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What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One

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What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One

You probably think that couples that have a good relationship don’t fight, rarely go to bed angry, spend all their time together and are super romantic. This is the mindset that makes many couples feel defeated in their relationships, especially when they are going through conflict.

Just because you disagree with your partner every once in a while; or probably a little bit more than that, doesn’t mean that you cannot have a great relationship. Even the almost perfect relationship experiences misunderstandings, arguments, and disputes.

Your relationship is one of the most crucial components of your life. Many people put all their effort on the flirting and the dating, and then totally ignore their relationship once they are together. Developing and maintaining the relationship with your partner is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

Your relationship affects your stress levels, health, and happiness. No relationship is perfect all the time. However, connecting with your partner emotionally, physically and romantically is such a fantastic thing that it deserves all your effort. Here are some tips for building a healthy relationship:

1. Communicate with patience

Communication is one of the essential qualities of a great relationship. Unfortunately, experts indicate that many couples do not know how to communicate appropriately; or even communicate at all.

Healthy couples vocalize their love for one another. They take time to discuss their feelings, and they don’t leave their partners trying to figure out what’s going on. When partners make assumptions, expectations are set and just as quickly, they are deflated. The unmet expectations then leave partners questioning the viability of the relationship.[1]

Partners in a healthy relationship discuss even the most challenging subjects and agree to disagree. They know that they will not always see eye to eye and that’s ok. They, therefore, respect each other’s opinions and ideas.

They talk about sex openly and honestly. When partners tell each other what they find enjoyable and what they don’t like, they have better sex and, consequently, have a stronger relationship.

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Some couples even go as far as seeing a counseling service. Your insurance may even cover a set amount of sessions per year. So if your paying for them why not use them. Otherwise the cost is anywhere from $5 to $300 per hour,[2] this typically depends on your location and any entitlements/benefits you are eligible for.

2. Compromise

Every relationship will be punctuated by conflict. It is not a conflict that affects your relationship, but how you handle issues. The most crucial element in solving the conflict in your relationship is compromise.[3] You cannot be the one who is right all the time and it shouldn’t be you who always has the answers.

Keep an open mind, and you will be surprised at how a bit of compromise can go a long way.

3. Appreciate often

Many times, couples fall into patterns and take for granted all the things that their partners do for them. Notice all the small things that your partner does for you and thank them.

Appreciation is an excellent motivator to your partner, and it generates positive feelings within the relationship. Also, when you consciously practice appreciation and gratitude, you will focus more on the good instead of fixating on the negatives, and you will be much happier in your relationship.[4]

4. Always respect each other

Your relationship with your partner will thrive if you both feel respected by each other.

Respecting your partner comes in many forms: being mindful of their feelings, beliefs, time, and trust.

Conversely, many things can break down the respect in your relationship:[5]

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  • Name calling
  • Talking negatively about your partner to friends and family
  • Threatening to leave the relationship

5. Allow for personal space

Your relationship will be healthy if you allow room for each other to foster individuality. Allow each other time for friends, family, hobbies and other individual interests. This will help you and your partner to not only maintain separate identities but also nourish a healthy sense of self.

Spending all the time together might not only make you and your partner feel as if you are suffocating in the relationship but will also create an unhealthy co-dependence.

6. Be each other’s rock

Everyone goes through tough times, and when your partner is experiencing a personal challenge, your support can make the world of difference.

Also, no matter how independent you are, teach yourself to lean on your partner for support. Going through hard times together will bring you closer and strengthen your relationship.[6]

7. Be responsible for your happiness

Sometimes, partners expect too much from each other. People who were never happy hope to be happy because they are in a relationship; those who were never confident hope to feel confident; those who never felt they had value expect to feel valued just because they are a couple.

Unfortunately, looking to your partner to provide you with happiness and self-worth will lead to gross disappointment. It is entirely in order to expect your partner to treat you well, but your happiness and self -worth should come from within.

8. Learn more about each other

Who is your partner really? What excites him/her? What are their goals and dreams? You can become consumed by what you think your partner needs as opposed to knowing what truly resonates with them.

Remember, what your partner wants does not have to make sense to you: you just have to understand it.

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9. Learn to validate your partner’s feelings

Validating your partner increases the emotional security of your relationship, which is a crucial component of a healthy relationship. Listen to your partner without the urge to analyze, solve or fix things.

Even when you do not understand your partner’s point of view, you can always say: ‘I hear you!’

Validate your partner’s feelings unconditionally, and you will help them feel that you are a safe ally and that they are not alone. No feelings are invalid.[7]

Here’s why your lover doesn’t want your advice, but your validation.

10. Check in with each other

At the end of a long day, the standard question between couples is: ‘How was your day?’ Generally, the question will yield a superficial answer such as ‘Fine. How was yours?’ This will not in any way improve the connection between you and your partner.

Instead, ask questions like ‘What was the most challenging part of your day? And you will be amazed at how much insight you will gain into your loved one.

Seek to become an expert on your partner, and you will find it much easier to make them happy.[8]

11. Fight appropriately

Disagreeing is perfectly healthy. Just because you are fighting does not mean that you do not love each other or that you are headed for a breakup. You merely have a difference of opinion.

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Remind yourselves that you are on the same team. Negotiate your disagreements successfully by assuring yourselves that ultimately, you want the same outcome: peace and fulfillment in your relationship.

When you have things in the right perspective, you will not attack or intentionally hurt each other during arguments. Instead, you will strive to understand each other and work towards a solution.

12. Sleep on it

If you realize that your argument has hit a dead end, shelf it to another time; the next morning or later in the day. However, experts recommend that do not wait longer than a full day to revisit the issue.

13. Keep things interesting

You will change over and over again in the course of your relationship and so will your partner. Keep things in your relationship interesting by trying new activities and breaking out of your normal routine.

Seek to stay attractive with each other not only physically, but also intellectually. Bring new ideas and perspectives into your relationship and bring up topics that are genuinely engaging to your partner.

Learn from this article how to keep the spark alive in a relationship.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, if you want to build a great relationship, aim to make your partner feel good about themselves. The times your partner spends with you should not make them feel apprehensive but excited and energized.

The secret is to ensure that the good times in your relationship are more than the fights and the arguments. Your relationship should not feel like a second job, but a source of pleasure, fun, and comfort. You should look forward to being together after a long day at work.

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Finally, do not compare your relationship with others: their homes, jobs, vacations. Things are seldom what they look like.

Featured photo credit: Juliana Malta via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Randy Skilton

Randy is an educator in the areas of relationships and self-help.

Do Rebound Relationships Work Out? Why They Will and Won’t How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger 10 Fun Relationship Quizzes to Strengthen Your Bond with Your Partner

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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