While most relationships begin with happiness and romance, not all relationships can survive the challenges brought on by time. Building a meaningful relationship with your significant other is important for the overall health and well-being of both parties. Being in an unhealthy relationship can disrupt the quality of your life, and besides, relationships are meant to be uplifting and not a source of undue suffering. To help couples bring and keep meaning into your relationship, we’ve found the seven secrets of couples in healthy relationships.
1. Open communication
The American Psychological Association (APA) puts open communication at the top of things that make a meaningful relationship. According to the APA, healthy couples frequently communicate about deeper and personal subjects which help them stay connected. Healthy couples also talk about problems, concerns, and are not afraid to disagree with each other. Avoidance of certain subjects can breed resentment, but on the other hand, expressing contempt and anger in unhealthy ways can disrupt the foundations of your relationship. The trick is to be emphatic about what you are trying to convey to your partner.
2. Leave and cleave
Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D. and author of “The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts.” believes separating emotionally from your family of origin is important to build a meaningful relationship. Both partners need to build a separate identity from their parents and embrace their new identity as a couple to have a relationship based on solid grounds. Intrusive parents are far too often the reasons for divorces, right after infidelity, money issues, and incompatibility. This does not mean you have to be estranged from your family of origin, rather learn how to set healthy boundaries.
3. Make each other laugh
You’ve started the relationship because you thought it would improve your emotional well-being. Worries, frequent fighting, and disagreements can strain your relationship which may cause you to grow apart eventually. HealthGuide.org suggests you should laugh with your partner as this will help you connect emotionally and increase your intimacy levels. Making your partner laugh is bound to keep your relationship exciting and your bond stronger.
4. Keep things interesting
It is easy to get stuck in a rut once the relationship becomes serious. To prevent boredom, the APA suggests changing your routine and finding new things to do with your partner to prevent boredom. Also, don’t let family and obligations get in the way of your sex life as sex help you bond emotionally with your partner and is an important aspect of every meaningful relationship.
5. Remember why you are together
Changes in life are inevitable, and they can make us forget why we entered the relationship in the first place. When you start fighting with your partner next time, try and remember how you met and what made you fall in love. Dr. Judith S. Wallerstein suggests keeping your love story alive even when changes and realities of mundane life take place.
6. Be supportive
While your differences may have attracted you to each other, these same differences can create conflict in the long run. Try to keep in mind that you cannot change a person but that you must respect each other’s differences and be supportive of your partner. A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples who divorced displayed more negative emotions and communication as well as contempt. Such communication can wreck havoc on your relationship which is why you need to break this habit.
7. Don’t forget others
Expecting that your partner will satisfy all your needs will put too much psychological pressure on them. Helpguide.org states that interests outside your relationship will enrich that same relationship. Keeping in touch with friends, family, and co-workers will let your relationship take a break and lessen the strain. Besides, it will help you remember and cherish the primary relationship in your life.
If you believe your relationship has lost all meaning, then maybe you should stop and think why this is so. Life strains and excessive conflict suck out the meaning from every relationship, and it is important to address these issues to avoid break ups. Keep these seven tips in mind, and we’re sure your relationship will stay fresh and meaningful for years to come.