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Nine Key’s to Healthy Relationships posted Feb 9, 2018

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Being in a relationship is just like securing a new job or gaining admission to study at the University of your choice. At first, it looks easy, but in time, you may find out that it becomes more challenging to be successful.  The rate of divorce is still high.  Insincerity, extramarital affairs, lack of trust, financial unfaithfulness and lack of communication between spouses are some of the reasons, relationships don’t work.  To keep your love life moving and the relationship alive, there are some key values to keeping a strong relationship.  Keep in mind that no relationship is devoid of obstacles and managing the bumps is the responsibility of both partners.  Many couples enjoy strong, successful relationships despite or even because of the challenges.  This article touches on 9 keys to building and maintaining a healthy relationship. 

TRUST - One vital thing that contributes to relationship strength is trust. It is not possible for a relationship or marriage to survive without trust, trusting your spouse is crucial to having a happy, lasting and healthy marriage. Most issues damaging trust within marriages have to do with extra-marital affairs, lying, financial insecurity and contact with ex-lovers. Lack of trust in marriage is one of the major factors contributing to divorce.

COMMUNICATION - Another factor that determines the success or failure of any relationship is communication. Through the process of communication, couples express their feelings, ideas, and exchange information. Communication in any marriage or relationship is not just verbal; it includes non-verbal behavior such as body language and facial expressions. Open and sincere dialogue is essential because it is through this means that couples identify their areas of conflict and express their expectations with each other.  Excellent communication skills do not come naturally, they must be developed. Healthy communication involves active listening, humor, and empathy. Pay attention to each other’s strength and weaknesses because when couples become unaware of their shortcomings, the relationship becomes challenging. The key to living together in peace and harmony is discovering and dealing with each other's weaknesses.

SEX – A healthy sex life within a marriage cannot be overemphasized. Lack of sexual understanding between couples is another issue that causes severe problems.  When couples neglect this area, issues arise.  This may eventually lead to divorce or separation because sex is one of the only things shared privately between husband and wife. Therefore it is vital for couples that want to have a successful relationship explore ways to engage in passionate sex.  Healthy intimacy requires that both partners discuss emotional and intimate subjects as well as physical touch.  To be able to speak to your spouse in a vulnerable way creates an intimacy that you cannot have with someone else.  This kind of communication and touch creates passion and builds a strong bond between you and your spouse. It helps your spouse know what you think of him or her far beyond the physical surface, and it creates a passion and romance between the two of you. Building and sustaining intimacy is the responsibility of both people in the relationship. If you continuously make each other feel good and loved, your relationship is strengthened, and your marriage becomes blissful.

RESPECT: Mutual respect is an essential part of every relationship and marriage. Against some conservative perceptions, respect in relationships is not skewed to either gender. You should treat your partner respectfully during happy times as well as when you’re upset. When you feel angry, taking a break to breathe and calm emotions are helpful, there is always a respectful way to express your feelings and communicate with your partner.

HONESTY:  Being honest with yourself and your partner is vital.  Being clear and upfront with your feelings builds trust. Any relationship built on dishonesty will not last, it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.  Hiding what you truly feel for fear of losing your partner creates distance and lack of trust. To enjoy a healthy relationship and a successful marriage, honesty and authenticity must be a way of life. Dishonesty shatters so many relationships and marriages, leaving the partners and children traumatized.  A lie may seem insignificant but can cause unprecedented damage in a relationship.  Assurance that you can completely trust your partner contributes to confidence, peace of mind and happiness.

APPRECIATION: How do you feel when someone appreciates you? The feeling is amazing. Imagine practicing this gesture in your relationship every day. Learn to appreciate yourself and your partner every opportunity you can. In marriage, appreciation is an antidote to divorce because it strengthens your bond and helps to build confidence in your partner. Never take appreciation for granted. Expressing appreciation and reciprocating appreciation is one of the best things you can do to build a healthy relationship. When you focus on and make appreciation a priority, you treat people differently. This also builds excitement and interest in the relationship. 

COMMITMENT: All relationships have ups and downs. Commitment is your willingness and readiness to hang on through the thick and thin. Marriage is sacred and created for partners who will be committed to protecting the union.  Growing in love and caring for each other’s needs, likes and dislikes are the sign of a committed relationship.

UNDERSTANDING: You can ensure that your relationship will be solid by sharing mutual understandings.  When we feel understood, we can release resistance and build intimacy.  Being able to trust your lover with your feelings is part of having a great relationship. When you share something personal—perhaps that you are anxious about something at work—and your partner is supportive, it builds trust. It also gives you more strength to deal with whatever comes your way. When you and your partner are willing to understanding each other, it ushers in a new aura of emotional vigor and strength to overcome all obstacles that could arise either within the relationship or in other areas of your life.

TRUE LOVE: The driving force of relationships is true love? Going into a relationship out of obligation or pressure will end in disaster.  Some couples rush into marriage because they think they’re supposed to or they are “at that age”.  If you don’t feel love for your spouse tension and apathy tends to build.  Taking time to know and love your partner ensures a healthy relationship. 

Everyone experiences challenges in relationships.  It doesn’t matter how educated or spiritual you are. Every relationship goes through a test of times which strengthens or shatters it.  Focusing on honesty and trust, healthy authentic communication, either verbally or physically, intimacy, appreciation, commitment and understanding you will uncover the true love that is already there. 

Love on!

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