Every couple wants a happy, healthy relationship. The trouble is that that can be difficult to define. Making it even more complex, every person and every relationship is unique.
Still though, there are a few things that need to be present for a relationship to be healthy. We’ve compiled a list of the five most important things you need to have a healthy relationship. Love is one big component – the things we cover here build love.
Before we go any further – this list is not meant to fear-monger. We are definitely not saying, “If you don’t have these five things in your relationship, you’re doomed”. But what we are saying is that these are some areas where you good work on making improvements.
No relationship is perfect, and every relationship has a journey. It’s OK to be where you are right now! But the most important thing moving forward is identifying the things you and your partner could do better, and making a conscious effort to work on them!
In a healthy relationship, you should admire your partner. In the early stages of dating, we tend to be focused on impressing the person we are trying to woo. You want them to admire you. Likewise, you tend to see only the most positive qualities in your person-of-interest. You admire them.
As time goes on, and as you get to know each other better, you discover each other’s flaws. This is usually when the man behind the curtain starts to peek out. You may find that some of your partner’s flaws are difficult for you to deal with (or vice versa). Suddenly, the fairytale begins to crumble and you are not as captivated by your partner as you once were.
They key here is perspective. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean they don’t retain all the admirable qualities that you first fell in love with. If you’re feeling like you’ve lost some admiration for your partner, you can find it again if try. Reflect on the little things they do for you to show appreciation. Or think back to when you first started dating – think about the things that they did to catch your eye (and heart) in the first place, and trace that through your relationship. You’re sure to find that those admirable qualities are still there. Hold them tightly in your heart.
In a healthy relationship, you should desire your partner. Both physically and emotionally. It is normal for both to wane over time, but they can also be enlivened too. The physical part is usually easy in the beginning. It may stay that way, or it may not. If it doesn’t, here’s what you can do about it. Your desire for your partner will be partially affected by how desirable you feel about yourself.
For example, when you have a head cold, you usually don’t feel super sexy. You feel desirable, and therefore your level of desire for your partner also decreases. This may happen for your partner too, and it can turn into a nasty cycle. To remedy this, encourage your partner to take care of themselves. No, this doesn’t mean they must have six-pack abs. But doing focusing self-care – for yourself and your partner – can make all the difference.
Emotional desire goes hand in hand with admiration for your partner. Your emotional desire to be with your partner comes from feelings of trust and comfort that have been built over time. Usually, it is the things you admire about your partner that have helped you trust them and feel comfortable with them. Trust and comfort require consistent effort to maintain them, on your part and on your loved ones part. Nurturing trust and comfort will go a long way in making both partners feel emotionally fulfilled and safe.
For a relationship to be healthy, you must be honest with your partner. Honesty builds trust, and trust builds safety. (You’ll notice that all 5 of the things on this list are closely inter-weaved).
Think about the reasons why human beings pair-up: bonding, or feeling closely connected to another, is a basic human need. Bonding happens when you spend time with someone. It only makes sense then, that you might develop the closest bond with the person you spend the most time with – your partner.
What makes you want to spend a lot of time with someone? And especially, why would you want to commit yourself to someone for the rest of your life? It’s because you share things in common, you trust them, and you feel safe around them.
Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.
James E. Faust
The only way for this kind of connection to develop is through honesty. Honesty about your feelings, your past, and your actions. When honesty is not upheld, trust is broken and the connection is damaged. On the other hand, complete, transparent, humble honesty is a sure path to nurturing the bond between you and your partner.
Understanding is a must in a healthy relationship. As we’ve already mentioned, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. You can count on your partner making many mistakes throughout your relationship journey.
When this happens, it is best to be understanding. This can be a difficult task when you’ve been hurt by a mistake your partner has made. An important thing to remember is that, most of the time, your partner isn’t intentionally trying to hurt you. They probably did not have bad intentions.
Do your best to listen to their point of view. Listen to understand why they did what they did. This will help to remind you that, although they are imperfect, they need your patience and understanding so that eventually, you can forgive.
Humility is required in healthy relationships. Just as your partner needs understanding when they wrong you, you need humility when you wrong them. You are bound to make a mistake here and there. This is understood in relationships. But a humble response when you misstep can make for a much quicker recovery.
When you make a mistake, fess up. Admit when you’re wrong, and do it quickly and calmly. It’s hard to swallow your pride – do it anyway. Apologize for any hurt you may have caused. Say, “I’m sorry,” – no other explanation required.
This is an effective way to deescalate a budding argument when things get heated. It also builds trust between you and your partner. A humble apology lets your partner know that you care about their feelings, and that your respect them as a human being. And chances are that if you apologize humbly and sincerely, they’ll be more likely to listen to you too.