How to Build a Healthy Relationship

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How do you build a healthy relationship? This question comes up often, and it should! Relationships aren’t easy, and like anything in life, they require a certain amount of attention, dedication, communication, and compromises. While the early months of a relationship are flooded with oxytocin, lovemaking, passion, and everything that comes with it, the reality is that once that is a successful long term relationship requires to establish healthy habits, boundaries and communication from the early stages.

In the beginning it is really important to build:

  • Build: Build a solid foundation of respect and appreciation for one another. Happy couples regularly make a point of noticing the small things that they do for each other, and they appreciate it. Rather than focusing on what your partner does wrong, make a point to notice what they do right and say Thank You regularly. This is one of the best and most vital pieces of advice that make for a solid foundation. Notice the good and comment on it and but less focus on the wrongs.
  • Establish: Create a pattern of saying sorry to your partner when you do something wrong. Apologizing and taking responsibility for your actions will go a long way. Your partner will trust you more, knowing that you take full accountability for your actions and words and that you won’t let them down.
  • Explore: Keeping exploration a fun part of your life and your relationship is very important. Know what your list of mutual interests is so that you know what you can enjoy together. Try some new activities as well together to see if you expand that list and keep communicating about things you would like to try together or things you would love to explore and see what comes up.

This brings us to the second part of this article which is what to do as the months go by and your relationship grows

  • Relationships Change: We live in a world when various events and external factors may affect and change what you want and need from your relationship. Instead of trying to prevent changes from happening, embracing them with a renewed opportunity to refresh and explore your relationship is one great piece of advice that I would like to offer.
  • Check in Periodically: Building resentment is one of the worst thing you can do for your relationship. If difficult issues are put off for too long, the relationship can drift into rocky waters and it might be harder to make a recovery. So discussing new goals and things that might bother you early is important because you can’t assume your partner just knows and will roll with anything at all times.

How To Manage Conflicts When They Arise

Any relationships will have disagreements and this is very normal when you combine two different human beings together. Disagreements are and can actually be healthy and strengthen your relationship over time when used appropriately to resolve and move your relationship in the right way.

The source of various problems may lie in unexplored expectations, unrealistic/unreasonable demands, or unresolved issues/behaviors in one partner or in your relationship. Failing to address these in the long run can cause resentment which will throw the relationship downhill.

Healthy communication is critical and especially really important when it comes to decisions regarding, career, marriage, sex and family to be made. Here are some of our recommended guidelines when it comes to communication and conflict resolution.

  • Timing is Important. Contrary to people’s belief, the best time to resolve a conflict is not always right away. Waiting for one partner or both partners to cool off is wise when things are heated. We call this a time-out. If you notice that you and your partner are going into a heated conversation, call a time-out. Agree to put to discussion on the ice for a certain period and get back to it later. This can help you guys think a little more about it and better understand it.
  • Understand Each Other’s Family Patterns. It’s essential to understand how conflicts were managed or addressed in your partner’s family. You can also talk about how the conflicts were approached or avoided in your own family. It is not unusual for couples to discover that their families had very different ways of dealing with anger and resolving differences. Finding that perhaps your family wasn’t very good at dealing with conflicts might make you understand why or why not you have difficulties with solving your differences. Give yourselves permission to try something new and explore new ways to approach conflicts and communicate. You might realize that it’s not as hard as you might think.
  • Listen Carefully. Being a good listener requires that not only do you stop interrupting your partner, you also have to focus on what they are saying other than thinking about what you might want to say or reply. You can rephrase what they said and confirm with them your understanding before moving to formulating your response and engaging in great communication.
  • Agree to Disagree and Move On. Part of being in a relationship is understanding that both partners are different and there might be certain things that might not be changeable or that you can’t fix in your partner. We all come from different backgrounds and values and sometimes if the cycle of repeated fights persists, agree to disagree and negotiate a compromise or ding a way to work around the issue.
  • Restrain Yourself. Everytime you decided to unleash on one another, you are creating damages. The repetitive bad words and insults adds up and over time will be hard to shake away. Instead of doing that when things don’t go your way, take a deep breath and restrain yourself. You will never fix anything by being mean, and being mean will only damage your relationship. If you want a better relationship, this specific part is probably one you should really focus on and probably the most important one of them all.
  • Discuss One Thing at a Time. You might have a list of things you want to address or change in your relationship, but bringing them to the table all at once might make your partner feel inadequate and overwhelmed. Do you best at resolving one concern at a time, and try not to accumulate such a long list before you start talking about things.
  • Be a Team and Stay a Team. When you commit to a relationship, one of my best and biggest advice is always to think about both of you as a team and make decision based on what’s best for the team and not just for yourself. When you think about your relationship that way, you can certainly bet that any decision will work for both since you made a point to make a decision that was in the best interest of both. Remember that one! You are a team!
  • Clarify Your Messages. Sometimes, we try to avoid saying things as they are but in my experience, the clearer you are on your needs and wants, the easier it will be for your partner to understand them. Avoiding saying things because you think your partner will judge you or not accept you, is one sure way to fail at this specific point. So don’t be afraid to be clear and precise. It will only benefits you guys in the long run.
  • Distinguish between things you want versus things you need from your partner. For example, you might need your partner to hold you tight in crowds to feel safe, but wanting him to hold you tight all the time is more of a want than a need for the sake of the relationship.

Healthy and Problematic Expectations in Relationships

Each of us enters into a romantic relationships with ideas about how the relationship should be, based on our upbringing, our family values and much more. Having unrealistic expectations can lead very quickly to deception. Rather than wanting everything at once, understanding that a relationship is build over time with commitment and dedication, will allow you to have a slower pace approach to your expectations. Down below is various ways to help you distinguish between healthy and problematic relationship expectations.

  • Express Wants and Needs. Assuming that your partner can read you perfectly and guess everything you want and need is wrong and false. A great relationship comes from clearly saying your needs and wants on both sides. This will allow you to deliver more of what your partner wants and less of what they might not need.
  • Respect Changes. As your relationship progress, so will you, and changes will come along. Anticipate that as your relationship evolves, your partner and yourself will most likely change and welcome that change is part of growing up together and creating a more prosperous and fuller relationship. Expecting your partner to remain the same as in the beginning is unrealistic and not healthy. As they change, you might have periods where you will love them more and others when things aren’t as loving, but overall this process and rolling with it will lead you to a more robust and healthier relationship.
  • Respect Your Partner’s Rights. It is important in a relationship to respect that your partner will have their own interests, goals, ambitions, friends, activities and opinions. Wanting them to have the same priorities as you at all times is unrealistic and unhealthy.
  • Be Prepared to Fight Fair. Couples who view conflicts as a threat to the relationship and avoid them, most often time pile up resentment in the background. Addressing conflicts and addressing them right away, is often times the best way to not let something build up for too long. If your partner said or did something that you weren’t pleased with, please let them know kindly so they can catch themselves right away and understand where you come from with this.
  • Accept Differences. It is important to accept that there is some things that our partners might never change about themselves no matter how much we want them to. Having the expectation that your partner will become someone else than who they are for your own benefits, is simply wrong. It is important to respect differences and accept them.
  • Maintain the Relationship. The same way that we maintain our vehicles is the same way we should address our relationship. Assuming that once the honeymoon is passed, that things will just be always alright without putting any efforts into the relationship is one sure way to arrive to failure real quick. People often get comfortable and lazy and put efforts and time in everything else than their relationship because they assume that this specific area has already been covered and is over with. If you want an awesome relationship, you have to maintain it and there is no way around that period.

Outside Pressures on the Relationship

  • Time Together and Apart. When it comes to relationships, every relationship is different. There will always be social pressure from your environment judging how much time you are spending together or apart as healthy or unhealthy. At the end, only you and your partner know what is too much or not enough time together and nobody should tell you what that should be. If you are both happy at the end of the day, that’s what matters and you shouldn’t let people tell you otherwise.
  • Your Partner’s Family. Family members can put a lot of stress on a relationship when they get involved too much or become too opinioned in your relationship. They might also provide great advice and be of great support. This is where you as a couple need to talk together and establish boundaries on what is or is not ok for them to be involved with. For example the amount of kids you should have or what kind of job you should be having are just a small portion of the various topics your families might feel the need to give their opinion on. This can provide and add pressure on a couple to listen to them instead of themselves which can be detrimental to the relationship. At the end of the day family members can have good ideas and opinions but not all of them will be right or should apply to your relationship. Establish boundaries and disregard anything that doesn’t serve your couple purpose in the short and long run.
  • Difference in Backgrounds. Even if you come from similar religious, economic, or cultural backgrounds, you might benefit from discussing expectations about how a good boyfriend or girlfriend should be. What seems like obvious to you might surprise your partner and vice versa. Assuming is one word that you should never include into a relationship. So go ahead and have these discussions. Knowing what is your expectations in one another from early on is a great way to build a strong foundation.
  • Friends. Understand that your circle of friends is different and you might not like all of your partner’s friends and vice versa. Negotiate which friends you and your partner can spend time together with and which just simply doesn’t work and should be seen apart. Giving up friends for your relationship is never a good idea unless these friends gets you involved in activities that are detrimental to the wellness of your relationship.

Eight Basic Steps to Maintaining a Good Relationship

  1. Focus on the good and less on the bad
  2. Be aware of what you and your partner want for yourselves and what you want from the relationship.
  3. Be clear and precise about your needs and wants.
  4. Do not demand that your partner change to meet all of your expectations. Understand that nobody is perfect is working to accept differences will make you love your partner even more.
  5. Realize that your partner will not be able to meet all of your needs and that some of these needs will have to be met outside of the relationship and that is ok.
  6. Try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand where they are coming from genuinely. Understand your partner is power and it can only benefit you in the long run and your relationship.
  7. Do your best to treat your partner in a way that says ”I Love you and trust you and I want to work this out” .
  8. If you need help, seek counselling.

Relationship Issues and Counseling

At Peak Coaching, we offer relationship help, advice and counseling to steer you in the direction you always wanted your relationship to go. It is our pleasure to help relationship flourish and also something my wife and I are passionate about. Check out our relationship counseling services here and book an appointment if you need help. . Build a healthy relationship today!

Reading List of Helpful Resources:

The Communication Skills Book by Fanning, Patrick, Matthew McKay & Martha Davis New Harbinger, (1995)

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by Gottman, John M. & Nan Silver Three Rivers Press, (2000)

Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship by New Harbinger Publications

Peak Coaching Performance and Mindset Life Coaching

At Peak Coaching, we are interested in helping clients boost their capabilities and overcome challenges and obstacles they are currently facing in their life. Please check out our services and see if we could help you in any way in achieving your goals right now. Here are our services

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