Maintaining a healthy relationship is not always easy, but creating strong and respectful partnerships can lead to a happier home environment, and establish strong foundations to get you through the tough times.
“Strong partnerships rarely just happen – they require time, effort and patience.”
Healthy relationships have also been linked to better physical and mental health outcomes, and even increased life expectancy.
Tips to build a healthy (and happy) relationship with your partner
It’s an old cliché but one that rings true: It’s hard to respect others without respecting yourself. Know your goals, and be proud of your actions (making sure they are positive). Aim to maintain your physical and emotional wellbeing, manage stress, and surround yourself with people who make you feel good.
Respect your partner and their feelings
Create a safe environment where trust is built, and everyone’s needs are valued. Appreciate the other person’s opinion, even when you don’t agree with them. Discuss boundaries and decide in advance how you will respectfully resolve conflict (which can include agreeing to disagree).
Appreciate the things your partner brings to the relationship that you don’t. Your differences may be part of what attracted you to each other in the first place. Aim to create an environment where you learn from each other’s strengths, and accept what you may perceive as flaws.
Listen without distraction to your partner. Don’t jump in too soon to react, as it may prevent you from truly understanding what the other person is saying. Look for non-verbal cues, as not everyone is good at telling you what they are feeling.
Apart from making the effort to be a better listener, understanding how you say things can be just as important as what you say. Discuss things with your partner without blaming them, or using an aggressive or confrontational tone. You don’t always need to offer solutions, but if you do want to provide advice, aim to so without lecturing.
Spend time connecting
With work and family pressures, we can slip into patterns where we only spend time together while watching television, or sitting side by side on different devices. Take the time to sit down for a meal together, or go for a walk, device free. You don’t always need to spend this time on deep and meaningful conversation though – laughing together and sharing stories is equally important.
Admit when you have made a mistake, keep your word, and know that trust needs to be earned. If you do this, you can ask for the same in return.
If you need relationship help and want to talk to a counsellor, call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.