It’s easy to be in a relationship, yet it’s hard to keep a relationship healthy.
Sometimes, love is not enough to keep a relationship healthy. I’ve heard a lot of people telling me about their unhealthy relationships yet they still love their partners and chose to stay in that situation. I know it is very likely to have feelings of love for someone even if you feel like you’re caged. According to Readers Digest, 57 percent of those in unhappy relationships still find their partner extremely attractive.
But you can’t just have a successful connection between your partner behind those three words and eight letters (I LOVE YOU). It is also important to recognize that “Love” is just one part of a whole, because there are other ingredients to make it solid and healthy.
Now, if you’re in a relationship and wondering what it takes to have a healthy relationship, try these key ingredients to make it stronger, happier and long-lasting.
1. Show daily affection.
Sometimes just being loved is not enough, you need to show it. Physical affection like holding hands, hugging, or kissing helps release stress, improves mood, and is associated with higher relationship satisfaction. Feelings like love need to be renewed everyday. If you take it for granted and don’t take the time to express it everyday, it will be lost forever. So be a better girlfriend and start showing affection to your partner as frequent as you can.
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One of the keys to a healthy relationship is “appreciation.” Remember when you first started dating, how you used to impress him? Continue to actively appreciate your partner to have a fulfilling relationship. If you’re not sure where to start, try to compliment your boyfriend by simply telling him “you look great today”, or “thank you for being there for me.”
3. Have fun together.
Relationships continue to grow, especially if fun and excitement are always there. Having fun together is one of the most important factors of a healthy relationship. It is a way to deepen your connection and communication. Engaging in lighthearted activities that you both love can make you feel closer to one another.
4. Be selfless and make sacrifices.
Once you enter into the kingdom of love, you must also know its consequences, including the sacrifices you have to make to keep the relationship alive. Some people play it safe and avoid making sacrifices. But remember that, without pain there is no gain. Thus, you have to make sacrifices and experience pain to make your relationship healthier. Some of your alone time, privacy, the need to be right, and independent goals are only few of the sacrifices you’ll make in the name of love.
5. Fight for your relationship.
How you deal with fights could destroy your relationship. Instead of fighting your boyfriend, fight for your relationship. Remember that he’s not your enemy. The true enemies are the negative attitudes, habits or qualities that both of you should defeat. So always stay calm, listen to the other side, be willing to compromise, and reach an agreement to solve any issue.
6. Set goals as a couple.
You are partners who should strive to achieve your relationship goals together. To have a happy and healthy relationship, plan together, set goals together, and aim those targets together. And when you succeed, celebrate together.
7. Accept each other’s flaws.
The sooner you accept your partner’s imperfections, the sooner you’ll experience a closer bond with him. Acceptance will also help your relationship move forward and enjoy more things on its way.
8. Show respect.
Respect means that, while you may not always agree with your partner’s decision, you choose to trust them and put faith in their judgement. Respect is also about the freedom to be yourself and to be loved for who you are. Listening, valuing, speaking kindly, are just some of the respectful acts you should do to have a healthy relationship.
9. Give space.
In a relationship, you may want closeness, but you also want space. The key is to find that sweet spot which you feel the warmth that comes from being committed, while at the same time allowing each other to have space so that no one feels like they’re being caged.
10. Say “I love you” with actions.
Saying “I love you” to your special someone is such a great feeling. But performing acts of kindness while you say it is much better. Bringing home take-out from his favorite restaurant, giving him little present, or preparing breakfast for him are just some ideas you might want to do to make him feel extra special.
11. Use the word “we”.
Couples who use “I” emphasize their separateness and tend to be more unhappy and unhealthy. To have a healthy relationship with your boyfriend, always use “We” because it makes the two of you more connected to each other.
12. Stay hopeful and faithful.
Hope will help you and your boyfriend see a light in the future no matter how difficult the things are in your relationship. Faith will help both of you strengthen that hope because faithfulness is not only about positively waiting for a bright future but also doing your best to ensure that such future will come into reality.
Chains are not going to hold your relationship. There are many threads that sew people together in order to keep them attached for a lifetime. But a relationship will only be stronger when these threads will also be stronger. Remember that healthy relationships don’t just happen magically; you need to constantly work for it with all your mind, heart, and soul.
Photo by Bruno Aguirre