Building healthy relationships in 7 steps
We spoke to our in-house psychologist Salama Marine about how to build the foundation for a resilient, happy and long-lasting relationship.
Here are 7 ways to make it happen.
1. Make an effort to spend time together
This doesn’t need to be the stuff of Hollywood romance – it’s simply about setting aside a part of your day to do something together. Maybe it’s watering the plants, going for a quick walk around the block or cooking the evening meal from your favourite recipe book – time spent together creates a sense of togetherness and reinforces the notion that you’re an unstoppable team.
READ MORE: When is the right time to say 'I love you'?
2. It’s ok to have time apart
As important as it is to spend time together, it’s equally important to have time apart. Not only does it make you appreciate all the good things about your partner, but it also recharges your batteries so you can be the best you can be by following your own hobbies and interests. Marine explains ‘’Finding the right balance between [individual and couple time] is one of the most difficult exercises in any relationship. It takes work, but once you find the right rhythm, your relationship can’t get much healthier.’’
READ MORE: Keep the passion alive with our top tips for romantic gestures!
3. Say sorry when you’re in the wrong
Apologies are an important way to show that you have respect for your loved ones. While this applies to all types of relationships, romantic relationships benefit especially from the restorative power of saying sorry. Don’t waste your (and their time) explaining all the reasons why you didn’t mean to be wrong. Instead, remember that saying sorry isn’t a sign of weakness – it actually requires great strength to admit that your mistakes, so step up to the plate and just say the ‘s’ word; you’re doing your bit to maintain a healthy relationship with your special someone.
4. Learn to compromise... or agree to disagree!
Marriage counsellors will agree that it’s the culmination of small things that tend to lead to bigger problems in romantic relationships. So before they come to a head, address the small contentious issues; maybe your partner tends to prioritise social engagements over dinner dates for the two of you, maybe they simply leave the washing in the machine longer than you would like – whatever it may be, working through these small things is important because when you get to the big issues you will have had practice in the art of compromise and conflict resolution. Marine explains, ‘’At the beginning of a relationship, some people tend to make concessions because of love, because of passion – but they do it so much, that sometimes they forget their own stance. This can accumulate, which... can make discussion difficult when real compromise is needed.’’
READ MORE: Great relationships start from great beginnings. Learn how to have a perfect first date here.