5 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Relationship

Whether it’s your significant other or your best friend, relationships take work. Though what makes a healthy relationship is different for everyone, cultivating any sort of connection with another person takes time and effort.

Below are five habits that you can use to develop a stronger relationship:

1. Communicate

Perhaps the most important trait in any healthy relationship is honest and open communication. Those involved in strong relationships know this and understand the value of sincere discussion. It is important to not only acknowledge and communicate the good things, but also the bad. It’s always easier to talk about your promotion at work, the great movie you watched last week, or the lovely flowers that your significant other surprised you with, but communication about larger issues or fears is key to a long-lasting relationship, whether romantic or platonic. Make sure to constructively vocalize fears, annoyances, or non-negotiables early and often in your relationship, and be wary of avoiding or ignoring uncomfortable topics. To develop and maintain a healthy, long-lasting relationship, you must be truthful in your communication.

2. Respect Each Other

As Aretha Franklin sang in 1967, “All I’m asking, is for a little respect,” and to this day, that holds true. In any inter-personal communication, being respectful is essential to a positive and constructive discussion. For relationships, this means not only respecting the ideas, opinions, and suggestions of others, but also respecting their time, their values, and their trust. Make sure to honor commitments you have to each other, be aware and supportive of one another’s values, and respect the trust he/she has in you as a friend or lover.

3. Express Your Emotions

Expressing feelings can leave anyone feeling vulnerable, but it is essential to any long-lasting relationship. Whether it’s saying “I love you” to your partner, expressing your heartfelt thanks to a friend for being a shoulder to cry on, or simply showing your love and appreciation for another person through actions, expression is key. It’s important to consider that different people express emotions in different ways. You may constantly verbally communicate in a relationship, but this does not devalue your partner’s doing all the dishes every day, or your friend stopping by your work with a coffee for you. The importance here is not how you show and share your feelings, but simply that you do.

4. Spend Time Together

Though this may seem obvious, one of the easiest ways for a relationship to fail is by not putting in any time. If your best friend doesn’t live close by, meet up for dinner or drinks once every few weeks, or set up regular Skype dates. If your partner is always working late, try to grab lunch, or plan a weekend getaway together. Being present and putting in effort to be together is essential in a healthy relationship.

5. Appreciate Each Other

Remember to appreciate those who are important to you and active in your life. Similar to expressing your emotions, express your gratitude to this other person for simply being in your life and making it better. Oftentimes we think about how happy we are that we have such fulfilling relationships in our lives, but forget to express this feeling to those who matter. So send that sweet “good morning, gorgeous!” text, or send those random flowers. Remember to appreciate what you have in a relationship, and it will bloom and grow.