What it takes to Maintain a Healthy Relationship
If there’s one thing that most humans can agree about, it’s that everyone typically wants to live a long, happy life and share it with someone they truly care about. Most people want to meet the perfect spouse, have children, buy a big house and then grow old with that perfect person. However, that isn’t always the case and not everyone finds the right person. In fact, roughly 50% of all married couples in the United States will end in divorce.
So, where are we going wrong? Why do people in the United States have the sixth-highest divorce rates in the world? Well, without getting into the thick of it, we can comfortably say that life can be complicated and a bit of a mess sometimes. Of course, we would love to have the perfect spouse, the beautiful house and the big, happy family, but the reality is that life throws you curveballs and finding ways to overcome the obstacles are really what matter. And not only do you have to overcome the obstacle yourself, you have to overcome it together as a couple. So, maybe we should start with the basics and talk about how people connect in the first place.
What to look for in a partner?
Although dating in this day and age might seem different than dating 15 years ago, it all comes down to similar things. Especially during a pandemic, using dating apps and technology online has become a very big part of the new world of dating. However, the same rules still apply when coming to forming a connection between two people. Even in online dating, you can still tell whether or not someone is compatible and possibly a good fit for the long run.
While no person will 100% match exactly what we are looking for in a partner, there are still common attributes you can look for, such as:
- Open-mindedness & Maturity: As mentioned before, the world tends to throw a lot of curve balls, and you want to end up with someone that can emotionally handle all the obstacles and problems life might bring; finding someone that is open-minded and mature can help you think through scenarios that are difficult and find solutions to help. Open-mindedness also helps with listening to your partner's needs and growing the relationship together.
- Honesty: Research has shown and proven that relationships last longer and are generally better when people don’t lie as much. Although little white lies are sometimes hard to stop, it’s better to be fully honest and trust that your partner will react better when they know they can trust you and that you are being fully honest.
- Respect: Respect is one of the most sought-after qualities in a partner. When you find someone who encourages you to be yourself, you can feel secure in your relationship, yet still act like your honest self.
- Empathy & Sense of Humor: On top of being a good communicator, you should also try to find a partner who is empathetic. Finding someone who is willing to listen and understand your struggles is key. And, on top of that, finding someone with a good sense of humor is always when you are just needing a good laugh after a long, hard day.
- Physically Affectionate: Physical affection is an important part of finding a connection to someone that you feel close to and love. Keeping your relationship vital and intimate is part of making it last.
So, now that we can see what attributes and characteristics people tend to need or lean towards in a partner, now it’s just a matter of making that relationship work for the long run. It’s also good to mention that just as each individual is different, each couple or relationship is also different. What works and makes your relationship flow smoothly may not be for your next-door neighbor’s marriage. So, it’s a matter of finding a balance and figuring out what works best for you.
Tips to Maintain a Healthy Relationship
Maintaining relationships can be tough, and they definitely take effort from both parties. Many times, life can be pretty challenging and stressful. It’s always good to have a partner or companion that understands life’s challenges and can have an open mind about different challenges that arise.
Here are a few good ways to help maintain a healthy relationship, according to Amherst College:
- Keep your expectations realistic: After the first couple of dates, you might notice some things in your partner that aren’t up to your highest expectations; However, no one can be everything we want them to be, and so having a healthy relationship needs you to accept people as they way they are.
- Communicate: Communication is key to a healthy relationship; so, what can you do? Take the time to be there and genuinely listen, ask questions and share information with your partner.
- Flexibility: Through life, we are constantly going through changes; try to be flexible and allow change and growth in your relationship.
- Taking care of yourself, too: Don’t lose sight of your true self, which can be easy to do when you become a couple.
- Being dependable: When you make plans with someone, try your best to follow through; if you take on a responsibility, complete it. Healthy relationships are meant to be trustworthy.
- Be fair: When you disagree about something, try your best to be fair with your partner; take a minute to cool down before having a conversation about it, make sure you share how you feel while making sure your language is clear and specific.
- Be affirming: When you interact with your partner or friend, try to do so with warmth and affection; most happy couples that last long have more positive interactions than negative.
- Keep your life balanced: As hard as it may be for some people, try to keep your life balanced with work and outside activities.
- It’s a long process: If we are truthfully honest, most couples aren’t the perfect couples we see on social media and in movies. It takes time to get to know someone and work through any issues that may come along the way.
- Be genuine: Healthy relationships are made of real people; when you are authentic and genuine, it allows for your partner and other people to like you as your true self!
While these tips are good for romantic relationships, it should also be noted that these can also be applied to other relationships in your life, such as friendships, work and family connections. Although there are certain aspects you would leave out when dealing with a coworker, there are still many reasons to be a kind, authentic person at work. So, even though you might think your best friend their spouse never have marital problems, you might be surprised that they quite often do.
Some people might think relationships are tough and decide they would rather not be in one at all, which is perfectly fine also. Ultimately, it comes down to what you feel is best for your situation. And sometimes, finding a significant other will happen when you least expect it. After all, about 90% of people in Western cultures end up marrying someone by the age of 50.