one another outside of daily routines and pleasantries. Set aside moments each day to have meaningful conversations. Check in on each other throughout the day; it doesn't require much time or effort to ask how they're doing or how their day is going, but it's a powerful way to show your partner that you care.
Appreciate and Admire
Showing appreciation and admiration is crucial in a long-term relationship. It's a free and simple way to strengthen your connection. Small gestures, kind words, and genuine interest can boost confidence and make your partner feel loved. It also helps them to recognise their self-worth.
Life is a complex puzzle with various pieces to fit together. We often have multiple distractions competing for our attention every day, and can become caught up in external factors, forgetting to be fully present when it counts. While certain life events demand our time and effort, it's crucial to practice being fully present with your partner.
Make an Effort
Your relationship won't flourish unless you actively nurture it. This means more than just showing up - it means putting in ongoing and consistent effort to help your connection thrive. Making an effort also means prioritising what's important to you both and living in alignment with your relationship values. For example, if family is the most important thing to you, then ensure it has a place in your daily schedule.
Many couples, especially those who live together, make the mistake of assuming that because they spend lots of time together, they are close and connected. However, not all time spent together is quality time, and just being together often doesn't automatically make your relationship stronger. What truly strengthens your relationship is how you spend your time together. To deepen your bond, engage in activities outside of your daily routines that allow you to truly connect.
It's also important to balance time spent together, with time spent apart. Spending time alone or with other people is healthy. Focusing on your own hobbies, interests, and goals outside of the relationship can help you to maintain your sense of self. This contributes to the overall health and happiness of both individuals in a relationship.
It's safe to say that cultivating intimacy can be a valuable habit to strengthen and maintain your relationship. When we talk about intimacy, our first thought is often sex and physical touch, but intimacy is much more than that. There are actually 6 types of intimacy, all of them equally important in forming connections that are deep, lasting, and healthy.
Although it's not a strict relationship rule (individual preferences vary), research suggests that engaging in physical touch can help couples bond. This is about more than just sex. Physical connection also involves showing affection - hugging, holding hands, caressing, kissing, massage, loving touch, and gazing into each other's eyes. Connecting on a deep physical level triggers the release of attachment hormones, which play a significant role in sustaining love and strengthening our emotional bond with one another.
Research has shown that couples who are able to laugh together are more likely to have a happy, long-lasting relationship, as laughter helps to strengthen bonds, and deepen intimacy and attraction. Letting loose, being playful, having fun, and embracing being childish and silly together are all wholesome aspects of your relationship. This playfulness also allows both of you to unwind and simply enjoy being yourselves.
A healthy relationship requires connection on a physical, emotional, and psychological level, while respecting the needs of each person. While these things are all proven to help establish and maintain a connection that lasts, it's also important to remember that every relationship is different. Finding and prioritising what's important to each of you is a sure way to relationship success.