Nurturing a healthy relationship is incredibly rewarding and satisfying. When you know that you have a partner on your side helping and encouraging you, it's easier to face life's challenges and strive to be the best version of yourself. Plus, doing the same for another person will develop you into a more loving, compassionate person.
But maintaining a relationship is a challenge. You won't always get along with your partner, and sometimes you'll feel too emotionally exhausted to do everything required to hold up your end of the partnership. It takes time, effort, and focus to nurture a relationship. Sometimes you'll need to compromise or even sacrifice something for your partner.
Even though it's difficult, it's ultimately worth it. You'll feel more connected to your partner and happier in your relationship. We spend so much of our lives searching for a good relationship. If you've found one, do whatever you can to be the best partner you can be.
Below, I've listed a several relationship dos and don'ts. Although they're not a cure-all, following these rules will help guide you toward a happy, healthy relationship with your partner.
Be respectful of your partner
One of the most important rules that you can follow is to be respectful of your partner at all times. There is a reason why you chose to start a relationship with this person - hopefully many reasons! By remembering these things, you'll naturally be more inclined to respect them and everything they bring to your life.
So often, we mistreat the people who love us best. This is because we know unconsciously that they will keep loving us even when we make a mistake, or aren't trying as hard as we can. Having a soft place to land is a wonderful thing, but don't take advantage of the love of your partner. Actively choose to love them back.
Let Go of Old Hurts
Conflict is a natural part of any relationship. Even the closest, most loving couples won't always agree with each other. But in order to keep your relationship healthy, you need to put each argument to bed when you finish the discussion - for good.
If you constantly bring up old mistakes, it's going to be very difficult to successfully resolve future conflicts. When you introduce past arguments into the discussion, it's impossible to move forward. Once you resolve a particular situation, leave it there. In the future, you'll be able to focus on the topic at hand and resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.
Surprise your partner
Keep your partner on their toes - in a good way! Surprising someone with a special gift, a back rub, or their favorite dinner is a great way to make them feel special. Not every surprise has to be a big production - the smallest surprises are often the most meaningful.
If your life is too routine, the years will pass you by before you know it. Shake things up every so often so that you appreciate every day that you spend with your partner. Staying in love is a special experience. Honor it and the impact that it has on your life.
Don't behave contemptuously toward your partner
A study by the Gottman Institute found that contempt is the number one predictor of divorce in married couples. When you behave contemptuously toward your partner, you are tearing them down, where your responsibility is to build them up. This is a serious problem for your relationship.
Being contemptuous means that you are placing yourself in a superior position to your partner, making them feel like they are inferior to you. If you notice yourself engaging in this kind of behavior, you need to cut it out immediately or you are risking your entire relationship. And if this is the case, I would encourage you to seek help in finding out why this dynamic has become a part of your relationship.
It's easy to let your relationship consume your whole life. Presumably, you enjoy spending time with your partner, which is one of the reasons you got into the relationship in the first place. Being together will help nourish your relationship, and you should set aside time to spend with your love.
Equally important is the time that you spend on your own. Just as you make time for your partner, be sure you are taking time for yourself. This can be time alone or with friends, but it's an important part of maintaining a healthy relationship. Your partner fell in love with the independent version of you, so don't let that person disappear into the relationship. Your love will last longer and be stronger if you remain true to yourself.
Never withhold affection
For me, physical and emotional affection is one of the best parts of being in a relationship. Being affectionate makes me feel closer to my partner. When I don't get enough affection, I feel neglected and even resentful.
In your own relationship, do your best to show your partner how you feel about them on a regular basis. And keep in mind that not everyone gives and receives love in the same way. Consider taking the Five Love Languages quiz with your partner so that you can learn more about the ways that each of you prefer to give and receive love and affection.
How do you keep your relationship strong and healthy? How do you make your partner feel special and loved?