10 Healthy Habits for Relationships
By Bibi Lauri Raven
How can we create a healthy relationship? There’s more to a relationship than just passion. Everyone is different, and your relationship should reflect the two of you as a couple. But that doesn’t mean you can apply some general tips and tricks to create a long-lasting bond.
Check out this list for ten habits to grow a healthy relationship, whether you’ve just started dating, or you're taking the plunge and starting a life together.
1. Accept Each Other As-Is
To get the most out of your relationship, let go of your preconceived notions of exactly what a relationship should be. That sounds a bit counterproductive. But no one is perfect, and no relationship will be perfect either. Instead of focusing on attraction, and passion, think about what you want as a couple, and as individuals. Resist the temptation to "work on" your partner, and mold the relationship your way. Nobody likes a fixer-upper, and nobody wants to be one!
2. Communication is Key
Instead of working on your partner, work with them. Communication is a huge part of any healthy relationship. Relationships are a two-way street, so learn each other’s communication styles, and work through problems together. The more your partner understands that you’re a team, the better your relationship will be.
3. Make Room for Privacy and Trust in Your Relationship
Though communication is a vital part of any relationship, and you want to be able to share intimate moments, the last thing you want is to be too clingy, or too smothering. Unless this is a first serious relationship for both of you, you’ll both have a past, and you both had a life before the other one entered into it. Cutting ourselves off from friends or other relationships can be toxic for yours. It can lead to jealous and possessive behavior, and even create co-dependency in a relationship. No one wants that. Give each other breathing space for other interests and other people in your lives.
4. Find a Common Hobby
Along with making space for interests outside the relationship, having a few shared interests can really keep the passion alive in a relationship. A shared hobby, or a class you’re learning together, not only encourages you to spend time together in a world of your own, but it also means growing together, both individually and as a couple. Any chance of growth is going to strengthen your memories together, and your relationship. It also gets you in the habit of boosting each other up and encouraging each other toward growth. All things that speak well for your growing relationship.
5. Learn How to Praise and Criticize Each Other
Being a partner means being a good friend. Good friends are all about pushing you to go further and work harder. They lift you up when you need to feel good about yourself, and warn you when you’re about to make a huge mistake. To create a relationship you can feel good about, you’ll both want to learn how to support each other, while still being open, honest, and pushing each other toward bigger and better things.
6. Be Good to Your Partner’s Family
We’ve already talked about the dangers of isolating a relationship. Family is important in many people’s lives. It’s also often how we learn to model relationships. If you’re in a serious relationship, you should be treating your partner’s family as if they were as important to you as your own family. It’s a great way to get to see more sides of them too!
Go and talk to your girlfriend’s grandma, about the days she took care of her when she was little. Build a relationship with your husband’s father, and learn the ways they were similar and different. You’d be surprised what you can learn, and how much it will strengthen the relationship between the two of you.
7. Support Their Career
Sometimes, the most ambitious and passionate people have a hard time finding acceptance. Becoming his or her biggest fan is an important part of a long-term relationship. Making sure you’re both on the same page, when it comes to goals and the future is one part of that.
Whether your partner’s dreams are to build a better world, create a business from scratch, or follow their dreams to dance on Broadway, they deserve to have someone in their life who believes in them. Talk about the future, and where you both see yourselves throughout your relationship, and make sure your partner knows how much you believe in them, no matter the setbacks.
8. Never Start a “Cold War”
Couples fight. Even those who have been together for a long time have had big fights. Sometimes, these feel like the signal to call it quits. Instead, find a way to ‘fight’ that still involves communication. Everyone struggles with apologizing sometimes. Find ways to ensure that you don’t go to bed mad, or rely on simply ignoring the problem until it goes away. It never works that way. Take the opportunities to move on and grow stronger.
9. Have Friends of Your Own
A long-lasting relationship involves a strong bond. But we’ve already discussed the dangers of leaning too hard on one relationship. Make space to spend time apart in other relationships, with friends or family. If nothing else, it allows you to vent about all those little annoyances so they don’t fester and become resentments.
10. Keep the Passion Alive With Surprises
Long-term relationships can sometimes lead to boredom. Often, this can lead to individuals feeling incomplete in their relationships. When you start to feel a lack of excitement and passion, make a change! Prepare a romantic dinner. Get out together to a favorite place with some great memories for you as a couple. Put a unique twist on a traditional anniversary gift, or go on an adventure and knock something off your bucket list together Find ways to put the passion and excitement back in your relationship, to stop it becoming too stale and predictable.
New relationships are exciting and full of passion. But to turn that spark into something long term takes work. Strengthening your relationship doesn’t need to feel like a chore. But learning how to communicate and what is important to each other, while still keeping the spark alive with little surprises, and lots of support can make huge strides toward building a lasting relationship.