Maintaining Healthy Couple Relationships

© Amplified Life Media. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
10/28/2016

Relationships affect our lives on a daily basis, and they all require effort to stay healthy. While starting a romantic relationship can be hard, building one for the long-term can be an even bigger challenge. Events inside and outside of the relationship make it necessary for both individuals to adapt and grow, while also respecting, caring for, and compromising with the other person.

Unhealthy Couple Relationships

One way to identify what is healthy is by examining what is not. The following symptoms indicate a relationship that is not working and unhealthy:

  • Lack of appreciation - Assuming your partner will do things for you is one way of taking them for granted. This demonstrates ingratitude or a lack of insight into the balance of the relationship.

  • Lack of trust - Reading your partner’s emails or text messages, listening to voicemails, and not letting your partner go out with friends communicates a level of distrust.

  • Blame game - When you constantly blame your partner for trouble in the relationship and don’t accept responsibility for anything, then it will be difficult to maintain the relationship.

  • Poor communication - Assuming your partner can read your mind is a sure sign of poor communication. If you avoid difficult conversations because you are afraid of your partner’s response, there is a clear lack of communication skills.

  • Lack of balance - When we over function we constantly do things for our partner that they can do for themselves. Under functioning happens when we ask our partner to do tasks or assume responsibilities that should be our own.

  • Isolation from others - Healthy friendships and family relationships are necessary. When your partner is your only source of support, the relationship can quickly become strained, tense, and unhealthy.

  • Codependence - When you are no longer able to think for yourself or function without your partner, you have crossed the line into codependence. In this type of relationship, a person cannot define his or her self in any way other than the relationship, as they lack their own goals, opinions, and outside support.

Healthy Couple Strategies

By clearly identifying what is unhealthy we are able to see what works better. Consider these strategies to maintain a healthy, romantic relationship that stands the test of time:

  • Embrace change - Your relationship will undoubtedly evolve with life events, unexpected transitions, and family changes. Consider change as an opportunity to make your relationship stronger rather than a cause for it to crumble.

  • Have check-ins - Talk with your partner about his or her expectations for the relationship and his or her personal goals. Checking-in with one another through regular, daily dialogue establishes a good routine, rather than just crisis management. Making time together is key, and without good scheduling, responsibilities will crowd out time together.

  • Know the family - Families are unique and so are their ways of coping with stress and anxiety. While your family might tend to be emotionally distant, your partner’s family might like to engage in conflict and confrontation. Consider what coping style you and your partner inherited from your families. Then, look for ways to work together to resolve conflict.

  • Pick the right time - Dealing with a problem in the heat of the moment may not be the best time to hear one another. Take a few minutes to cool off and gather your thoughts, as this opportunity allows you to listen to your partner’s perspective. Also remember, a conflict is typically not the time to bring up previous unresolved issues. Attempting to solve multiple items typically leads to greater stress and fewer results.

  • Be responsible - Everyone has needs and wants in a relationship, but it’s important to remember some expectations may be unrealistic or unfair for your partner to meet. Consider what things you are able to do for yourself and be responsible with them.

  • Listen and speak up - Are you so focused on trying to win an argument that you are unable to hear what your partner is saying? When you show respect for the other’s opinions, they are more likely to listen to you. Also, your partner won’t know what you desire in the relationship unless you verbalize it. Many times we become angry because we unfairly expect our partners to fulfill our needs, even though we have never shared them.

  • Accept differences - There are things about your partner that may never change, and the same is true for you. When you learn to accept this, you can begin to work together to change what you would like to be different.

  • Respect rights - You and your partner both have the right to enjoy your respective interests, friends, feelings, personal goals, and opinions. When you have outside things that inspire and bring joy, you will both enjoy the relationship more.

Even in this day and age, building a relationship that lasts is possible. Small acts of kindness such as physical or verbal gestures really do make a difference. With some thought and patience, you will find that simple strategies build a strong foundation for your relationship.


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