A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best supports in your life. Good relationships improve all aspects of your life, strengthening your health, your mind, and your connections with others. However, if the relationship isn’t working, it can also be a tremendous drain. Relationships are an investment. The more you put in, the more you can get back. These tips can help keep a healthy relationship strong, or repair trust and love in a relationship on the rocks.
Everyone’s relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. But there are some things that good relationships have in common. Knowing the basic principles of healthy relationships helps keep them meaningful, fulfilling, and exciting in both happy times and sad:
- Staying involved with each other. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each other and working together. While it may seem stable on the surface, lack of involvement and communication increases distance. When you need to talk about something important, the connection and understanding may no longer be there.
- Getting through conflict. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation, or insisting on being right.
- Keeping outside relationships and interests alive. No one person can meet all of our needs, and expecting too much from someone can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on a relationship. Having friends and outside interests not only strengthens your social network, but brings new insights and stimulation to the relationship, too.
- Communicating. Honest, direct communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, trust and bonds are strengthened. Nonverbal cues—body language like eye contact, leaning forward or away, or touching someone’s arm—are critical to communication.
Relationships Advice Tip – Keep Physical Intimacy Alive
Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies on infants have shown the importance of regular, loving touch and holding on brain development. These benefits do not end in childhood. Life without physical contact with others is a lonely life indeed.
Studies have shown that affectionate touch actually boosts the body’s levels of oxytocin, a hormone that influences bonding and attachment. In a committed relationship between two adult partners, physical intercourse is often a cornerstone of the relationship. However, intercourse should not be the only method of physical intimacy in a relationship. Regular, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, or kissing—is equally important.
Be sensitive to what your partner likes. While touch is a key part of a healthy relationship, it’s important to take some time to find out what your partner really likes. Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want.
You probably have fond memories of when you were first dating your loved one. Everything may have seemed new and exciting. You may have spent hours just chatting together or coming up with new, exciting things to try. However, as time goes by, children, demanding jobs, long commutes, different hobbies and other obligations can make it hard to find time together. It’s critical for your relationship, though, to make time for yourselves. If you don’t have quality time, communication and understanding start to erode.