We all want to be in healthy relationships, but most of us have never been taught what it entails. Here are my top advice for having a good, healthy relationship as a therapist with over a decade of experience dealing with couples. The key is to be proactive and communicative. Do the same things you did throughout your first year of dating;
We tend to slink into our metaphoric sweatpants and get lethargic in our relationships as the months and years pass. We lose tolerance, tenderness, thinking, understanding, and the general effort we put into our relationship with our partner. Write down all the things you used to do for your lover during the first year of your relationship. Start doing them all over again.
1. Ask for what you want
Over time, we get to believe that our spouse knows everything there is to know about us and that we don’t need to ask. When we make this assumption, what happens? Expectations are created, and they are rapidly shattered. Unmet expectations can make us doubt the strength of our relationship and connection. Know that “asking for what you want” covers a wide range of desires, from emotional to sexual.
2. Learn everything there is to know about your partner
Consider who your partner is and what physically and emotionally stimulates them. Instead of tuned in to what they genuinely want, we can become absorbed by what we assume they want. Remember that something doesn’t have to make sense to you if it’s significant to your partner.
3. Make checking in with each other a weekly ritual
It might be brief or long, but it always starts with asking each other what went well and what didn’t last week, as well as what might be done to better things this week. Use this time to get on the same page with your schedules, arrange a date night, and discuss what you want to see happen in your relationship in the next days, weeks, and months. Unmet wants and resentments can arise if a temperature check is not done regularly.
4. Maintain the sexiness
What would your relationship look like if you and your spouse both committed to growing the behaviors you find hot and minimizing the ones you don’t? Consider this in its fullest sense. “Sexy” can allude to bedroom preferences, but it may also allude to what we like about our partner in our daily life.
Do you think it’s sexy if they assist you with housework? Do you think it’s “unattractive” when they use the restroom with the door ajar?
Get it on: Unless you’re in an asexual relationship, sex and touch (kissing, holding hands, snuggling, and so on) are essential elements of a love relationship. Of course, the amount of sex a couple has is entirely up to them.
Therefore you must talk about it so that any desire discrepancies can be addressed. Both partners are rarely “in the mood” simultaneously, but most people “get there” after a few minutes, even if they weren’t initially.
5. Every day, take a (mental) vacation
Distractions from life and work often take precedence in our thinking, leaving little time or energy for our relationship. Wearing the Relationship Hat is a skill to master. This means that when we’re with our partner, we’re entirely present, barring any crises or deadlines. We listen to what they have to say (rather than appearing to do so), we set aside our distractions, and we don’t pick them up again until the sun rises and we walk out the door.
6. When you’re in a fight, dive deep to find out how you feel
We speak from the “top layer” in most arguments, which is evident in emotions like anger, impatience, etc. Leading from this position can cause uncertainty and defensiveness and divert attention away from the genuine issue.
Begin by communicating from the “bottom layer,” which includes feelings like disappointment, rejection, loneliness, and disrespect driving your response. Because sharing from this space necessitates honesty and vulnerability, this style of expression elicits an immediate sense of empathy.
Tension will dissolve, and solutions will emerge as a result. Use nice, nonreactive terminology to describe these bottom-layer feelings, such as “I was wounded by…” instead of “You’re such a jerk,” and so on. Respect each other at time of emotional breakdown.
7. Seek to comprehend
The principle is simple, but putting it into practice is challenging. When we’re invested in hearing our partner concede that we were correct or changing their mind, conversations easily devolve into disputes. Rather than waiting for your significant other to concede, treat a conversation as an opportunity to learn about their point of view. From this vantage point, we can have an intriguing conversation while avoiding an outburst or lingering frustration.
8. Be best friends
Couples in a love relationship frequently overlook the fact that they are also friends. As a result, when they break up, all they shared is thrown away. And that isn’t good for you. You may take the opposite approach and be another couple and each other’s best friend.
The more you and your spouse can grow and mature together by cultivating a strong friendship on top of your relationship, the better.
Romance comes and goes, but it’s not what makes a relationship healthy. If you can cultivate love, respect, trust, and friendship with your partner, you can be confident that your relationship will withstand the passage of time.
9. Respect each other’s decision
Some marriages collapse because both partners lack trust in one another. Understandably, you want the best for your spouse, but remember that they are people with a life of their own.
It would be preferable if you two could learn to trust each other’s decisions, whether it’s deciding where to dine or making a major job change. After all, a good relationship is one in which both partners have the opportunity to travel the world, not always together, but on their own as well.