Knowing what things to never ignore if you want a healthy relationship is a key part of keeping your relationship in good health.
We so often see lists of all the things we need to do to keep our relationship happy but it’s rare to see one that talks about the things that we might not see, the things that might be happening in our relationship right now, things that we might be ignoring that are taking us down a dangerous path.
I know that, when I was married, there were plenty of signs that I ignored, plenty of small signals that were there, ones that, if I had noticed them, would have showed me how unhappy my relationship truly was.
To that end, I’m going to share with you now 5 things to never ignore if you want a healthy relationship. Knowing them will help you have a healthy relationship, one with staying power!
#1 – You have stopped talking to each other.
Think about it.
When was the last time your partner came home from work and you put down what you were doing and greeted them?
When was the last time you talked about something other than the children or work?
When was the last time you connected on any meaningful topic?
When was the last time you had pillow talk before you went to bed?
When was the last time you talked about an issue that really needed to be discussed instead of avoiding it?
Every healthy relationship ‘to do’ list talks about the importance of communication. And yes, it is so very important. But it’s important to not just discuss the ‘issues’ but also to talk about the good stuff. The stuff that makes you feel connected, that makes you feel interested in each other. The stuff that has always made you laugh together.
If you notice that you guys are no longer talking to each other, if your conversations consist purely of talk about the kids and/or fighting, then it’s definitely one of those things to never ignore if you want a healthy relationship.
#2 – You are kicking things down the road.
If there is one thing I regret more than anything else in my marriage, it’s that I, we, kicked things down the road, we put off dealing with things that should have been addressed immediately.
I think we both knew that there were issues in our marriage but both of us hoped that, if we were patient and if life eventually got less crazy, we would be able to work through them. Because we believed that to be true, we tended to ignore our issues and focus on life and the kids. Over time, our issues got bigger because we didn’t address them. And then, one day, they were just too big and our marriage ended.
You know when you have a work project or a homework project due and you work on it regularly so that you know you will be able to pass it in on time and get a good grade or positive feedback. You know what happens when you don’t do that – when you procrastinate and get it done at the last minute? How does that work out? Not so great, I would imagine.
That was my marriage. We started out eager to work hard to be happy but, as time went on and things got harder, we started procrastinating, assuming that we would one day be able to get our project in on time, successfully.
#3 – You are making decisions on your own.
I remember very well when my daughter came home from her second week of high school and announced that she wanted to go to boarding school. We had just moved to Boulder and she was at her first public school and she hated it. More than anything.
She went upstairs, did research on boarding schools, and within an hour, found two that she was interested in attending.
Without even talking to my husband, I reached out to both of those schools to see if they might have availability for a last-minute entrant. One of them did. I made an appointment to visit that school over the weekend with my daughter.
I did all of this without checking with my husband.
By the time he got home, I had created a narrative that I shared with him, one where it seemed like I asked him his opinion about what he thought about our daughter going to boarding school, but, really, I knew the decision had already been made.
What should have happened is that my daughter sat down with both of her parents and we could have all talked through what she wanted to do and made a decision together. If we had done that, I believe that my husband and I, because we were sharing the decision making, would have stayed closer to each other instead of being driven further apart.
Instead, I took over and made the decision, leaving my husband, I am sure, not feeling like a part of a team. But he didn’t say anything and I did the same thing over and over. And he did too.
Making decisions unilaterally is definitely one of those things to never ignore if you want a healthy relationship.
#4 – You aren’t making each other a priority.
I know, I know. Life is crazy. There are children, and careers, and parents, and exercise, and TikTok, and Instagram, and TV. But there is also your relationship and it is important to make sure that it is taken into consideration, always.
What if I asked you where on that list above you would put your relationship. Would you put it first? Third? Fifth? Choose one and take note.
Now, think about how that looks in real life. Do you treat your partner like they are first, third or fifth or are they usually (or always) at the end of your list? Or perhaps you MEAN to make them first, third or fifth and other things get in the way.
Try to think about your relationship like you do your job. You have to go to work every day and focus on the job so that you can get it done and get it done well. Can you have the same perspective in your relationships? Can you remember that it’s important to work on them every day, to get the job done well?
I would encourage you to make your relationship one of your top (if not your top) priorities and make sure that you stick to it.
You would be amazed at how many little hurts can be overcome if your person knows that you make them a priority every day and never put them last.
#5 – You have stopped touching each other.
When you were first together, did you and your partner regularly touch? Did you hug, put your arms around each other as you walked down the street, hold hands at the movies? Was touching a normal part of your day, one that felt as natural as could be?
Do you do that anymore?
For many people, the first thing that goes as couples become disconnected from each other is touching. It isn’t because couples no longer care, but it’s that they no longer have the inclination, or the time, to do so. And letting go of touch is letting of a big part of a romantic connection.
Touch is incredibly important in an intimate relationship. And not necessarily just sex – it’s important to hold hands, to hug, to pat someone’s butt as they walk by.
Touching your partner intimately sets that relationship apart from every other relationship in your life and being different makes that relationship special. If you continue to touch, if reaching for each other’s hand is still the norm and not the exception, then your relationship will have an excellent chance of staying healthy.
So, there you go – 5 things to never ignore if you want a healthy relationship.
Remember, there are many lists out there of things you should do to have a healthy relationship but it’s really important to know the things not to ignore NOW if you want to make sure that your relationship stays strong
If you have stopped communicating, if you aren’t dealing with issues in a timely manner, if you are making plans on your own, if you put your partner at the end of your list and if you stop touching each other, these things are all signs that a healthy relationship could be in jeopardy.
I encourage you to take action right now, to not ignore these things and to work WITH YOUR PARTNER to keep your relationship healthy. One person in a relationship can not do all the work to keep it healthy. It is a team effort so make sure that you share this list with your partner so that you can work together to keep your relationship and healthy and happy one!
You can do it!