Research shows that healthy relationships can help you live longer, manage stress, feel richer and be healthier. Social isolation can be very damaging to your over all well being so it’s important to nurture and continuously work at repairing, building and maintaining healthy relationships. Relationships are often the greatest sources of joy yet also one of life’s greatest challenges. When we focus on building a strong foundation with someone we are creating the opportunity for unlimited possibilities in our lives.
Here are some tips for building a healthy relationship foundation that is long lasting:
Be Open – If you really want to build a solid relationship that lasts then you need to be open. Opening yourself up is a difficult thing to do because we all fear getting hurt. However, being vulnerable is the only way to expand and build our relationships. The more open you are with your true feelings the better emotional connection you build. “If I tell him how I feel, he will just run away” Maybe. Maybe not. You don’t know- but if you don’t take that risk, you’ll never know. Share personal stories with your partner. Share parts of yourself that you normally wouldn’t. By opening up, you’re showing a partner that you trust them, and all successful relationships need to be built on trust.
Communication – Communication is the key to building and maintaining a healthy relationship. One important thing to remember about communication- never assume. Don’t assume that your partner knows what you’re thinking or feeling. You need to express those feelings honestly to your significant other so they understand where you are coming from. By being honest from day one you are showing a partner what you also expect in return. It’s great to send friendly texts to check in and let your partner know you’re thinking of them. Keep texts simple and fun. Leave the serious conversations for phone calls or in person.
Report problems to your partner’s Relationship Repair Counter – In order to build a foundation of trust and loyalty in a relationship, you have to be able to work out problems. Your partner needs to be able to trust that you are going to be there for the difficult times and that you are going to value them enough even to stick with resolving complaints that they have about you. I came up with the idea of having a Relationship Repair Counter for people in your life, and I also want you to be able to go to your partner’s RRC to get complaints resolved. There are ideas for how to file complaints and steps to take when your partner brings a complaint to your your RRC on my page for couples therapy worksheets.
Take care of Your own emotional needs – If you routinely take care of others’ needs before your own, then you are at risk of codependency. In a relationship, codependent behaviors can potentially sabotage your relationship success. If you neglect your own needs and care for others instead, then you may begin to feel empty. Taking care of yourself enables you to then be available to take care of others. Try journaling, meditating, a yoga class, listening to your favorite music, taking time to enjoy your friend’s company, bubble bath with candles and music, a spa day, reading a book, or anything you enjoy. Search your soul for those things that really nurture you.