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Before we can give remedies or prescriptions for a problem, the problem in question should first be identified and understood. So, before giving tips on how to keep a relationship strong and fruitful, the premise on which a strong or healthy relationship stands must first be clearly marked out.
Healthy – in good physical or mental condition; normal, natural and desirable; indicating and promoting good health
Relationship – an emotional and/or sexual association between two people.
So basically, a strong and healthy relationship can be defined as follows:
A relationship which mutually promotes the growth and development of both parties involved; an association which is fully desirable to remain in, devoid of deceptive, toxic and acrimonious traits; a relationship which ultimately provides a safe and nurturing space for both parties to thrive, grow and primarily, maintain good personal all-round health.
Now that definitions have been brushed on, what simple tips can you incorporate to build and maintain a strong relationship? Well, I’ve got you covered (as usual). Let’s dive right in!
1. Be individually happy
Famous actor and rapper, Will Smith, once said: “Her happiness is not my responsibility. She should be happy and I should be happy individually. Then, we come together and share our happiness. Giving someone a responsibility to make you happy when you cannot do it for yourself is selfish”.
One of the most important steps to take in order to build and keep a relationship strong is personal happiness. As much as your partner is expected to bring wholesome joy to your life, the fact that you should first be happy as a person should never be overlooked.
A partner can only do so much to make the other person happy, trigger laughter, smiles, warm and pleasant emotions. However, whether the latter is happy is totally out of the former’s control.
First choose happiness for yourself and then enjoy your happiness with your partner. Never make your happiness entirely your partner’s responsibility; it’s just too much of a burden. Remember the definition: a nurturing space for both parties to thrive and grow. Nothing grows under stress and unhappiness.
2. Never be egoistic
Enough emphasis can never be laid on this particular point. Ego; the three-letter factor which has ruined so many relationships has been one of the greatest obstacles to way too many relationships.
Every human being has an ego (yep, an ego is actually a necessity). A feeling of self-importance is alright to an extent, but should never become a feeling of self-superiority.
Never place yourself above other people, especially your partner. The moment you begin to feel like ‘the boss’ in your relationship, you are paving the way for you and your partner to become strangers in the relationship.
Building a healthy relationship as a couple means both parties must learn, at all costs, to overcome their egos. Of course, while maintaining self-respect (a healthy relationship never belittles any party).
Discard that pride and learn to let go of meaningless grudges, apologize when at fault, text first, and earnestly. Just be open and comfortable with that person, as long as he or she respects and makes you happy.
3. Be honest, ALWAYS
Tell the truth. That’s as simple as it gets. This means keeping a crystal-clear communication channel and keeping your partner in-the-know. Let them know about your plans, your whereabouts (okay, maybe not when you’re taking a dump), your activities and feelings.
Lies always prove to be major setbacks to relationships, therefore, transparency is an important factor to a successful and healthy relationship. Are you spending time with the boys (or having a girls night out)? Let them know.
Are you going out of town for business or for leisure? Let them know. Is anyone giving you a hard time at work, possibly even harassing you? Let them know. Tell your partner everything and anything; being in a relationship with him/her should mean that they have earned this trust.
4. Set realistic long-term goals together
Nothing defines a future together more than realizable objectives set for the future. A strong relationship is one that should, without doubt, last for a long time, possibly until death. So, it is only right that you and your partner show intentions for a long-term commitment by setting goals for the future.
Draw up a long-term checklist together. It could be things you want to do together as a couple, perhaps a luxury vacation which would require chipping in savings over a period of time. Or things you would like to own or have done after a stipulated amount of time; businesses to set up or ideas you would like to have executed, whether individually or as a couple.
Whatever it may be, make your goal map together, and occasionally, along the course of the journey, return to your scoreboard and see how well you are doing. Maybe scrape out a few plans that are unnecessary or re-adjust time limits for a set goal. Then, in the midst of it all, sit back and watch your relationship flourish.
5. Maintain relationship privacy
A relationship is an association between two people only, not two people and a couple of friends or social media. Always remember to keep your relationship business private at all times. Do not discuss personal matters or secrets shared in trust with other people.
As much as most people have friends that they share everything with, always remember to set boundaries. Especially with information your partner has revealed in confidence to you and private affairs that should naturally concern you and your partner only.
Sure, maybe a very trustworthy friend can be let in on some personal issues, perhaps when seeking advice or a shoulder to cry on, but still, try to maintain some level of confidentiality.
This, of course, should not be confused with keeping your partner or entire relationship a secret (although that is totally up to the both of you). Keep your relationship private without necessarily keeping your partner a secret. There’s a difference between privacy and secrecy.
6. Develop a friendship
This is literally the backbone to every strong relationship, besides love. Your partner should first be your friend before he/she even becomes your partner. Underlying every strong relationship is a deep interpersonal bond built on mutual love, understanding, common interests, respect and even goofiness.
See your partner as a friend, perhaps even your best one: share the day’s highlights (and lowlights), laugh together, goof around, recount memories, tease each other, come up with wild plans and do them together.
Above all, be absolutely free and comfortable in each other’s presence – no facades, just be plain when you are together.
This particular factor borders on so many aspects. As implied earlier, regarding individual happiness, always keep in mind that you are still your own person; a separate entity, outside of the relationship.
You have a life of your own to live, dreams to fulfil, goals to reach, businesses and careers to take care of. Ensure to remain a stable, independent and secure individual, on all fronts, even during the relationship.
Now, bear in mind that as a couple you should also work together, dream, build and grow together. However, always maintain a level of personal independence, not needing all things to be done or handled by your partner, especially when it comes to money. Be your own person, contributing equally and meaningfully to the growth of your relationship.
Personal independence is also very important as a means of “insurance” or a fail-safe in case there is an unpleasant end to the relationship. You wouldn’t want to be left in a state of helplessness simply because you and your partner did everything together.
Sure, owning everything together is a great way to show unity, but if you really want a strong relationship that will stand the test of time, then go for independence. At least to a certain level. In the long run, you’ll both be glad you did, because life is pretty unpredictable!
8. Make special days memorable
Is it your partner’s birthday, your anniversary, or any random day of great significance to your partner? Then make special efforts to commemorate the day with something very memorable.
You don’t have to plan the grandest or most majestic of dinners or outings (baby steps, okay?). Just something unique and special that would help the both of you mark an important date in your relationship.
It could be a romantic dinner, a moonlit date, a long-craved item for your special half, a heartfelt display of your affection—anything that would serve as a fond memory in years to come.
Your efforts would undoubtedly serve as a passionate reminder that your love and commitment to the other person are still as steadfast as at the beginning of the journey. Such reminders, without doubt, are strong pillars that keep a relationship strong and healthy.
9. Keep it sexy (don’t let that fire fan out!)
Most people love having a partner with a naughty side. It sparks the relationship and gives a flair that is unlike any other. Of course, if either you or your partner (or both of you) have chosen to be celibate, this is not counsel to do otherwise. That’s an absolutely great decision!
So, for the other fraction who have inclinations to sexual activity, try from time to time to spice things up. A major part of many relationships is their sex life, and it is safe to say that the better it is, the greater the chances of the relationship maintaining a great vibrancy.
A few tips: Be open to new experiences, make efforts to maintain a fit form, try different things, and in summary, be adventurous!
Never underestimate the importance of intimacy and an amazing sex life in your relationship. It keeps both you and your partner in anticipation, counting the seconds till the dreary 9 to 5 schedule is over and you can finally embrace each other.
Some important points to note though: As much as an intriguing sex life has its perks in keeping a relationship strong, you should never feel obliged to engage in any of it, if it makes you even the tiniest bit uncomfortable. It is a decision that must be reached unanimously; no coercion applied. You and your partner should respect each other’s limits. That in itself is a sign of a strong relationship.
Also, while it has its advantages, a relationship should never become solely based on sexual gratification. An exciting sex life is and should only be a means to an end, that end being to keep a relationship strong and intriguing. Never should it become the primary purpose of the relationship. At such point, such a relationship is most likely headed for the rocks.
Who doesn’t love a good old surprise? (Well, a pleasant one of course.) Surprises are a wonderful way to make your partner’s heart flutter once more.
A beautiful bouquet of flowers for your better half on a blue, Monday morning at the office; a nice little wristwatch or neck piece, neatly boxed and tucked away, waiting to be stumbled upon; or even a small feast of favourites after long office hours. Oh, what an awesome sight!
These little things will leave your partner in absolute awe of you and professing their undying love. Nothing warms the heart like little things given with lots of affectionate intention and received without expectation. You simply cannot go wrong.
And there you have it folks! 10 pro tips to keep a relationship strong, healthy and fruitful. The truth is every relationship is different, and it takes a lot of work to keep it strong. These tips will be most effective if both parties take them seriously and work together to carry them out.
It should never be a one-sided thing! Better yet, you and your partner should both read this so you understand your actions better and know what to expect from each other. Slowly but surely, you’ll see the bond growing stronger and tighter! Till we meet again, adios amigos.
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