Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

By Brent Blaisdell Ph D L M F T

Being truly healthy can mean more than eating right and exercising. It also means caring for your whole self, both physically and mentally. An important part of this is maintaining a healthy relationship with your special someone. Here are some "exercises" you can try to help build your relationship muscles.

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Tend Your Relationship Garden

Intimate relationships are like a garden; they require consistent care and attention. If couples consistently water, weed, and fertilize their relationship it is most likely to flourish. The number one reason intimate relationships die is neglect. If you are too busy for your relationship, then you are too busy!

Know Your Partners Language

Try to answer this simple question: What makes your partner feel loved? If you don't know the answer, try not to let another day go by without discovering it! One of the most effective ways to sustain a healthy relationship is the willingness of each partner to discover, and then act upon, the partners unique need or language for feeling loved. Is it being genuinely listened to, receiving a surprise gift, receiving verbal compliments, or holding hands during a movie? Find out today and act on it! You'll be amazed at the results.

Embrace Differences

All intimate relationships have to face one fact: your partner is NOT your identical twin! Differences in opinion, preferences and taste are not only normal, but healthy for intimate relationships. One of the quickest ways to destroy a relationship is the consistent effort to change your partner's personality, preferences and opinions. Research has shown that the harder you try to change your partner, the more they will resist changing. Healthy couples tend to make ample space for individual differences to exist, which allows the relationship to thrive in an atmosphere of freedom and acceptance.

Try Something New Together

Researchers have found that healthy couples often are willing to introduce new ideas and adventures to their relationship. Things like trying new recipes, traveling to different places, entertaining new ideas, and experiencing new insights create a sense of novelty and excitement which can keep a relationship fresh and alive. It seems that the old adage variety is the spice of life really rings true for many healthy couples.

Develop Realistic Expectations

One way to limit the potential of an intimate relationship is to place unrealistic expectations on your partner. Ideas like you should always be there for me, you should always know what I need, soul mates rarely disagree and the like are childlike assumptions that damage intimate relationships because they can never be lived up to. Having realistic expectations of your partner gives the relationship a much better chance to succeed in the long run.

What else would you add to this list? Leave a comment below and let us know.