Relationships are like a greenhouse. You carefully choose your plants because they bring you joy. But just like a greenhouse, a healthy relationship requires loving care, hard work, and regular maintenance to flourish. Without these time, effort, and care, you just grow weeds!
Here are eight essential things all couples need to do in order to grow a strong, healthy relationship.
1. Communicate clearly and transparently.
When we rely on implied communication, we often assume that everyone knows what we want. When you’re in a romantic relationship, though, you should never assume that your partner knows exactly what you want. Instead of making assumptions, ask for whatever’s on your mind. When couples communicate clearly, making the relationship flourish no longer takes as much guesswork.
2. Connect with your partner.
When do you feel most connected to your partner? When does your significant other feel most connected to you?
Remember that connection is about more than just sex. In fact, it’s all about the small gestures that show our partners that we love them, like greeting them at the door or leaving them a love note on their pillow. If you feel like you’re losing your connection with your partner, talk to them about your feelings. The love is still there – you just need to know how to ask for it.
3. Understand that you and your partner have different needs.
Sometimes people forget that their partners may not require the same amount of time together as they do. Instead of starting an argument about differences in your relationship, it’s important that both partners compromise from time to time. Couples should negotiate so that they can meet each partner’s needs.
4. Don’t lose yourself in the relationship.
In a healthy relationship, each partner must honor what fills them up inside. In other words, both you and your partner need to engage in some separate, rejuvenating activities from time to time. Read a book, watch TV alone, or grab lunch with a friend. These breaks from each other allow you each to maintain your personal identity and not lose yourself in the relationship.
5. Spend time together.
Carve out time just for you and your partner. Go on a date no fewer than every two weeks. If your dates are spaced more than two weeks apart, you may lose your connection with your partner. During these times, focus on each other, not work or other obligations. After all, dates are about your connection as a couple, so whether you’ve chosen an exciting night out or a quiet night in, tune out the rest of the world.
6. Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page.
When you and your partner are on the same page, it doesn’t mean that there’s a power struggle; it means that you have each other’s best interests in mind. Whether you help each other with housework or meet life’s challenges together, support helps both partners thrive.
7. Learn which love languages you each need.
According to Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, the five love languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, and quality time. These “languages” explain how each of us experiences love from our friends and romantic partners. When you’re in a relationship, it’s important to know your partner’s love language and express love to them in the way they prefer, not in your own love language.
8. Demonstrate your trust and respect for one another.
Feeling emotionally safe is incredibly important in a relationship. In order to thrive, your relationship cannot have any signs of betrayal or abuse. When you show your partner love and respect, they trust you in return.
If your partner feels hurt, apologize and ask how you can rectify the situation. After all, love isn’t about being right or wrong. It’s about demonstrating mutual respect for each other.
If you don’t tend to your relationship, it will begin to grow into weeds or dry out entirely. With your partner, determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie and where you can improve your relationship. When you communicate effectively and follow these eight essential tips, you’ll set up a healthy relationship that will grow into a lifetime of happiness.
Originally Published on YourTango
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