A good relationship doesn’t just happen, it has to be created. Whilst every relationship is different, there are generally accepted ‘rules’ about how to create and maintain a good relationship.
All worthwhile relationships will require time, effort and TLC. However, there are certain guidelines that can benefit any couple trying to build a good relationship. Here are a few pieces of advice that will ensure you build a good relationship with the one you love.
1. Don’t Throw in the Towel too Soon
Many couples confuse infatuation for love and while infatuation is momentary, love can be everlasting. Keep in mind that there is a distinction between consummate love — which can endure — and obsessive love, which often fades after the beginning of a relationship.
Don’t give up on the relationship as soon as the infatuation phase is over. In a good relationship, while the happy couple may not have the constant feeling of butterflies in their stomachs as in the relationship’s early days, they will have developed a deep and mutual bond built through passion, intimacy and commitment.
READ MORE: The seven types of love – What is the Triangular Theory of Love?
2. Communicate Clearly
Over time, it’s easy to assume that our partner knows us so well we don’t need to ask for what we want. However, when we start making this assumption relationship expectations are set and just as quickly, they’re not met. Those unmet expectations can leave us questioning the stability of our partnership and connection. Keep in mind that asking for what you want extends to everything from emotional to sexual desires.
In a good relationship it’s normal to have differences and arguments — in fact it can be constructive to the relationship. By voicing your opinions it can help your partner understand how you’re feeling and what you really want. Bringing up a touchy subject and clearing the air helps to bring both of you closer in the long run — just as long as the same mistakes don’t happen again.
READ MORE: Crave a stronger relationship – Learn the 5 Love Languages
3. Respect Each Other
Someone can love you like crazy but a relationship can only last if both partners respect each other. Respect is reflected in the actions and behaviour towards each other and when a relationship lacks respect, it’s unhealthy. Disrespectful partners are concerned with how you make them feel, how you can serve them, and how you reflect on them. A partner who respects you will value you as you are without wanting to fundamentally change you. Someone who respects you will take joy in your independence and honour your boundaries. To be respectful of each other, you need to truly listen and consider each other’s viewpoint. In a good relationship, both partners want the other one to just as or even happier than they are.
READ MORE: Five habits to follow to become a happy couple
4. Be Affectionate
Feeling love and affection toward your partner is important, but so is expressing that love and affection in physical ways — it’s not wise to play hard to get when your goal is to build the intimacy in your relationship.
Expressions of affection don’t have to be overly romantic or complicated at all. A kiss on the cheek or touch on the shoulder is often enough to show that you desire your partner physically as well as mentally. Similarly, in secure, long-term relationships, having more sex is often a positive expression of love’s intensity. Researchers at the University of Tennessee say frequent sex could be the answer to maintain feelings of love and happiness that endure over time.
READ MORE: How to have a healthy sex life
5. Keep it Exciting
“Familiarity breeds contempt” — it might be a cliché but it applies all too often to couples in unhappy relationships. Spending time with your partner is important, but studies show it’s how you spend your time together that influences your relationship satisfaction most.
A study reported in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that couples can improve their love for each other when they spend their time together exploring new and challenging activities. So, if you’re planning to start a hobby or taking a trip somewhere for the first time, researchers say your relationship will benefit when you and your partner face this challenge together.
On the other hand, couples often feel bogged down by things such as work or kids when they’re a few years into their relationship. You can’t expect the passion and the excitement in your relationship to last if you’ve abandoned the romance. Take time to regularly go on date nights or think of ways to spice up your daily routine together.
These five rules will help you build the foundation of a good relationship, follow them and you and your partner have a fantastic chance of building a great relationship of your own.