How many relationships are truly healthy? Hopefully you have some good examples all around you in the form of family, friends and others in your inner circle.
But, unfortunately, these positive examples are not always the norm. Couples often have a spark at the start of a relationship before it quickly fades, or the two partners begin to realize that the original connection was never that deep. Things fall apart quickly. Heartbreak is the outcome.
You don’t want this to be your fate. And it’s important to recognize that even the best relationships can fail without enough effort. Staying together will require constant vigilance. In particular, you must pay attention and nurture the following three areas if you want to build and maintain a healthy relationship.
1. Be Open Together
Communication is at the core of any good relationship. You should be comfortable sharing your life with one another and never keep things hidden.
But this doesn’t just mean not telling lies, as that alone is insufficient. Instead, you both need to work continually to not keep grievances and even small annoyances bottled up. Naturally, you don’t need a family meeting over someone forgetting to do the dishes, but all significant matters should be discussed with compassion and honesty.
2. Keep the Spark Alive
No matter who you are — even if you’re mill worker Noah Calhoun or rich girl Allie from The Notebook — the original passion of a relationship will begin to fade. Humans are creatures of habit, and years upon years of waking up to the same person means you’ll start to see them differently. The handsome man in the leather jacket or sexy girl you took on vacation will start — at least on some level — to become dad or mom to your kids.
So, you need to work to keep that initial spark alive. One of the best ways to do this is by giving gifts that let each other know you still have that desire. Buy some stylish lingerie that will make both of you remember what it was like to see each other with fresh eyes. It may seem like a small thing, but it is vitally important.
3. Be Alone Together
Another great way to keep the love alive — not just in the bedroom but emotionally and spiritually — is by spending extended time together. A long relationship can transform into a household management exercise and childcare factory if you’re not vigilant. Date nights are a good way to break this up and have some “you time.” But really, you should take it farther.
Try your best to get away on a vacation for just the two of you. Don’t feel guilty and see this as some punishment for the kids or a luxury you don’t deserve. No, this is necessary to keep your relationship healthy. A week to rediscover yourselves as a couple is really the way to go. But even a long weekend or overnight stay out of the home is better than nothing if logistics and money make an extended getaway unfeasible.
Building a Healthy, Lasting Bond
About half of all marriages fail. There are way too many underlying reasons behind this to promise you that you will be together forever with your partner. But one of the biggest failings is people simply failing to put in enough effort.
There are a few things you must do to build a healthy relationship. Honest and open communication will always come first. Secondly, you must also try to make sure the romantic spark stays alive. And both of these goals — along with many others — usually require some scheduled alone time for the two of you.
Ultimately, you need to keep working at this all the time. It will never be easy, and you can’t get complacent. The good news, however, is that the effort alone is half the battle. As long as you both truly believe that the other wants to build and grow a life together, you will be able to form and maintain that lasting bond.