Good for you for wanting to learn how to keep a healthy relationship healthy.
In spite of what we have been taught in fairy tales and movies, living happily ever after isn’t as easy as it looks. For a healthy relationship to stay healthy, it is important to do the work.
The work can be challenging at times but the results are worth it. We all just want to love and be loved and paying attention to the things that need to be paid attention to to keep a relationship healthy is key.
Here are 7 ways to keep a healthy relationship healthy.
#1 – Build a good foundation.
A good foundation is important for every structure and a relationship especially.
The habits that you develop at the beginning of your relationship will carry you forward. In fact, if there are things that you are hoping will change as your relationship progresses, forget it. We only become more of who we are the older we get.
What are important pieces of a good foundation?
On the most basic level, trust is essential for every relationship. If you can not trust your partner to be honest with you, to be there when you need them, to know that they will always look out for your best interests, then you may as well be alone. Because if you can’t trust your partner, who can you trust?
Another key piece of a good relationship is honesty. Have you ever lied to someone because you wanted to protect them? Have you said to yourself that a little white lie isn’t a big thing? Well you are wrong.
If you want to keep your healthy relationship healthy, tell the truth. Whether big or small, a lie can break down the foundation of even the best relationships.
So, set a good foundation for your relationship. It will be important that you do so going forward.
#2 – Be respectful.
Nothing is worse in a relationship than when respect is gone. When respect is gone, it is replaced by contempt and no relationship can survive when there is contempt.
If you spend time with any couple who has been together awhile you will know what I mean. One person’s habits have become too much for the other person and it is very clear.
My ex-husband used to often come home late from work. At first, I begged him to be home in time for dinner. He tried but most often failed. I got increasing frustrated and starting losing respect for him. I eventually stopped asking him and eventually started telling him that he was rendering himself irrelevant. That we didn’t need him home for dinner anyway.
How great did that make him feel? He is my ex-husband, you notice.
#3 – Have a healthy sex life.
Sex is an essential piece of any healthy relationship. It is important that every couple maintain a certain amount of intimacy to stay connected.
What is very important about monogamous people sex is that it works for both people in the relationship. If he wants to have sex 5 days a week and she doesn’t want to have sex more than once, a compromise must be made so that you can both be satisfied.
If no compromise is made, disaster can result. She might get resentful If she has sex with him more than she might like because she might she feel forced to do. If they only have sex once a week, he might get resentful that that is all he gets.
So, have a discussion with your partner. Make sure that both of you are happy with the amount and quality of the sex you share.
It could be the glue that holds you together.
#4 – Don’t give up yourself.
It is very important that both sides of a relationship are not completely reliant on the other for their happiness.
I have a client whose whole life revolves around her husband. She wakes up with him, makes him breakfast, gets him off to work, cleans the house after he is gone, brings him lunch at work, makes dinner for when he comes home and watches what he wants to watch every night.
She has turned her back on everyone in her life so that her husband can be happy. She tells herself that she is happy because he is happy but really, she isn’t.
That is why she is talking to me!
Make sure that when you are in a relationship you have lots of things in your life outside of your relationship. Make sure you have a job, or a hobby, that you love. Make sure that you have friends who you can play with. Make sure that you spend time by yourself so that you are comfortable being alone.
If you rely completely on your partner for your happiness, you will only be setting yourself up for failure. Going away and then coming together to share experiences is a key part of maintaining a healthy relationship.
So, call up some friends and make a date for dinner and the movies. Your partner will be fine and will be very happy to see you when you return.
Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder.
#5 – Make each other feel loved.
Did you know that while you might feel like the things that you are doing for your partner make them feel loved, those things might not actually be working?
Shocking, I know!
Expressing love seems straightforward, no? Well, not so much.
It seems that most of us express love in ways that WE want to be loved – as opposed to in ways our partner wants to be loved.
We might feel loved when we get a piece of jewelry as an expression of affection but our partner might feel loved by getting to spend a full day together, just the two of you. We might feel loved when we get a hug but our partner might feel loved if we take out the trash.
The key is learning what it is that your partner needs to feel loved. When you learn what that is and express your love using those actions, your partner will truly feel loved.
Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages created a whole movement around this concept of there being 5 languages of love, and thus 5 ways to express love to your partner. And when you use your partner’s love language they will FEEL loved.
Check out his website and online quiz here.
Learning as much as you can about how to keep a healthy relationship healthy is the key to being able to do so.
Of course, once you have the knowledge that you need it is important that you take action on it, action that only feeds your relationship health. Don’t want until things are bad before you take action. Do it now, while things are still good!
Create a good foundation, respect each other, make sure you have a mutually satisfying sex life, make sure you keep your own life and make each other feel loved.
If you can do these things, then your chance of having the happily ever after you have always sought will be within reach!
You can do it!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.