But wait! What is this? Your first argument? It can’t be! “Everything was going so perfect, why did he/she have to do that?”“We’ve been married about almost two years now; everything was going so great, why is he/she always in a mood and not talking to me?”Anyone who has been dating or married, I’m sure, has come across something similar.
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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT
All romantic relationships go through ups and downs, and they all require dedication, work, and willingness to adapt, change, and grow together as a partnership. No relationship is perfect, and if it was, then something is missing.
When my husband and I were dating, the first years were beautiful! I was on cloud nine, and so was he. Yay for us! Or so we thought! Things became a bit challenging, but with dedication, willingness, and work, we were able to get into the groove of things. When we got married, it was a bit challenging the first few months because we haven’t lived together before marriage, and trying to find that balance required work. But with our willingness to adapt, change, and grow together as a unit, our marriage union is strong.
Whether your relationship is just starting or you’ve been dating or married for years, some key things are needed for your relationship to thrive and remain healthy.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO MAINTAIN A THRIVING RELATIONSHIP
No relationship can survive on its own. Consider a plant – it needs consistent sunlight and water to grow healthy. The same concept applies to any relationship. It requires constant care and nurturing of two adults, giving each other a mutually beneficial deep connection.
Let’s get into the good stuff, shall we?
Communication, Trust, and Honesty
Communication is the utmost important thing that you need for a healthy relationship. When I say communication, I am not just talking about listening and speaking. No. This type of communication needs to be kind, respectful, and honest. Healthy communication is fundamental to anyone’s relationship. When you experience a positive emotional connection with your partner, you feel safe and happy. If you and your partner are unable to talk to each other beyond the surface level, you won’t be able to grow together. Critical tools for communicating:
- You and your partner cannot read each other’s mind – Be open and tell your partner what is on your mind and what you need. It’s not always easy to talk about what you need because it can make you feel vulnerable, weak, and embarrassed. But being consistent and providing comfort and understanding to someone you love will bring you closer.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues – communication is more than just talking. Non-verbal cues, including eye contact, tone of voice, posture, and gestures, are all forms of communication. When you can pick up on your partner’s non-verbal cues (their body language), you’ll be able to tell how they feel and will know how to respond. For a relationship to work well, each person must understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues.
- Be a good listener – communication is not just about talking and voicing how you are feeling and what you want. You also have to be a good listener. If you listen to your partner in a way that makes them feel understood and valued, it will help build a more in-depth, more reliable connection between you both. There’s a big difference in listening and hearing. When you are listening, you are fully engaged in what your partner is saying to you.
- Be honest – Having a partner you can trust creates a shield that may protect you from some of life’s challenges. When you have a partner you can rely on, you feel more at ease, taking risks to help you grow as an individual. Be honest with each other about your feelings and needs, and remember that you can tell the truth lovingly and respectfully.
Limit Outside Influencers
I cannot stress this enough!! Whether you are in a relationship or you are married, both you and your partner must limit those outsiders. Now I understand that we all have our best friend or confidant that we go to whenever we need guidance or advice, which is good. It is always good to have that kind of person in your corner because you trust them and value their opinion. BUT sometimes not all advice is good advice. If you are talking to every single friend about your relationship, you will get many opinions.
Getting too many opinions about what you should or should not do in your relationship/marriage can create confusion and make it harder for you to make decisions. Not only that, if you start bringing outsiders into your relationships and start saying things like “well when I spoke to Lauren and Jessica, they told me that your reaction means you do not genuinely care about me and they said that I need to give you an ultimatum” … my dear readers, this will wreak havoc on your relationship, and it is not fear to your partner.
Friends have no place in your relationship; they should not know what is going on in your relationship. There is nothing wrong with going to your best friend/confidant to talk about your feelings. But your friend should not be dictating how you should act and what decisions you should be making. Yes, they may give advice, but ultimately, you should be able to make a sound decision without others’ influence. When a situation arises in your relationship, it should be handled between you and your partner.
Maintain Your Individuality While Being Interdependent
When you are in a new relationship, it is easy for your individuality to get lost. You end up doing everything your partner loves, and you end up spending all your time together. When my husband and I started dated, we spent hours on the phone and were always in each other’s company. We did everything together, and while this was great, we didn’t realize that we were starting to lose our individuality.
Maintaining your own identity in a relationship is necessary for your relationship to thrive. If you are doing everything with your partner and spending all your time together, you may no longer hang out with friends that you used to hang out with before the relationship, and you may no longer have separate interests. This is where interdependence comes in to play a part. True interdependence means you and your partner are both involved with each other without sacrificing your identity for the relationship.
So how can I maintain my individuality and be interdependent at the same time? By taking time apart to care of yourself, while keeping up with things that you love and enjoy doing. This will help preserve who you are as a person. It will help you to keep your independence and strength and not make you appear clingy or needy. Do not feel guilty about engaging in activities independently because it helps both persons involved to maintain their identity while bringing various experiences to the relationship. The key is finding the right balance.
Stay in touch with your partner. You do not have to be in constant communication with each other the entire day, but sending checkup texts and just being there for your loved one goes a long way, and it helps reinforce your relationship.
What’s a thriving relationship if there is no fun and positivity in it? It will be boring and just unfulfilling.The start of a relationship is always fun and filled with positivity. But as time passes along, this can fade, and the relationship can become a bit dull. It happens! That does not mean that your relationship is doomed, or your partner is not the one for you. Sometimes we can get so caught up with work, taking care of the kids, and running errands, that we forget to take time out to spend time with our partners, and thus putting the relationship at risk for becoming dull and negative.Communicate with each and make a mutual decision to be consistent in maintaining a positive attitude in the relationship. At times this may be hard because we are humans and can become susceptible to entertaining negativities. But being positive is needed to maintain a healthy balance.Take time out to have fun together. Plan a spontaneous date night (this is something hubby and I do all the time, and it is so much fun). Be playful with each other as it helps to keep the love growing, and it makes you feel closer to your partner. Talk about what fun things you enjoy doing, and do some of them together.
Touch is a fundamental part of human existence. Studies have shown how vital touch is for development. From the time a baby is born, one thing that the doctor stresses is skin-to-skin contact. This affectionate contact helps with brain development and helps the baby bond with the mother because of the oxytocin that the body releases. It does not stop at childhood. Even as adults, affectionate touch will boost your oxytocin levels and help you develop a bond and attachment with your partner.Healthy sex life does a marriage good. In most instances, having regular sex and being consistent in pleasing each other helps the relationship. It helps with intimacy, and it shows that you are still sexually attracted to your partner. When you and your partner are sexually and emotionally connected and satisfied, everything else tends to flow.Even though sex is considered the cornerstone of a relationship, it is not the only type of intimacy. Sex is great, but it is essential to understand that sex and intimacy are not the same. There are two types: Physical intimacy and emotional intimacy – holding hands, kissing, hugging, being vulnerable, feeling safe, and having a deep level connection is vital for relationships to thrive.We all yearn to be love and to be intimate with our partners (emotionally and physically). When this happens, you and your partner are giving each other security and confidence. Intimacy is more than just physical touch, it is about being open and comfortable with your partner, and not being afraid about being vulnerable.