5 things all healthy relationships need, according to an expert
And it’s not posting loved up selfies on Facebook.
Romantic relationships, in all of their complexity, are a fundamental component of our lives. And as the poet Rainer Maria Rilke mused, “There is scarcely anything more difficult than to love one another.”
Relationships cannot survive on their own. They need the care and nurturing of two adults, giving to each other in a way that creates a mutually beneficial connection.
Here are 5 key tips on how to foster a deep and loving relationship:
1. Nurture self-love
The way you treat yourself sets the standards for others. Being needy, insecure, and trying to gain approval and a sense of self-worth from your partner puts a huge amount of pressure on them, and it’s a major turn-off.
It’s an unachievable task because feeling inherently loved and worthy comes from within, not from your partner.
High self-esteem predicts better relationship satisfaction, and high self-esteem of both partners is an even better predictor of strong relationship satisfaction.
Moreover, people with high self-esteem appear to respond more constructively and positively during conflict when they think their partner is committed to the relationship, whereas people with low self-esteem don’t do this even when they believe their partner is committed.
An outstanding love comes from two whole people coming together to share and enhance their already full lives. So putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s necessary.
When we truly love and respect ourselves, we are free from doubt and endless worry so we trust our feelings and decisions. It allows us to be courageous and authentic.
Daily Dilemma: Sex every night for a year3:57
The panel discusses the pros and cons for having sex every night for a year. Credit: Studio 10
This may seem obvious, but so many people are with partners they don’t trust. Work on building your confidence and loving yourself completely prior to setting foot in another relationship. The stronger you are as an individual, the easier it will become to trust. And if your partner really isn’t trustworthy, ask yourself why you’re staying. The answer to that question is directly related to your self-worth. True freedom in a relationship comes from the power of honesty.
Without talking, your relationship will not survive. The more you communicate, the closer you will be. The willingness to work through difficulties and disagreements is paramount. Throwing in the towel, even if you don’t walk out the door, is not the path to happiness. You must face the discomfort that comes with differing opinions and ideas.
3. See the best in your partner and the relationship
Research on perception and attention shows that we see more of what we look for, so if you’re looking for signs of kindness, that’s more likely to stand out to you. How you think about and interpret your partner’s actions, intentions, and words also affects how you feel and understand a situation with them, which in turn affects how you behave toward them.
Put it into practice. Spend a week looking for anything and everything your partner does “right.” An amazing relationship comes about when we own and appreciate who we are and completely accept the other people for who they are.
4. Kind, constant, and honest communication
Over time, we assume that our partner knows us so well that we don’t need to ask for what we want. What happens when we make this assumption? Expectations are set and just as quickly, they get deflated. Those unmet expectations can leave us questioning the viability of our partnership and connection.
A healthy conversation between two people does not result in raised voices or vicious attacks. Communicate to each other with love and compassion. Make sure you always have something to look forward to and that you are pursuing it as a couple.
5. Make your apology count
It’s well understood that apologising is a good thing but it only makes a real impact when you mean it. Even if you don’t agree that your action was wrong, you will never successfully argue a feeling.
Accept that your partner feels hurt and from this place, a real apology can have a significant impact. When you love your partner and hurt them (intentionally or not) you can always legitimately apologise for the pain you caused regardless of your perspective on what you did or didn’t do.
Foundations are the key to maintaining your relationship and will determine the quality and success of it years down the track. A house must be built on solid foundations if it is to last. The same principle applies to relationships.
Marianne Vicelich is an Australian self-help book author and self-love coach. Visit www. mariannevicelich.com.