Throughout history, humans have always craved interaction and intimate relationships.
The ways we’ve gone about achieving this may differ, but the goal has always been the same: to connect.
Whether as Neanderthal men trying to hunt the biggest buck to bring back to our cave and impress our women, or as excited girlfriends planning a surprise for our men, we’ve always wanted to build substantial ties with each other.
Human relationships are more complicated nowadays, but there are still ways to navigate the waters. People enter into relationships for several reasons. However, for those interested in building relationships, this article will serve as a trusted guide.
Identifying a healthy relationship
Because people’s needs differ, what defines a healthy relationship for them may vary from case to case and from time to time. What a woman wants in her 20s may not be what she needs in her 40s. However, some signs point in the right direction.
Relationships that promote trust, communication, and freedom are highly recommended. Partners should see each other as their safe space—a place they can be themselves in. A reluctance to share how one feels with their partner is usually a red flag.
Creating the ideal environment to build together
Falling in love is great, but that romantic “high” won’t last forever. Setting relationships on the right path is a little more than saying those three magic words. It takes time and commitment to create a positive relationship, but it is always worth it.
When in a relationship, always strive to grow—both individually and as a couple. Contrary to popular belief, career growth shouldn’t be an antagonist to building healthy relationships. They go hand in hand, and shared visions can create stronger bonds than exciting sex.
Both partners should have similar goals for the relationship from the start. They should ask the important questions. Wanting the same things from day one will go a long way in seeing the relationship flourish.
How to keep the fire going
When the relationship is underway, the last thing anyone wants is for it to suddenly fizzle out. To keep the fire burning, both partners need to actively stoke the flames.
The following tips are more than relationship advice—they’re wholesome guides to sustaining happiness in relationships:
1. Learn to love yourself.
The first step to loving someone else is to first love ourselves. One can’t give something they don’t have. No matter how sincere one’s intentions are, if they don’t learn to love themselves, the negative effects will trickle down to their partners.
Loving and being comfortable with one’s self means that they know what is good for them. This will help the relationship grow because if at some point things start seeming off, they will know to identify and address it early. A person who loves themselves will also be more likely to teach their partner how to love them.
2. Extend this love to them.
While loving yourself, remember to extend the love to your partner. The last thing any relationship needs is an imbalance. Knowing that both parties deserve to be loved equally will set the tone for a smooth experience.
Showering each other with love will help the relationship. This can be done in the form of words of affirmation, gifts, touch, or physical intimacy. Partners should find out each other’s love language and speak it. How?
3. Communicate and be sensitive to each other.
Communication is vital for the health of a relationship, and so, lovers should be attentive to each other. As it was mentioned in the previous step, knowing their love language will help. The best partners see each other’s needs like theirs, and solving an unspoken need that our boyfriend/girlfriend has is one of the best ways to show them that we care.
Listening to their body language, what they say, and what they aren’t saying are ways to train our sensitivity to our partner.
4. Hold each other to realistic standards.
Relationships in which partners are accountable for their actions are on a positive path. Of course, this accountability should come from a place of love. Having standards and sticking to them will help relationships grow.
Set realistic standards and slowly grow with them. Setting a low bar for our partner will only lead to a deterioration in the quality of that relationship. When people determine what they want from their partner and vice versa, it is easier for both parties to live up to expectations.
5. Understand how fragile trust is.
Healthy relationships have a full dose of trust. Some even argue that trust is more important than love. Trust is more than believing people won’t cheat or lie; it’s knowing that the relationship is the one place to get away from emotional or physical abuse.
The thing with trust, however, is that it is fragile: easier to break than it is to build. However, to sustain a healthy relationship, we need to create a trust-filled environment. Knowing our partner’s fears and helping them overcome them is a great way to build trust while being the source of their fear is a one-way ticket to an unhappy relationship.
Finally, healthy relationships are not without blemish. The fact that certain things are expected of ideal relationships doesn’t mean lovers should be perfect. We’re all dating human beings and not robots—at least, not yet.
Knowing that forgiveness is a huge part of healthy relationships will help put things into perspective. Partners should correct each other with affection when they falter. Building a healthy relationship is a marathon and not a 100-meter Usain Bolt classic.