5 Steps Toward Happier, Healthier Relationships

A healthy, happy relationship is an important goal that everyone should strive toward. When you are in a loving relationship, you not only make your partner happier, but you both enjoy an important source of support that enhances your lives. Better health, positive moods and increased social ties are all just a few of the benefits you get out of having a happy relationship. Yet, the road to building a relationship takes effort. Essentially, you will only get back as much as you put in so it is important to always seek new ways to bond with your partner. Whether you are hoping to strengthen a new relationship or working toward renewing one that has experienced a few cracks along the way, use these strategies to increase both you and your partner’s happiness.

Make Quality Time Together a Priority

When you are in a relationship, it is too easy to get used to simply having one another always around. While you may be in the same room technically, it does little for your relationship if your nose is buried in a book or they are busy texting on their phone. To avoid becoming disconnected, schedule quality time together into your week. As Plato once said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation,” so plan activities that can bring you closer. Trying a new restaurant, exploring a local landmark or taking a class together are just a few ideas for quality time that will provide you both with new insights into each other’s personalities.

Stay Connected with Physical Intimacy

In every relationship, the power of human touch is an important way to stay close. Make it a point to hug, kiss or touch your partner in some way throughout the day. Whether you give them a quick peck goodbye or rub their shoulders after a long day, these simple signs of affection will go a long way toward keeping you both satisfied. It is important, however, to find out exactly how your partner prefers to be touched since unwanted touching could cause them to retreat from the relationship. Spend a few minutes sharing with each other how you both prefer to give and receive affection so that you can proceed with confidence that you are on the same page.

Learn the Power of Compromise

Mother Teresa once said that, “Love does not measure. It just gives.” Too often, couples get caught in the trap of always trying to come out ahead in a relationship. Yet, winning an argument always means that someone has to lose. Over time, these types of situations can lead to resentment that will begin to break down your relationship. Instead of making disagreements a “win or lose” type of situation, focus on learning how to resolve conflict correctly. For example, you should focus on only the issue at hand and avoid bringing up mistakes from the past. It is also important to find out what your partner needs, and listen as they share their side. If you discover a problem that is bigger than you can solve on your own, then know how to find the right resources for resolving it. Sometimes, couples counseling or individual therapy is necessary to grow in a relationship.

Keep Communication Open

Good communication is critical for happiness, yet it is also important to remember that this involves more than just talking. Learn how to identify and read your partner’s emotional cues. Do they bite their lip when they are nervous? Or, perhaps they lean toward you when they are excited about something they are sharing. These little body language signals can cue you into their mood and allow you to respond accordingly. It is also important to avoid talking about difficult subjects when you are already stressed. Always be willing to offer to revisit a topic at a later time when you are both calm. As time goes by, continue to reach out to your partner and avoid assuming that you know what they are thinking and feeling. By being willing to acknowledge that people change over time, you can continue to renew your bond as you learn more about each other’s preferences.

Be Willing to Accept Change

Even the strongest relationships will encounter many ups and downs, yet it is how you handle these challenges that makes a relationship stronger. Illness, career changes and loss will inevitably affect everyone, and these types of situations can either bring you closer together, or they can break you apart. When life stresses come around, try to avoid taking it out on your partner. Although venting your anger may initially make you feel a sense of release, it will only lead to further arguments. Instead, focus on learning how to go with the flow, and try to be flexible as you both adjust to new circumstances. Remember the qualities that you adore in your partner, and lean on each other for support during challenging times.

There is no way around it. Building a happy relationship does take work. Yet, there is nothing more satisfying than learning to love your partner more and more each day. As you work through these strategies, remember to keep the surprises coming. Send your partner a quick loving text, or ask them to join you for an impromptu date. Making memories together strengthens your bond, and makes it clear that you desire your partner’s company.

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