Relationship Guide: How to Build A Healthy Relationship in 8 Easy Steps
Connection is one of the core human needs. We thrive on love and connection and building deep intimate relationships with others.
However, there is no such thing as a perfect relationship –healthy relationships, like anything worthwhile in life, require hard work and commitment. While every couple has its ups and downs, relationship challenges can be an opportunity for growth, strengthening your personality and bond with the partner.
Finding a healthy and supportive partner is the first step towards a happy and strong relationship. Relationship experts believe that the key to a healthy relationship is being vulnerable and mindful of our own and our partner’s needs and feelings without judging ourselves or one another. While every relationship is unique, there are some universal guidelines to help you build and a healthy relationship.
Eight Steps to Strengthening Your Relationship
1. Turn to Each Other’s Bids for Connection
Based on his extensive relationship research, Dr. John Gottman from the Gottman Institute concluded that the foundation of every happy and lasting relationship is a positive connection.
We regularly send and receive bids for emotional connection to and from people around us. These bids can be expressed through touches, actions, and words of affirmation.
There are three ways you can react to your partner’s emotional bids:
- Turning towards
- Turning against
- Turning away
Turning towards each other’s bids helps build a stable, lasting relationship because it means acceptance and support. Each time when you turn toward one another’s emotional bid, you are sending a series of accepting messages, such as “I hear you. I want to be with you. I am here for you, I appreciate you.”
Although it is not possible to turn toward every single emotional bid, partners who regularly respond positively to each other’s bids for connection seem to be happier and have more positive relationships than those who don’t.
2. Nurture Vulnerability
A healthy relationship requires vulnerability. This aspect of trust is key to better communication, mutual understanding, and acceptance.
Although many of us have internalized a belief that vulnerability is a sign of weakness, we show courage and readiness to bond deeply by exposing our sensitive side to others.
It is never easy or risk-free to open up entirely and let another person into the most intimate corners of your mind. However, learning not to be afraid of exposing yourself and sharing who you indeed are can help understand, accept, and support each other.
Acceptance can help you both develop as individuals and strengthen your relationship.
3. Practice Open Communication
Cultivating positive communication in a relationship means that you can listen when differences arise and talk through your problems cooperatively. It also means nurturing honesty, openness, and trust. Honesty and trust are the backbones of a healthy relationship. Once the trust in a relationship is broken, it can take a long time to recover it, if ever.
Healthy and open communication in a relationship doesn’t mean the absence of conflicts. Conflicts are not just normal but also necessary part of human relationships. They can help you learn about each other and grow as a couple. So instead of avoiding conflicts, learn strategies for healthy resolution and practice them together with your partner.
Communication difficulties in a relationship usually leave both partners stressed and anxious. To avoid reaching this point in your relationship, you need to nurture empathy.
Readiness to view things from your partner’s perspective will help you understand each other thoroughly and maintain a strong and healthy relationship.
4. Know and Practice One Another’s Love Language
People usually express love in different ways and prefer a specific love language above others. According to marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman five most common ways people give and receive love include:
- Words of affirmation
- Physical touch
- Gift giving
- Acts of service
- Quality time together
Does your partner value when you do something practical to help them out or seem the happiest when you hug after a long day?
Do they prefer spending an interrupted leisure time with you or appreciate it more when you surprise them with a gift?
Identifying which love language your partner likes better can help you understand each other, respond to each other’s emotional bids, maintain closeness and intimacy, and feel loved and supported.
5. Give Each Other Space
Keeping a part of life just for yourself is an excellent thing for a relationship. It is healthy and necessary to spend time apart, have separate interests, hobbies, and activities. This allows personal growth and helps you come back to your partner at the end of the day energized and optimistic.
6. Cherish Each Other’s Differences
Instead of letting the differences between you become the obstacles, turn them into opportunities for growth. Accept the differences in your personalities, needs, and expectations without judging and learning from one another. Mutual acceptance will make you both feel safe to show vulnerability and be who you indeed are.
7. Nurture Your Chemistry
How do you know if there is good chemistry between the two of you? Well, you don’t know; you simply feel it. If your relationship feels like coming home and you feel as though you have known your partner for years, there is a deep emotional connection between you.
If you can laugh together, enjoy your time together, whether you are running errands together or having sex, keep that chemistry going.
Laughing together, regularly showing affection, nurturing your sexual chemistry and vulnerability can strengthen your bond, helping you feel intimate and connected.
8. Consider Couples Coaching
Couples coaching is not only for broken relationships. Coaching can strengthen your relationship, help you understand each other better, or rekindle closeness. Many couples find relationship counseling beneficial for finding ways to communicate better, accepting each other’s differences, and understanding their partner’s feelings, needs, and expectations.
Couples coaching provides a safe context to work on your relationship, allowing you to develop new insights and learn skills to build and maintain a healthy relationship.
Of course, in order to have a healthy relationship with someone else, we need to have a healthy relationship with ourselves. If you would like to discuss coaching, book a time to chat at www.chatwithkamini.com