How to keep relationships healthy

How do relationships get stuck?

Relationships are meant to make you feel good, help you through hard times and give you a safe space to be yourself. What better way to feel at home and protected?

However, relationships can sometimes get stuck. Somehow, you find yourselves constantly bickering over small things, snapping at each other and feeling resentful.

So how did it get to this? It may be that at one point you felt like your partner didn’t support you as you’d hoped, or you might be at a difficult phase in your life and this is being projected on your couple.

There are many possible causes, but the point is that one or more of these things might have made you forget the small things that make a relationship work. Your relationship difficulties may be deep-rooted, but bringing back the small things will put you in a good position to address any issues that you have.

What can you do about it?

Creating positive habits can go a long way in keeping relationships healthy and nourished. It goes without saying however that not all relationships are made to last. In any case, making small changes will give you the clarity you need to do what’s best for your relationship – whether that’s to end it or to continue.. Try our tips!

Focus on the positives

Do this when you are having negative feelings about your partner

  • In life, we all tend to find ourselves focusing on what we don’t have, or what could be going better
  • The same goes for relationships, where we tend to focus on our partner’s negative habits rather than their qualities
  • Try to make a list of the things you love about your partner, and remember to go back to it when you’re feeling negative about them
  • Note that this does not mean that you should be oblivious to your partner’s faults – we all have them and being aware of them is important (e.g. especially if you are in an unhealthy relationship and your partner’s faults outweigh their qualities)
  • However, it helps to focus your mind on the positives once in a while and take the attention away from negative thoughts

Compromise

Always do this

  • Do you find it hard to get along with your partner’s friends? Do you feel like their family is too loud and obnoxious?
  • Although it may be tempting to refuse to see your partner’s friends/family or to go on an activity that they love and you really dislike, think twice before saying no
  • In a relationship, you are bound to like different things and be attached to different people and the more you try to understand that, the better your relationship will be
  • At least once in a while, try to go along to activities that your partner plans – even if you would much rather be watching your favourite series on the couch with some ice cream
  • Supporting each other, even if it doesn’t spell fun for both of you, will help you be more of a strong team together

Pick your battles

Always do this

  • Some things are a bigger deal than others, and picking on every single thing that you partner does wrong (in your eyes!) will only lead to constant bickering
  • Instead, try to think of what really matters to you vs. what you find slightly annoying but can live with
  • For example, it may be that you dislike your partner leaving their shoes in the entrance, but you feel very strongly about them disrespecting you in front of your friends
  • Make sure that you discuss bigger issues and work through them, but try not to get hung up on smaller things
  • You might feel like you’re giving up on your standards but actually, you’re making your couple life a little bit more serene!

Understand and apologise

Do this after conflict

  • Conflict can be hard to resolve because both parties are convinced they are right
  • However, failing to see the other person’s point of view and refusing to apologise is a bad habit that can be hard to shake
  • Following a fight, try to sit down with you partner and ensure you both have the space to explain your point of view (without interruptions from the other person!)
  • Make sure that you really understand your partner’s point of view and both apologise for making them feel bad, and make sure you really mean it!

Spend quality time together

Try to do this as much as possible

  • Just because you see each other every day, it doesn’t mean that you are spending meaningful moments together
  • It’s easy (and totally fine!) to get caught up in the daily grind and get home, cook some dinner and eat it in front of your favourite show
  • However, it’s also important to make sure that you schedule some time together – without kids, family or friends – to re-connect and do things that you both love
  • This will not only bring you closer together, but will also create a space to discuss any concerns and fears you might have

Communicate

Always do this

  • As obvious as this sounds, it’s so true
  • We all tend to bottle up our feelings until they either burst out when something trivial happens (ever lost your temper over a glass of spilled water?!) or they make us feel worse and worse and we can’t hold it in anymore
  • Regardless of how well connected you are with your partner, it’s unlikely that they can read your mind, so make sure to be open with them about your feelings
  • Make sure to be respectful and avoid placing the blame on them when you do so, but make sure your communicate!

Be respectful

Always do this

  • Remember to show your partner the respect that you show to your close friends
  • This goes for everything, from being mindful of his/her time to listening to their point of view and refraining from mockery and criticism
  • It’s easy to fall into the trap of being rude and disrespectful to partners because we feel like, unlike a friend, they are less likely to call us out on it
  • Whether this is true or not, lack of respect is a slippery slope which is hard to come back from once these habits are ingrained in the relationship

Show appreciation

Always do this

  • As cheesy as this sounds, make sure you let your partner know that you love and appreciate them
  • This can be anything as simple as thanking them for doing something for you, organising a small surprise or simply telling you love them
  • We’ve all had a boss that never encouraged or thanked us for our hard work – isn’t it frustrating?
  • We all need to feel appreciated and our couples are not exception. You might think your partner knows how much you love them, but vocalising it is important.

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