Compatibility is Only the Beginning
A healthy relationship is one in which both partners want and put effort toward a long-lasting connection. Regardless of your interests, background or past relationships, the biggest factor in relationship health and longevity is how much each partner is willing to work to protect and nurture the relationship. There are guidelines that have been proven to be effective in maintaining a healthy dynamic between partners. The strategies below can help you and your partner make sure that your relationship is strong, safe, and stable.
5 Keys to a Healthy Relationship
- Create Moments of Connection: Pay attention to your partner in public, at events, and at home. When you catch your partner’s glance from across the room, this is connection. If your partner reaches out to you, that moment of physical touch is a connection. Noticing and reciprocating emotional cues of connection is one way to foster a deeper, happier relationship, but sometimes we miss the small opportunities to tune in. Focus on these small moments in your relationship and notice how gratitude and affection builds.
- Eliminate the Four Horsemen from your relationship: The renowned research of Dr. John Gottman illustrates that The Four Horseman are significant predictors to the end of a relationship, and things that should be eliminated from your interactions with your loved one wherever possible. They are: Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling. If you can identify and eliminate these behaviors and replace them with healthy and respectful behaviors, you are on the road to a healthy relationship. However, the more these qualities persist and replace positive interactions, the less likely the relationship will be successful.
- Understand that all relationships have conflict: Productively managing conflict is the key to maintaining healthy communication in your relationship. Compromise, agreeing to have differences of opinion but being respectful of that fact, and learning when to let your emotions cool off are three great starts to conflict management. The presence of conflict does not mean that a relationship is unhealthy. How we respond to that conflict is what makes or breaks a connection. Additionally, much of the conflict the recurs in relationships is not “solvable” in the traditional sense of the word, making conflict management strategies an even more important for long-lasting love.
- Never stop dating: No matter how new your relationship, intentional time with your partner has proven benefits. If you set aside time to date your partner, and truly put in effort to make quality time a priority, your partnership will thrive. If you set dating aside and focus all your energy on kids, chores, work, etc., your connection will suffer. You must nurture a long-term partnership like you would a relationship with a new love interest. While this may look different over time, scheduling opportunities for connection is key.
- Honor each other’s interests: When we have goals and dreams outside of our relationships, we feel a stronger sense of self-confidence that can benefit the partnership. Ask questions, be supportive, and express interest in your partner’s passions. Whether they want to learn a new language, enjoy fitness, or dream about starting their own business, engaging with them around the things they care about is important. That does not mean sacrificing your own goals, doing things you don’t want to do, or throwing all caution to the wind. Rather, the mutual focus should be on nurturing goals, helping each other find ways to reach them, and honoring the activities your partner enjoys (even if you don’t participate in them). This will show that you believe in your partner and care about what they care about, which goes a long way in fostering love and trust in one another.
Are you interested in starting on the path to a healthier partnership? Share these science-backed strategies with your partner or spouse, and identify ways that you can build a stronger, safer, and more fulfilling bond.
Know When to Seek Help
Your relationship with your loved one may be strong in all the right areas, but addiction or mental health struggles may rock that solid foundation to the core. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, depression, or anxiety, you may need outside help from supportive professionals. At Therapeutic Solutions, we have the tools and the experienced Chico mental health professionals needed to help you achieve wellness. Additionally, we offer a couples or family session during treatment to explore We can provide you with the stability that will allow you to get back to loving life and engaging in relationships wholeheartedly.
Contact our team at (530) 899-3150.