Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Communication is the key to maintaining a healthy relationship. Maintaining a good relationship requires sincerity, understanding, and an enduring capacity to forgive. Sometimes we experience really difficult periods in our lives. We depend extensively on our parents or friends or others close to us for their love and support — but have you noticed how we often hurt the ones closest to us when we are experiencing pain, despair, and frustration? This is perhaps because they love us, are complaisant, and will not eliminate us from their lives.

The ability to listen is a fundamental thing in maintaining a good relationship. When we allow ourselves to listen to other people, it not only gives us insight into their thoughts, but it also makes the other person feel worthy of being listened to. Whether it's our parents or friends, teachers or students, being listened to increases our self-esteem and saturates our hearts with reassurance and consolation.

Having a good relationship doesn't mean that you never disagree about anything. Conflict occurs on some level in all relationships - it is an inevitable part of two unique individuals becoming closer and sharing time with each other. You might want to see one movie, they might want to see another, you might want to see your friends in the weekend, and they might want you to spend the whole weekend with them.

It is therefore essential that you know how to deal with conflicts - large or small - when they arise. It is important not to freak out: stay calm and honest about what you need and how you feel. The more you talk about the difficulties, the easier it will become to feel more comfortable speaking truthfully with your partner. And it does take time because talking honestly in times of conflict can be scary, especially with people we really care about.

It's important to remember that learning about how to work things out together is part of every relationship, and everyone will do it differently. Relationships are never easy to navigate, it takes a lot of compromise from both parties to build a happy healthy relationship. A healthy relationship is one where:
• both partners are willing to negotiate fair solutions to conflict
• you listen to each other non-judgementally and try to understand and value each other's point of view
• both partners will be willing to accept responsibility for themselves and admit when they could have said or done something differently
• you feel safe to talk openly and truthfully and give and receive emotional support and understanding.

It is also important not to try to change anyone else. Being in a relationship where you're just hoping that they'll change is unhealthy for both of you. You will just get frustrated waiting for them to change, while they will get frustrated not being accepted for who they are. When you gently start to change some of your own ideas and behaviours, your relationships improve too. Knowing what you expect from a relationship, and what you're not prepared to put up with is vital.

This list of 10 rules for a healthy relationship is by no means exhaustive but is a good start to building a healthy romantic relationship with your partner.Whether you have just started dating or are looking for ways to improve your long term relationship these rules should be taken into consideration.

1. Like Yourself

Do you surround yourself with friends you don’t like? Most people choose not to make friends with people they don’t like, so how can anyone like you if you don’t like yourself?! Learn to like yourself so you become someone others like to be around.

2. Choose Partners Wisely
It is easy to get carried away when someone new showers us with gifts or we can’t tell the difference between love and lust but are these good reasons to get into a long term relationship with someone? When choosing a new partner think carefully about them, how do they treat family and friends, would you choose that person to be a friend, are there any aspects of their character that trouble you, do you share values and goals. It is difficult to be so honest with yourself in the first rush of romance but if you are seriously thinking about investing yourself in a relationship with this person it is well worth taking time to explore.

3. Respect

Respect yourself and your partner. Have you ever seen a couple at a dinner party and one is constantly putting the other down in what is meant to be ‘funny’ stories? Or one partner is flirting with everyone in the room and ignoring their partner? This shows lack of respect either for your partner, yourself or both. Respect is essential to a good relationship but must be from both partners.

4. Teamwork
Think of yourselves as a team, you will spend years working, living and loving together. Learn to support each other and use your respective strengths and weaknesses to the advantage of your relationship. All relationships have good and bad times and it is particularly important to stay close and work as a team through the bad times, when you get to the good times again you will be amazed how strong your relationship has become.

5. Maintain Intimacy

Without intimacy relationships drift apart over time and couples can feel bored with each other. Make time to maintain your relationships intimacy. That doesn’t just mean sexual desires, pillow talk is an intimate practice as is a good snuggle on the sofa. Little touches and kisses as you both go about your day help to maintain intimacy.

6. Express Yourself
You may think you are sending signals that will leave your partner in no doubt what you want or need but they are not a mind reader. Whether you are upset about something, need more affection or simply want the couch recovered, you have to let them know verbally. In the long run you will save yourself a lot of hurt feelings because your partner was unable to “guess” what you wanted or needed and it will make them happy because they feel able to give you what you want or need in your relationship. Also if your partner is doing something you don’t like then tell them, don’t just hint and hope they get the message and stop.

7. Learn To Listen
Whether your partner wants to tell you a deep dark secret or just waffle about their day, learn to really listen to them. There is often no need to give an opinion or offer advise, just having someone that really listens to you can strengthen a relationship. When your partner speaks to you try to stop what you are doing and look at them.

8. You Are Not Always Right
Learn the rules for arguing in a relationship and don’t allow hurt feelings to turn into resentment. It is natural to think your point of view is the right one and it is hard to learn that sometimes either you are not right or there simply isn’t a right, just different points of view. Also learn what it is worth arguing about, the toothpaste tube is NOT worth a prologed fight and not speaking for a week!!

9. Say Sorry

Don’t allow pride to stand in your way, if you realise you were wrong about something then say sorry. All relationships have arguments but to have a happy relationship you must be willing to kiss and make up. Consider the importance of the argument, if it was about the toothpaste tube and you feel you were right what is the problem with apologising anyway just to finish the fight.

10. Be Spontaneous
This doesn’t mean you have to whisk them off to Paris or go bungie jumping but routine can become boring. If you know your partner will cook spag bol every Wednesday night or always washes the car at 10am Sunday morning then life becomes monotonous and it’s easy for one or both partners to look outside the relationship for a little excitement. Alter your routine sometimes, wake up on Sunday morning and decide to go to a flea market or walk in the park with bare feet. Do small unexpected things to surprise your partner and keep them interested in you as a person.

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1 comment:


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