- Gender and Relationships»
- Relationship Problems & Advice
How to Have a Strong and Lasting Relationship
Both Couples Benefit from a Healthy Relationship
What a Good Relationship Needs
A successful intimate relationship is important in all aspects of your connection with other people, and for your good health and your mind.
A measure of a good relationship is based on trust, respect, safety, and communication. These foundations are inter-related. In order to share ourselves, which helps us bond with someone else, we need to trust that each other. In order to build a trust, we need to feel respected, and these come about because we feel safe, emotionally and physically with that other person.
When issues do arise, effective communication can build trust, respect and safety. When these basic needs are met, we can achieve our higher needs, according to Abraham Maslow. Trust allows partners to interact on a deeper level, to share a part of themselves they don’t show other people, to feel intimacy through affection and love.
Respecting each other is part of honoring, admiring, accepting and consideration of the other person. When we feel unsafe, trust is lessened. When people feel threatened in any manner, our behavior naturally becomes defensive, we blame others, rationalize, and may abandon the other person. A natural outlet is to become more independent and tough and can interfere with developing a closer relationship. Lasting relationships are built on both partners feeling safe. Respecting another person begins with their own self respect.
Communication is important in a relationship so that conflicts and issues can be resolved. When people deny what they feel, bad feelings can fester and grow and these unresolved conflicts can push away the loving and warm feelings that do exist between the couple. When people communicate, alienation is reduced, and the each person can learn to understand each other and create a flourishing and strong bond with each other. Communication comes in the form of verbal and non verbal cues.
Non verbal communication can be seen in body language, facial expressions, eye contact, proximit to each other, and touching.
The Importance of Communicating
Communication can only be achieved in a trusting, respectful and safe relationship. And good communication strengthens the trust, respect, and safety you feel with each other.
There are many benefits to building a strong and healthy relationship with your partner. It takes work, there are a lot of pitfalls, but it will be one of the best supports you can have in your life. But if your relationship does not have respect, trust, safety, and communication, you may be investing in a partnership that will not yield the benefits that will make your love last.
Each relationship is unique in time and space. The longer you are together, the easier it is to see that your relationship changes over time. It has highs and lows, peaks and valleys. Relationships are affected by many factors from the personalities of each person to the outside influences that invariably impact your life. A meaningful and fulfilling relationship can last through good and bad times.
Relationships are work because we need to stay involved with each other. Relating by sharing, by communicating, by connecting and understanding each other will enhance the bond you share. It is important to talk about important things. Taking on conflict and the freedom to express your needs, ideas, and feelings is integral to creating a strong relationship. The ability to resolve the tough issues without being put down or trying to insist that each is right will foster a welcoming environment to resolve the things on your mind.
Healthy relationhips allow room for other outside interests and a circle of friends beyond what each of you give each other. The best relationships have a social network that broadens who each of you are. Outside interests and friends stimulate and add interest to the relationship. A strong network of support helps any couple flourish.
A hug, a rub of the arm, holding hands, hugging, kissing are signs of affection that help boost our feelings of bonding with each other. When a couple touch in gentle and fond ways, it helps human brain development. Physical contact helps abate lonliness and is a fundamental part of being human. Affection helps increase oxytocin levels which are related to attachment. Physical intercourse is a natural outlet of a committed relationship and is that much better when trust, respect, safety, and communication are strong.
Ways to Build Your Relationship
In order to have a better relationship, it is important ot spend quality time with each other. Obligations can make spending time with each other more and more difficult. It is so important to make time for each other. Time together will benefit your relationship greatly. While it may seem hard to squeeze in time together, dating on a regular basis will help you connect to each other. Doing things you enjoy together and doing new things together builds bonds.
Having a sense of humor, being playful, and sharing together, when times are good and when times are stressful helps you get through the good and bad times easier.
How you respond to your partner will affect how they respond back to you. The signals of verbal and non verbal cues you send will be much better received when they match your partner’s needs. Understanding your partner’s body language wil help you understand what your partner’s needs and what they are trying to say. Be aware what your own body language is saying and the clues you are giving off to your partner.
In every relationship there are ups and downs. Life can interfere with your relationships, and stress can affect both partners in different ways.
Ways to build your relationship:
- Surprise each other in good ways. Bring home flowers, a sudden get away, an unexpected gift.
- Laugh together. Humorhelps you see things in a different light. Sharing a laugh helps you connect with each other, relieves tension, and lessens the bleakness of a situation.
- Listen to each other. Work at communicating. Relating and communicating are the same thing and help couples connect to each other. Communicating helps couples work out their problems and misunderstandings.
- Be prepared to compromise. Being right isn’t necessarily the most important thing.
- Know what your partner’s values are, and make sure your partner knows what is important to you.
- Fight fair
- Start your statements with “I feel”, instead of “you did, or you are”
- Don’t bring up the past, stay focused on the current issues.
- Always respect each other.
- Don’t let your anger rule.
- Give your partner space to work out their own solutions when things are difficult for them.
- Couples often take each other for granted. Take a few minutes each day to think about the things you appreciate about your partner.
- Be flexible, be open, and be willing to work through issues as a team.
Relationships Take Work
Perhaps one of the most important things to do to have a strong and lasting relationship is to make sure you give your relationship attention. Many things vie for the attention of a couple: kids, money issues, work, elderly parents, and other competing factors. Couples can get into a routine and not truly pay attention to the ongoing relationship. Be sure to continue to “date” each other on a regular basis. Even when you are tired, even when it can be difficult, it is important to spend time together. Romance is always fostered by the attention you give it. A committed relationship takes work, and will flourish from the attention and effort you give it.
Sometimes when a couple goes through difficult times, the issues and problems may feel overwhelming. It can be difficult to try to solve the situation yourself and you both may benefit from couples counseling or spiritual counseling. This can take time, effort, energy, and money, but the things you can learn in therapy will be an investment of a lifetime. Learning to listen, to communicate, to understand each other in a new way can help you have a healhier and loving relationship that will endure. The benefits of counseling can outweigh the costs in immeasurable ways. Individual therapy can also help people understand the role they play in their relationship through their own behavior, thought processes, and self beliefs.
Relationships change over time, it is the nature of couplehood. Change can be difficult. Change can be good. Embrace it, and hold each other as you go through it. There are many benefits to your well being when you are in a healthy and loving relationship. Couples in loving, supportive relationships benefit, physically, emotionally, and socially, and their children benefit also.
A nurturing and fulfilling relationship is mutually beneficial to both people involved and can enrich your lives in countless ways. It might, at times seem easier to give up on each other, and the work involved might seem too arduous, but it might just be worth work too. Every couple goes through challenging situations, successful couples learn how to navigate through the tough times and flourish as they go.