Building a healthy relationship is not an easy task. It requires time, trust, and maintaining a deep connection in face of difficulties.
I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, but I’ve studied the subject in some depth. I also have a great relationship with my girlfriend (it’s been more than two years together and keeps getting better).
Read on and learn about some unique ideas you can use to improve the relationship with your partner.
I have phrases and whole pages memorized,
but nothing can be told of love.
You must wait until you and I
are living together.
In the conversation we’ll have
– Rumi, The Essential Rumi
20 Tips For Building Healthy Relationships
1. Relationship skills are like other skills – you can learn them
I’ve found reading a couple of books about relationships tremendously useful. It’s great to learn more about the topic because just like with happiness, maintaining great relations is actually a skill – not a thing that you have or don’t have. I recommend books such as How to Love, Just Listen, and especially The Road Less Traveled.
2. Make room for planned, unique acts of kindness
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine, but during your day you have to find some time to stay in touch with your beloved. A quick call, a meaningful voice message or a nice photo makes all the difference.
3. Become best friends
Happy relationships are like an endless bundle of joyous communication. It’s fun to do things with your partner and you can’t get enough of them. This occurs naturally when you fall in love, but also depends on the compatibility of two personalities.
4. Invest in quality time with your partner – every day, and every week
Even if you’re a notorious introvert, quality time with your partner is all that matters. If you can’t sit down together for one hour to talk and share what’s going on in your lives, you have a problem. Make room for spontaneous communication and uninterrupted time together.
5. Listen carefully to what other person has to say
In today’s society there’s a tendency to switch-off from social interactions and merge your brain with your smartphone. But please, take it easy for a moment. When talking to your partner, put away the phone and listen carefully to what they have to say. People require your attention and have a need to be understood. Don’t deprive them of it.
6. Share stories about your day with your partner
“Hey, how was your day?” is one of the best questions you can ask every day to improve communication with your partner. It’s great to know how everything is going for another person, and share some stories from your day. You can’t be oblivious to the daily problems of your loved one. It’s much better to ask what’s going on and solve all the issues as they come up.
7. Be grateful for your partner
You probably heard that the gratitude exercise helps to boost your levels of happiness. Sit down for 5 minutes in the morning and just feel grateful for all the goodies the life bestowed upon you.
This exercise is similar to what I did during my meditation retreat where we practiced Metta – the meditation of loving kindness.
8. Get into flow through conversation and doing things together
Achieving the state of flow is one of the greatest joys in life. Conversation and doing exciting things together is conducive to this state of timelessness, high presence and engagement where time gets warped and 3 hours seem like 30 minutes.
So share a bottle of fine wine with your partner, and let the conversation take you to uncharted seas.
9. Resolve conflicts easily – avoid stonewalling
One of the biggest obstacles to a happy relationship is stonewalling. What it means is that one of the partners refuses to tell what is really going on in their emotional or professional life.
To resolve the conflict, you have to first address the issue. Otherwise you can only get angry and keep unspoken grudges.
10. Keep the romance alive
After a while (a few months, or a few years) the happy neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of desire and overt lust will loosen their grip over you.
You have to keep the spark of love alive and tend to the garden of love. Here’s how to do it:
- Affirm love for your partner often
- Steal a random kiss
- Do special things together (create special moments)
- Have new sex (check out Kama Sutra and the Tantric Massage)
- Have new experiences
- Give presents
- Go for trips
- Celebrate together
11. Be 100% committed to your relationship
Being in a relationship only partially, or “keeping the other doors open” is a recipe for problems. When you’re with a person, be there for them 100%. Be there when they’re happy, when they’re sad, when everything is going well and when they’re facing disaster. I’m not a fan of marriage, but I respect the “till death do us apart” thing.
When you’re ready to flee at the sight of first difficulties, it’s not a real relationship.
12. Show the world how much you love your partner
This works differently for different types of personalities. But I’ve found that women like when you show the world how much you appreciate them. This signs of affection can be as simple as a romantic kiss in the public, or sharing photos from your weekend rendezvous on social media.
13. Grow together with your partner
In Annie Hall, Woody Allen shares a keen observation:
“A relationship, I think, is like a shark, you know? It has to constantly move forward or it dies.”
To avoid having a dead shark on your hands, you need to avoid routine at all cost. Growing alongside your partner can mean:
- Achieving goals together
- Motivating and inspiring each other
- Showing appreciation for the achievements of the other
- Making plans for the future
14. Remember the good times
Maybe you feel like your relationship is not what it’s used to be. But understand that great feelings and special moments come and go. There’s a constant ebb and flow of experiences in life, and you shouldn’t get attached only to the nice ones.
Remember the good times with your partner. Take a look at the pictures from some of your best trips. In that way you will know that these experiences are likely to occur in the future.
15. Visualize the happy future of your relationship
Visualization is one of the most powerful tools for achievement and happiness. Normally I’m skeptical about these things, but it helped me so many times that now I actually recommend it to everyone.
Just sit down, play some nice music, close your eyes, and lose yourself to a vision a happy relationship between you and your partner. See it in vivid detail – see the other person smiling.
Your vision is likely to come true but it has to be supported by action.
16. Falling in love is not real love
They say that:
“The honeymoon always ends. The bloom of romance always fades.”
Falling in love is one of the great moments of life and art. According to Slavoj Žižek, today it occurs less frequently as we drop spontaneous emotions for safety and control.
Either way, it’s important to recognize that falling in love is just one of the phases of a relationship that ultimately leads to a deeper connection with your partner.
17. You can only love the other if you love yourself
This is one of the reasons why some people endlessly search for the perfect relationship. If you don’t like yourself, you will look for a person who can finally make you happy (but you will ultimately fail).
First, you should have enough self-esteem and feel like a valuable person. Only then will you be able to approach your partner on equal terms. You should be able to give, and not only receive.
18. Ponder the definition of true love
Over hundreds of years, artists and poets tried to define this all-elusive emotion of love. Katharine Hepburn got close to pinning it down when she said that:
“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.”
Above all else, true love seems to be about commitment, time, attention, listening, giving, and being able to receive. By giving love, you’re extending yourself. You are growing spiritually.
19. Lasting love can only be achieved by independent individuals
Strong relationships are built by strong, independent individuals. We all know the stereotype of a fragile girl who threatens her boyfriend to commit suicide if he ever thinks of leaving her. This situation exists in many relationships – although to a lesser extent. It’s to be avoided at all costs.
You and your partner should have lives outside of the relationship. You should get out there and conquer the world. If you don’t feel like it, you might consider resetting your life or stepping up to live the good life.
20. Do new things and laugh together
Novelty is one of the most powerful things in life. All the great memories are caused by it. Remember something you’ve done for the first time…
Like making love, going to a new country, jumping with a parachute or crossing off other items from a decent bucket list.
Make sure that when you engage in these activities, you are with your beloved. It will make all the difference in the world.
How did you like this article? Do you know any other ways to build a healthy, long-lasting relationship? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!