A healthy relationship is based on equality and respect, not power and control. You've heard the experts say that maintaining a healthy relationship takes work. That's true. But with a little extra effort, you can set the stage for a healthy, functional, intimate relationship with your partner.
Here are some tips to get you on the right track:
1. Take responsibility for your own happiness. It's not up to someone else to make you happy. In a healthy relationship, your partner will try to please you and make you happy, but in the end, you are responsible for your own happiness.
2. Make good on your words. Follow through on your promises. When you say you're going to do something, do it. Don't say that you'll cook dinner or pick up your child at daycare, and then purposely not do it or simply forget about it. Healthy relationships need trust to thrive.
3. Admit your mistakes. If you know you've done something to hurt your partner, own up to it. Be humble and apologize sincerely, without excuses or justifications. You have to be responsible for your actions and cannot make anyone else feel guilty for what you did or did not do.
4. Be realistic. Every relationship has disagreements. Partners in a healthy relationship choose to resolve their problems and push through the tough times, instead of ignoring issues and building resentment. Review your expectations (don't expect perfection) and accept that conflict happens.
5. Listen to your partner. Sometimes all your partner wants is for you to listen and be sympathetic about a problem. Other times, your partner wants you to give advice. Figure out what your partner wants you to do by being a good listener. Then you can tailor your response to your partner's needs.
6. Be affectionate. There's a difference between knowing that you're loved and feeling that you're loved. Sometimes we assume that our partners should just know that we love them, even if we don't always show it. Don't bank on this. The best relationships use affection to show love.
7. Be loyal to the core. Make sure your partner knows that you'll always be there for him or her, no matter what. Having a life outside your relationship is normal, but always put your partner first. Expect the same loyalty in return. You deserve to feel just as prized in the relationship as your partner.
8. Communicate openly with your partner. This is especially true of your feelings about your partner and your relationship. By being honest, you'll be able to overcome the challenges together. If something bad happened in your past that affects you in the present, your partner probably needs to know about it.
9. Trust and respect your partner. Everyone needs their own privacy and some freedom, so don't constantly watch everything your partner does. No one likes to feel controlled or spied on. Respect each other's likes, needs, and decisions, too. That's a great sign of a healthy relationship.
10. Be a cheerleader! Offer support and encouragement so that your partner can be more successful at work, play, or study. This will make your partner realize how much you really care about his or her achievements and your wish that your partner be one of the best!
Want more relationship tips? Sign up for a LifeSkills Training and Education course. LifeSkills offers classes in conflict management, communication, building healthy relationships and more. Click here to find a course near you.
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