Resources for Maintaining a Strong and Healthy Relationship

Most people need a romantic relationship to feel completely fulfilled. Ironically, so many of us are in relationships that are dysfunctional to some degree. Perhaps the relationship started out healthy and strong and then these qualities slowly eroded over time. Whether this is a wake up call or something that has been an ongoing issue, read on for resources to maintain or create a strong and healthy relationship.

Communication is the most important key in any relationship, when two people are communicating well there is very little that cannot be overcome. As communication breaks down, a range of problems will quickly arise. Very simply, communicating well often comes down to how a person communicates in a fight or argument. Approaching the other person with respect and understanding can go a long way. Try to frame statements in ways that do not assign blame or tell the other person what they think or feel. Never make assumptions, ask questions about motive and intent and take the time to listen to the answer. In an argument, it is easy to fall into the trap of planning a retort versus listening.

Many couples find it effective to press a pause button on the argument if tensions and emotions run too high. While taking a little space is important, avoid relationship-damaging behaviors like storming off or ignoring the other person, especially for a prolonged period of time. Switching to a neutral activity, like cooking dinner, together can help diffuse the argument and build goodwill.

Good relationships work best as a partnership. Take an honest look at how the responsibilities are divided up, chances are one half of the duo is shouldering too much responsibility in one area. Housework is one common area where this can happen, chores should be shared as they are not anyone’s first choice of how to spend time. Think about what you partner commonly complains about, in some cases the complaints are just sour grapes. In many cases though, your spouse has legitimate concerns that need to be addressed to keep the relationship healthy.

Functioning in a partnership includes making key decisions together. Decisions like whether or not to take a new job, budgets, and vacation plans should all be made jointly. Two people rarely want exactly the same thing so know when to compromise. For example, each partner could take turns planning an annual vacation.

Finally, it is truly the little things that count. Try to do something nice for your partner once a week. Give an unexpected gift once in a while. Take a few minutes to occasionally think about how much this person means and adds to your life, writing this sentiment in a note or email is a powerful gesture. Offer to complete something for your partner so he or she can go relax and take some alone time. All of these small but heartfelt tactics will go a long way towards creating or maintaining a healthy relationship.