how to keep a healthy relationship

You may have been with your partner for a while, or just for a matter of weeks. Although you are confident they love you, you want to actively take steps to ensure that love is solidified. Have you ever wondered how to keep a healthy relationship?

Delving into their psyche and knowing their thought processes would be a viable option for you. After all, you could identify where you are going wrong or what is lacking, then make improvements to meet their needs. Fortunately, complex psychology or reliance on any other external means of getting answers does not need to be involved. A healthy relationship can be defined by you, by making simplicity count. Holding a positive relationship with yourself is also imperative.

I have discovered the above through my own experience. Establishing interests played a big role. Interests breathe life into the relationship, they provide something to talk about. I have realised that to maintain the healthiness of a relationship is to approach it in a self help-like manner. Focusing on trivialities and conditioning them will intensify the feelings you have for each other. Actually helping myself as well increased my confidence and made me happier. I then brought this positivity into the relationship. I will use my own examples to illustrate how these things can have a beneficial impact and make your relationship last.

1. Completing projects together

Completing a project with your partner can be fulfilling and fun. I have often released my inner child by building Lego. I discovered my love for the bricks a long time ago. It serves as a portal back into my childhood and I wanted to share this piece of nostalgia with my partner. Completing projects brings a sense of adventure and team work. The scattered colourful bricks and smattering of minuscule accessories across the carpet was a mess to sift through together. Also, it was a challenge to race through the thousands of pieces and reach the goal.

Engineering is also involved in the activity. I would say my relationship reflected this. A foundation of trust was built firstly. I wanted to cement this by showing my partner how serious I was about staying together. I deleted my profile off the dating site we had initially met through (she did the same). The trust was created knowing we were both no longer marketing ourselves to attract others.

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Completing projects can be a metaphor of your relationship. You are both assembling this contraption. You need to decide what parts will make it function. If you use the wrong components when building the foundation of an idyllic Lego house for example, the creation will not work. Or it would lack stability. If not enough was added to it, it would collapse or sections would begin to fall apart. Fortunately, with Lego, an instruction manual is included for guidance.

2. Sharing passions

As well as sharing the love, share the passion. This provides something for the both of you to speak and debate about, something you can dissect between yourselves. A mutual love of books is arguably a definition of a romantic relationship. The pleasure of wondering into Waterstones together and drinking in all those tomes is aphrodisiacal.

The passions are shared, but the tastes vary. You both wander to your favourite sections. Your partner loves Science Fiction, you enjoy Victorian Literature. The difference in preference brings you together. They each have their qualities. There is no prose quite like Victorian Literature, with its eloquence in expression. Science Fiction can orientate more around plot and action. Your partner seeks this kind of literature as they long to know what will happen next, or whether the time travel device is a success. Results, outcome is what is sought after. Yourself? You prefer the slow-burning and silky language of nineteenth century prose. To you it is important, just as imperative as plot. It does not matter how compelling the story is, it will be unavailing if the prose does not match.

Debates and competition arise from shared interests. I argued with my partner on why my book was better than hers. The characters were real and likeable, the narrative was in better form. I insisted she read it after, and in fact set her a reading list as I wanted to broaden her mind to new literature. Teaching, learning from each other keeps the relationship fresh.

3. Creating space and using it wisely

Space is imperative for relationships. My partner lived almost forty miles away from me. Although I did not always get to see her as much as I wished, living apart built excitement and anticipation for when we were next due to see each other. Space is healthy, it allows you time to breathe and indulge in yourself. Constantly filling it with your partner causes predictability and the beginnings of a mundane routine.

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You feel the loss of your partner when they are not around, but you can make positive use of the voids. Messages can be sent expressing your thoughts. The technology we have, however, makes it all too easy to send emails or instant messages in a perfunctory manner. Make the effort and deviate from this.

Penning an elaborate and amorous letter to your partner breaks the ordinary, daily exchange. Font also matters. Writing calligraphy-style in your own hand will have much more of an impact than sending a Facebook message with all those superfluous emoticons. Select a stamp to compliment your letter and post it. Envision the look on their when they see an envelope addressed to them in your handwriting.

4. Arguing the right way

Arguing with your partner should not be done in a way intended to wound or disparage. The issue could be your partner’s behaviour. Make it known you are angry with that, not the person. You are hoping to achieve from this no repetition of that behaviour. If you argue by belittling your partner, this will fuel resentment. Addressing them in a derogatory manner by name-calling or accusing them of being incapable of ‘getting anything right’, is damaging to the relationship.

There would be so much left unsaid between me and my partner after a heated argument. It would even be quite exhausting thinking of the discussion we still needed to get through for the row to be rectified. After a long day, I would be tired and irritable. My main focus was just going to bed. However, an agreement was made early in the relationship that we would never retire with an argument unresolved. We did not think it wise to go to bed still harbouring anger. As we live miles apart, we did not want any guilt. If something happened to my partner, I would struggle to forgive myself knowing my last actions had been expressing anger and terminating the conversation

So with any arguments, the matter at hand should be discussed properly. It is actually healthy to let your partner know something is wrong. In 2012, Florida State University researchers found that bursts of arguments can actually be beneficial to relationships. Arguing helps signal to your partner that certain behaviours ― leaving the dishes in the sink ― are unacceptable, said lead researcher James McNulty. Admit responsibility for anything you have done wrong. Take the time to to listen to each other’s points as well. From this you can understand where the other is coming from. You can use the opportunity to improve upon whatever the problem is.

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5. Encouraging each other

Encouraging and supporting ambitions is an indicator of a nourishing relationship. My partner always supported my love of literature and aspirations of writing professionally. I have a hobby of writing short stories in my spare time. She bought me writing materials and a beautifully-bound notebook so I could spontaneously write ideas down as they came.

I took pride in writing in this notebook, as opposed to noting an idea in my phone as I was accustomed to often do. It somehow felt more intimate writing on this paper with this particular pen. It correlated well with the old fashioned literature I was planning on writing. No technology was present to confound my feverish, idea-addled brain.

Encouraging yourself is equally as important for your relationship, you can motivate your partner. I came to the conclusion that to actually get somewhere is to take action. Rather than complaining nothing is happening for you, you need to make yourself known. I was trying to build my portfolio to become a Copywriter. I did this by creating a network for myself online. This increased my presence and attracted recruiters. I encouraged my partner to do the same as she wanted to work in the animal conservation field. She was soon also receiving responses and was provided with an opportunity to volunteer. As we were pleased with our personal achievements, we were happier together. We had emotionally supported each other through our career-hunting.

By performing the simple acts above, you will possess the knowledge of how to keep a healthy relationship. You will understand what ingredients are needed to make it rise. Both parties of course need to apply the efforts for it to thrive and work properly. This approach will be successful as you are ultimately doing more. Instead of slouching in front of the television with little communication, you are making better use of your relationship.

Kate loves writing short stories of the Victorian Gothic influence, book reviews, blogs and opinion articles. She fuels the passion by reading and her favourites are the 19th century Penguin Classics. She thinks more people should discover books and the power of expressing one’s self through writing. It is Kate’s belief that this mode of expression will inject colour into the duller hues of the relationship.

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