Are you searching the most important tips for growing a healthy, loving relationship? then I will say in a relationship you need few required work; however, it doesn’t have to be hard! Anyone who tries to tell you differently is living in a fantasy land.
Unfortunately, many of us have been brainwashed by a culture that promotes relationship fairytales which are at their best misleading and at their worst downright damaging.
Living with another human being does require patience, energy and compromise regardless of whether it is your lover or your flatmate. However, the rewards that come from a long-term happy relationship far outweigh the sacrifices and include:
- affection and intimacy
- improved mental health
- fewer medical problems
- shared goals
- higher satisfaction and meaning in life
- longevity of lifespan
What follows is a brief outline of five simple strategies for growing a healthy, loving relationship. Many of us intellectually know that these ways of relating are important and yet we fail to put them into practice. Your relationship is your most valuable asset; please start treating it as such.
Yes, your relationship with your lover comes first. Lover is the only person you can count on to be by your side until the end. Your parents will become old and pass on as well friends will come and go. Children will grow up and leave home to begin their own lives.
Your job will disappear and your work colleagues along with it. But your partner is the only person who will accompany you on the journey of life, together you can make an unbeatable team.
We live in a society that overvalues independence and sees anything else as undesirable or even a weakness. This too is a fantasy. Neuroscience tells us that your brain actually requires connection with another to thrive and survive.
Interdependence is a healthier state to value: prioritize time spent with your partner and balance this with your own interests, hobbies, and social networks.
My grandmother always said “never let the sun go down on an argument” and she was right! People argue. This is a fact. Why? Because every single one of us has been raised in a unique environment.
Your childhood experience was different even from that of your siblings simply because you were born into a different family dynamic: you are either the eldest, the youngest, or the in-between. Our differences are what attract us to others and also at times repel us.
However long a disagreement lasts is always up to you. My guide is that you at least attempt to repair the disconnection caused by an argument by bedtime.
An even better goal is to aim to repair any damage immediately following a disagreement if not throughout the conflict. How? Come up with a plan together for how to repair. Ask each other what works, what would you need to feel soothed? What would your lover need?
Some people respond well to a gentle touch or a hug, others warm to humor, still others need some space to cool down. When your brain is operating from its emotional center you are unable to think clearly and will say hurtful things. Timeout will help provided you always communicate with each other about when you will return.
Tell your lover that you care about them every day. Too often in my practice, I hear partners say something like “oh but she knows I love her”. I am yet to meet a human being who has mastered that magical ability of mind reading.
Make it a habit to identify one quality about your partner that you admire and tell them about it daily. It might be better if you welcome him/her by name calling.
Actually, this is a terrific ritual to pass down to your children. Make it a point each day to give them the gift of acknowledging a personal quality in them that you admire. This activity also benefits you in the sense that you are training your mind to focus on the good in others rather than the bad. Try it!
Yes, I know this is an obvious one, however, I guarantee that unless you have had specific training in communication you probably don’t do it all that well. Create a ritual with your lover whereby you sit down with each other for at least 20 minutes each day and share your stressors together: who’s irritating you at work, what’s got you fit to be tied and hopping mad today. Make eye contact and use reflective listening.
If done regularly (yes I mean daily!) this simple practice of ‘touching base’ has been proven to provide each of you with a buffer against stress while at the same time keeping you connected. Share your thoughts. Once again, your lover does not have magical powers and cannot read your mind.
It is probably the most important skill. Unfortunately, our brains are wired in such a way that we are often reactive rather than responsive. You are wired to act on past information, past memories, rather than what is actually happening in the present moment. Your mind automatically looks for reasons and stories to explain events that cause you to feel wounded.
For many of us, our mind also looks for a perpetrator, someone else to blame. This is extremely unfortunate as it means that you become a victim, powerless, as you cannot change another person’s behavior, only your own. When you constantly focus on what the other person is doing wrong you lose the ability to look at what you might be able to do differently. Choose to be the hero in your relationship!
These are brief self-help tips and may not apply to the circumstances of your relationship, particularly if there are behaviors such as violence, affairs, or addictions taking place. If this is the case you would benefit from discussing your situation with a qualified, experienced psychologist. You may like “How to overcome jealousy in relationships and get positive yourself”