5 Key Elements of a Great Relationship

Relationships are tricky, especially in today's world of digital courtship and societal faux pas that are enough to drive anybody crazy. Once in a relationship, though, most people find it just as much of an effort to maintain a strong and healthy relationship with their significant other as they do finding someone to actually have a relationship with. This is mostly because people underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes from both parties to maintain a healthy relationship. Fortunately, there is a plethora of ways to keep a relationship going strong, although there really is no one definitive way to about doing it. If you feel you need to work on your relationship, a good place to start is with these five key elements. 

1. Affection

Every strong relationship has to have affection. It's simply a given. Give your partner the attention they need, and be sure to show them affection on a regular basis. Hold their hand or cuddle up on the couch while watching television; send them a note at work, or send a random, 'I love you' text to brighten their day. You both have to show you're invested in the relationship, so don't be afraid to ask the other out for a date, or make a kind, affectionate gesture from time to time.

2. Empathy

Taking a genuine interest in your partner's interests, or feelings is crucial to having a healthy relationship. Actively listening to how their day went, or a problem they are having at work, or whatever the case may be shows that you genuinely care about their feelings and wellbeing. Offer to help them with their problems, or at least try to give some sound advice, or a fresh perspective on the matter. You should also feel like you are able to open up about your own feelings when you need to. Having that trust and deeper connection can do wonders to keep your relationship strong and healthy.

3. Integrity

No relationship can last without honesty and trust. Having integrity in your relationship is vital because it exposes your vulnerabilities and helps you build trust in confiding with each other, which in-turn helps the relationship become stronger. Try to always be open and honest with each other, and keep the promises you make. This will go a long way in deepening your connection and trust in one another. 

4. Openness

Going along with being honest is having good communication between the two of you. Be sure your partner knows what you are thinking and how you are feeling, about both your personal life and the status of your relationship. The minute you feel something, express it to your partner. Don't bottle it up and wait to see what happens; this will likely cause the feeling to grow irrationally and put a dent in your relationship. Confiding in your partner builds trust, and also provides perspective. Work together to fix any problems that may arise, and don't hold anything back.

5. Understanding

In order to have a healthy relationship, you must be able to understand your partner's perspective, or way of thinking. That doesn't necessarily mean agreeing with it, but either way, you must try and understand how they see things and you must support them. For example, if your partner comes to you and says that they are having an issue with some aspect of the relationship, do your part to understand where they are coming from and avoid immediately going on defense. By hearing their side and working to rectify the situation, you show genuine concern for the health of your relationship, as well as for their feelings.