Relationships are never easy to navigate, it takes a lot of compromise from both parties to build a happy healthy relationship.
This list of 10 rules for a healthy relationship is by no means exhaustive but is a good start to building a healthy romantic relationship with your partner.
Whether you have just started dating or are looking for ways to improve your long term relationship these rules should be taken into consideration.
1. Like Yourself
Do you surround yourself with friends you don’t like? Most people choose not to make friends with people they don’t like, so how can anyone like you if you don’t like yourself?! Learn to like yourself so you become someone others like to be around.
2. Choose Partners Wisely
It is easy to get carried away when someone new showers us with gifts or we can’t tell the difference between love and lust but are these good reasons to get into a long term relationship with someone? When choosing a new partner think carefully about them, how do they treat family and friends, would you choose that person to be a friend, are there any aspects of their character that trouble you, do you share values and goals. It is difficult to be so honest with yourself in the first rush of romance but if you are seriously thinking about investing yourself in a relationship with this person it is well worth taking time to explore.
Respect yourself and your partner. Have you ever seen a couple at a dinner party and one is constantly putting the other down in what is meant to be ‘funny’ stories? Or one partner is flirting with everyone in the room and ignoring their partner? This shows lack of respect either for your partner, yourself or both. Respect is essential to a good relationship but must be from both partners.
Think of yourselves as a team, you will spend years working, living and loving together. Learn to support each other and use your respective strengths and weaknesses to the advantage of your relationship. All relationships have good and bad times and it is particularly important to stay close and work as a team through the bad times, when you get to the good times again you will be amazed how strong your relationship has become.
5. Maintain Intimacy
Without intimacy relationships drift apart over time and couples can feel bored with each other. Make time to maintain your relationships intimacy. That doesn’t just mean sexual desires, pillow talk is an intimate practice as is a good snuggle on the sofa. Little touches and kisses as you both go about your day help to maintain intimacy.
6. Express Yourself
You may think you are sending signals that will leave your partner in no doubt what you want or need but they are not a mind reader. Whether you are upset about something, need more affection or simply want the couch recovered, you have to let them know verbally. In the long run you will save yourself a lot of hurt feelings because your partner was unable to “guess” what you wanted or needed and it will make them happy because they feel able to give you what you want or need in your relationship. Also if your partner is doing something you don’t like then tell them, don’t just hint and hope they get the message and stop.
7. Learn To Listen
Whether your partner wants to tell you a deep dark secret or just waffle about their day, learn to really listen to them. There is often no need to give an opinion or offer advise, just having someone that really listens to you can strengthen a relationship. When your partner speaks to you try to stop what you are doing and look at them.
8. You Are Not Always Right
Learn the rules for arguing in a relationship and don’t allow hurt feelings to turn into resentment. It is natural to think your point of view is the right one and it is hard to learn that sometimes either you are not right or there simply isn’t a right, just different points of view. Also learn what it is worth arguing about, the toothpaste tube is NOT worth a prologed fight and not speaking for a week!!
9. Say Sorry
Don’t allow pride to stand in your way, if you realise you were wrong about something then say sorry. All relationships have arguments but to have a happy relationship you must be willing to kiss and make up. Consider the importance of the argument, if it was about the toothpaste tube and you feel you were right what is the problem with apologising anyway just to finish the fight and get to the kissing part?!
10. Be Spontanious
This doesn’t mean you have to whisk them off to Paris or go bungie jumping but routine can become boring. If you know your partner will cook spag bol every Wednesday night or always washes the car at 10am Sunday morning then life becomes monotonous and it’s easy for one or both partners to look outside the relationship for a little excitement. Alter your routine sometimes, wake up on Sunday morning and decide to go to a flea market or walk in the park with bare feet. Do small unexpected things to surprise your partner and keep them interested in you as a person.