Think about how to use communication to make your partner feel needed, desired and appreciated. Communication is verbal and non-verbal, so actions speak volumes, and remember that listening is a major component of healthy communication. It’s not always what is said, but how it is said, that’s important. If a couple communicates with aggression, the silent treatment or abusive language or actions, it signals concerns that might best be addressed by a professional.
Two people in a relationship bring individual experiences, thoughts, behaviors and personalities to the table. Finding common ground means expressing opinions, understanding and accepting differences and agreeing on compromise. If both people feel heard and understood, it helps prevent one person from feeling like they’re giving in, which can build resentment over time.
Commitment means putting each other and the relationship first. This requires a lot of giving, and certainly some sacrifice, but the payoff is a relationship that brings true joy and fulfillment to each other’s lives. Knowing that each person is committed to working through challenges and growing together builds trust and intimacy, and helps release the fears and doubts that hold couples back.
Relationships can be challenging, and can take a toll on mental, emotional and physical health, mood, or even focus at work.
Also very important is:
The first key ingredient in healthy relationships is accessibility. People need to feel as if their partner is accessible to them, and their partner should be accessible. In order to increase accessibility in your relationship, pay attention to your partner and be sensitive to whether it seems that they are trying to reach you. It can often be difficult to extend an olive branch in times of disconnect, so your partner might try to reach you after a fight but in a soft sort of way. Try to be open to that. It is also important to be available to just listen. So many times people just want to be heard by their partners, and they are longing for empathy, but they receive an unwanted solution. You can increase your accessibility by just listening and validating how your partner feels. It always feels good to be validated.
The second key ingredient in healthy relationships is responsiveness. This one may seem obvious, but, I’ll say it anyway. When your partner comes to you, respond. If you are actually unavailable because you are doing something else, let them know and reassure them that their concerns are important to you. Find a later time that you can come together to discuss the issue and actually honor that commitment. When partners start to ice each other out and do not respond to each other, they open their relationship up to all kinds of problematic possibilities. Instead, stay connected by responding.
The third key ingredient in healthy relationships is emotional engagement. Emotions have not always been well understood, but more research is leading to an increased understanding of them. Johnson argues that love is really an emotional bond more than anything else, and research in neuroscience, psychology, and biology seems to be backing up this claim, as she demonstrates in her book Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. It is, therefore, crucial for partners to be emotionally engaged with each other. It is not only important to care about your partner’s emotional experience and be curious about it, but you should also let them know. The more emotionally engaged partners are with each other, the stronger their bond.
Next time you get into one of those blood-boiling fights with your partner, stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself what you are really fighting about. Chances are, you are both struggling to see if you are there for each other and how much you really matter to each other. Increase your accessibility, responsiveness, and emotional engagement with each other, and fights will start to be easier to overcome, as they will really just be about the dishes, the garbage, and of course the money.