Obviously there is no such thing as “the perfect relationship” — practically every single couple has their challenges. Regardless, there are definitely some couples who flourish, and others who struggle. So, what exactly is the key when it comes to the most successful relationships? Well, first up: relationship satisfaction does not happen by fluke. Healthy couples work intentionally and consistently to create and maintain their love.
If you’re floundering in the relationship department and you’re in need of a little bit of help, I’ve got you covered! Here are 11 Meaningful Actions To Create A Healthy Relationship:
Ask For What You Need
Important point to remember: your partner is not a mind reader! They see the world differently, they have different expectations, and they’ve had completely different life experiences to you. It’s up to you to communicate your thoughts, feelings, and needs — sometimes multiple times! Healthy couples know that there is no room to make assumptions. Rather, they get into a habit of asking for exactly what they need; while at the same time, lovingly making space for their partner’s needs, too. The happiest couples talk honestly and openly about their individual desires, and they respect and honour one another’s differences.
Speak Your Partner’s Love Language
In light of the point above, every single person gives and receives love in their own unique way. It’s not just a matter of “right vs. wrong” — it’s about finding that perfect balance of what works for you and your significant other. Your needs will most probably be different; and that’s 100% expected! Author and relationship counsellor, Gary Chapman, pioneered the concept of The 5 Love Languages. These 5 languages encompass gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Healthy couples are exceptionally in tune with how their partners give and receive love. Having this sense of awareness helps support reciprocity, intimacy, and care within their relationship.
Express Daily Appreciation
Healthy relationships are based on patterns of positive expression, connection, and intimacy. These couples aim to acknowledge and recognise their partner on a daily basis. Now this doesn’t have to be something extravagant — it just has to be genuine and sincere. Most of the couples whom I coach frequently express that they do not feel appreciated or acknowledged by their partners. Human beings all need to be validated by their partners to a certain degree; so regularly expressing gratitude can have far-reaching positive outcomes!
Talk About The Difficult Stuff
You have 2 options when it comes to the sticky relationship topics: (i) avoid them and hope that they magically disappear, or (ii) lean into them, practice being authentic, and deal with whatever happens! When you avoid your problems, you give them room to grow and fester; which means at some point they’ll eventually come leaking out in other ways. Healthy couples will make an intentional effort to address such difficult topics. They take the time to discuss them openly and explore tangible solutions. No, it’s not always easy; but it’s absolutely crucial.
Forgive And Move On
Couples in healthy relationships recognise that the foundation for their relationship is forgiveness. In all honesty, a relationship cannot survive without it. You need to learn how to sincerely apologise and forgive your SO if you want a peaceful existence and a solid relationship. Apologising is not just about making a fight disappear; it’s a genuine attempt to overcome a problem together as a team, and then move on from it. In a healthy relationship, you’ll choose being happy over being right. This generally requires an honest and sincere apology. This translates as taking responsibility, like: “I’m sorry because I…”.
Do Chores Together
Few things harbour as much resentment as feeling as though you’re your partner’s domestic house worker! Division of house-chores is actually one of the top complaints that bring couples into counselling! Any healthy couple makes it a priority to do their chores together. They might not like it, but they do it. You might hate washing dishes, while your partner might despise making the bed; but you need to have a discussion about how you can divide your tasks up, and then rally to get them done! Doing chores together builds trust, closeness, and helps keep resentment under wraps.
Make Time To Cuddle
Communication in relationships is essential, of course, but people often forget how meaningful touch can be. Physical touch releases oxytocin — which is often referred to as the “love hormone” because of the massive role it plays in relationship bond maintenance. Furthermore, it relieves emotional and physical pain, supports immune health, and helps deepen intimacy. All healthy couples make it a top priority to engage in daily physical touch and affection, regardless of how “busy” or “tired” they may be.
It’s natural for couples to have disagreements and arguments and, admittedly, sometimes it happens far more often than you might want it to; but a relationship that has regular disagreements is not necessarily an unhealthy one. It’s how the challenges are handled which determines the health of a relationship.
“Fighting fair” means that you stay away from what marriage researcher and author, Dr. John Gottman, calls The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse. These are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Active engagement in any of these behaviours has clinically been proven to lessen the sustainability of any given relationship. Healthy couples acknowledge and understand these self-protecting impulses, but they rarely act on them.
Be Willing To Reach Out For Help
A healthy couple is a couple who is not afraid to ask for help. This might feel daunting, time consuming, and plain frightening; but a healthy couple recognises how important it is to have external support when they’re unable to solve their issues by themselves. This support can come from a counsellor (check out my Love Flame Method course to find out more 💗🔥), a mentor, a couples’ workshop — or really any other person whom you feel safe opening up to, and who is able to give you objective insights. The most important thing is the fact that you recognise that you need support, and you go after that with genuine intentions.
10. Respect Boundaries
It’s not often that you’ll see a healthy relationship that is lacking boundaries. Boundaries set the space between where you end and someone else begins. Healthy couples pinpoint and respect one another’s boundaries as a way of ensuring that their needs are being met; and also to feel safe and secure in their relationship. Topics might include emotional boundaries (e.g. how much time to spend together vs. apart), physical boundaries (e.g. physical touch and sex), and even digital boundaries (e.g. how often to check in, posting about your relationship, following each others friends on social media etc.).
Spend Time Alone
A healthy relationship possesses a sense of both closeness as well as independence. In other words, they realise the importance of having a life individual to that of their SO. The extent to which partners succeed in honouring one another’s needs for togetherness vs. separateness drastically impacts their overall relationship satisfaction. Having an ability to separate yourself from your partner and enjoy time by yourself signifies a relationship that has immense trust, and a solid, healthy attachment system.