by Samantha Knowles
A strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best things in your life. Good relationships improve all aspects of your life, strengthening your health, your mind, and your connections with others. However, if the relationship isn't working, it can also be a tremendous drain. Relationships are an investment. The more you put in, the more you can get back.
Everyone's relationship is unique, and people come together for many different reasons. But there are some things that good relationships have in common. Knowing the basic principles of healthy relationships helps keep them meaningful, fulfilling and exciting in both happy times and sad. What makes a healthy love relationship? Here are a few tips:
1. Staying involved with each other. Some relationships get stuck in peaceful coexistence, but without truly relating to each other and working together. While it may seem stable on the surface, lack of involvement and communication increases distance. When you need to talk about something important, the connection and understanding may no longer be there.
2. Getting through conflict. Some couples talk things out quietly, while others may raise their voices and passionately disagree. The key in a strong relationship, though, is not to be fearful of conflict. You need to be safe to express things that bother you without fear of retaliation, and be able to resolve conflict without humiliation, degradation or insisting on being right.
3. Keeping outside relationships and interests alive. No one person can meet all of our needs, and expecting too much from someone can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on a relationship. Having friends and outside interests not only strengthens your social network, but brings new insights and stimulation to the relationship, too.
4. Communicating. Honest, direct communication is a key part of any relationship. When both people feel comfortable expressing their needs, fears, and desires, trust and bonds are strengthened. Nonverbal cues--body language like eye contact, leaning forward or away, or touching someone's arm--are critical to communication.
Are these things alive and well in your relationship? Take a good look at your partnership and evaluate what is working (and what isn't working). A key to making your relationship work, no matter what it looks like, is to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want out of a relationship. If romance is important to you, and you are not getting that from your partner, you need to address that with your partner. Don't downplay your needs as it will only lead to resentment.
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