By: Charlotte Miller
Let’s talk about relationships. Describing a healthy relationship is nearly impossible, as there is no blueprint. What a healthy relationship looks like to one person can be entirely different from another. Some people may think constant affection or physical attraction is the key to a healthy relationship. Others believe it is respecting boundaries or having a shoulder to cry on. I am in no way a relationship guru, but through my trials and tribulations, I definitely have some learned tips for optimizing your relationship with your S.O. and evolving in tandem with your partner.
Tip 1: Remind yourself to be grateful
- You are with someone that you love spending time with. You share laughs and stories while making constant memories together. We often take it for granted, but it is something to appreciate and cherish!
Tip 2: Strive to learn something new about them
- As you both grow, change, and evolve as individuals, your relationship will too. You are simultaneously improving yourself and your relationship.
Tip 3: Put your phone down when they are talking
- This might seem trivial, but it is a poor habit we all tend to do at some point. Your S.O. wants to feel heard and listened to; respecting that starts with actively listening to them. Your phone is NOT part of the relationship.
Tip 4: Be receptive to their needs
- Communication is key. What your partner needs can differ from year to year or even week to week. Communicate what you want and need out of the relationship and listen to their response- this is a symbiotic conversation.
Tip 5: Remember there is a difference between compromising and settling
- If you find that you are repeatedly the only one compromising, you need to take a step back and ask yourself: are the compromises mutual? Are they making both of us happier? Or am I settling for only what they want?
Tip 6: Respond, don’t react
- Disagreements in relationships are inevitable, but reacting to one another’s comments are fueled by emotions and oftentimes impulsivity. Take in what they say, digest it, and then respond.
FINAL TIP: Be kind
- “Studies of intimate relationships demonstrate that being kind to a partner in a time of personal need is associated with greater relationship satisfaction (e.g. Pasch& Bradbury, 1998) (Mcnulty & Finchman, 2012).
I hope these tips guide you and your partner in the right direction and towards a happier and healthier relationship that emphasizes valuing, appreciating, and loving one another. If you are realizing your partner is NOT it, don’t worry- we’ve all been there. Stay tuned for the Dos and Don’ts of a single, post-break-up life.
McNulty, J., & Fincham, F. (2012). Beyond positive psychology? Toward a contextual view of psychological processes and well-being. The American Psychologist, 67(2), 101–110. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024572