Relationships can be hard. It can feel like your partner is constantly pulling you away from the person you want to be with. They make you wait. They put pressure on you. They criticize you. And they expect you to be everything to them.
But that’s not what a healthy relationship is about, right? A healthy relationship is built on a solid foundation of trust, understanding, and support. You can have all of that with your partner, too, if you follow these steps.
Hold an honest conversation
The most important thing you can do for your relationship is to be completely honest with your partner. This doesn’t mean you have to be full of your feelings all the time or bare your soul. It does mean you need to be completely open about what your needs are and how you’re feeling.
If you don’t feel like your partner is meeting your needs or if you have needs that your partner isn’t putting forth enough effort to meet, talk to them. Be prepared, however, for a conversation that may not be easy. It’s never a good idea to hold a grudge or hold back your feelings, especially when you’re trying to have a conversation that is open and honest.
If your partner is doing something that is making you feel bad like if they are constantly putting down other people, or they are ignoring your boundaries, try not to bottle everything up. Talk to them. Let them know how you feel. Be prepared for them to listen and try to improve.
Be willing to compromise
In any relationship, you will have differences. This is normal and natural. What is not natural, however, is for one partner to be completely unreasonable and ignore the needs and feelings of the other.
If you love your partner, you need to be willing to compromise. This doesn’t mean being willing to give up everything you want. It does mean being willing to be understanding towards their wants and needs.
Learning to compromise doesn’t mean you or your partner “lose” in a sense. You learn to recognize what is truly important to each other, and you both work towards that.
Here are a few ways you can show your partner you are willing to compromise:
Letting them have some of their space sometimes.
Allow them to control certain things sometimes.
Give them the car keys sometimes.
Allow them to make the first move sometimes.
Accept that sometimes you’ll feel something and have to pause or back off.
Make Time for Each Other
The number one way to build a healthy relationship is to make time for each other. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down and watch TV together or go on a date every day. It does mean you need to put your cell phones away and really pay attention to each other.
When you spend time with your partner, you are giving them the opportunity to talk to you. You are giving them the opportunity to be heard. You are giving each other the chance to show your love.
Spend time doing things that you both like. Take turns cooking dinner. Build a hobby together. Read books or articles to each other. Go for a walk or bike ride.
Don’t Take Everything Personally
In order to build a healthy relationship, you need to learn how to take things personally and not take everything your partner does personally.
When you take everything personally, you take things like their mistakes and failures personally. You take things like being away from home and having to work late personally. You take things like not being able to make every date you have personally.
When you don’t take things personally, you are able to maintain your sense of identity and worth. You are able to recognize that your partner is a person and not the person you want to be with.
Find Your Shared Values
We all have different backgrounds. We all have different upbringings. We all have different experiences.
One thing that many people, couples included, have in common is their shared values. You both need to find ways to bring your shared values to the table.
Shared values are what bring people together. They can be things like family, friendship, or faith. They can be things like work, education, or fitness. They can be things like the environment, animals, or the arts.
Discovering ways to bring your shared values to the table will help you build a stronger relationship. It will also help you have better conversations and connect on a deeper level with your partner.
You Both Take Responsibility
One of the most important values you can practice in a relationship is taking responsibility.
When you take responsibility, you recognize that your partner is just as responsible for the relationship as you are. They, too, need to do their part in order to keep the relationship healthy and strong.
This means your partner needs to show respect. This means your partner needs to show empathy. This means your partner needs to show love. This means your partner needs to show communication.
When one person takes responsibility for a relationship, it creates a sense of equality between the two people. It also gives each person something to strive for and something to improve upon.
Date Without Letting The Media Control You
When you let the media control you, you allow the media to control your relationship as well. You allow it to control how you feel about yourself, your body, and your relationship.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of letting the media control how you see your body and how you see your relationship.
But that’s not healthy. That’s not real. You are worth so much more than that.
The media can control how you see yourself and your relationship through body image issues. It can also control how you feel about your relationship by instilling feelings of inadequacy or doubt.
If you want to get rid of these negative feelings, you need to take control of them. You need to see yourself for who you are and what you have with your partner for who they are.
That doesn’t mean you need to ignore any negative comments you may hear about your body or your relationship. It simply means that you need to set those thoughts aside sometimes.
Love is a complicated thing, and that makes it hard to keep relationships alive. That’s why everyone needs a roadmap to follow, some advice to bolster them every once in a while. It’s easy to be complacent sometimes in your relationship, but if you’re going to make it last, it’s important to follow these guidelines. With any luck, they’ll help your love last through anything.