10 Simple Changes For An Instantly Healthier Relationship
I think it’s safe to say no matter who you and your partner are, your ultimate goal as a couple is to have a healthy relationship. What if you’ve landed in a situation, though, that isn’t going in that direction? There are simple changes for an instantly healthier relationship that you can begin making in hopes of bettering your partnership. Let’s get down to some of the things you can start changing in order to get your relationship to the best place it can be.
All relationships are different. However, there are commonalities between healthy relationships that shouldn’t be overlooked, as these common factors can help the rest of us reach a healthy, happy place of our own. For instance, healthy couples — as we’ll get to in this article — are not afraid to disagree here and there, despite what you might have heard. Thought happy, healthy couples never fought? Think again, as it’s more about the way in which they disagree rather than avoiding disagreements all together. These disagreements allow the couple to be honest with each other about their feelings and what things they’d like changed/what things they’re personally willing to change. Then, they collectively work towards achieving a middle ground. We’ll get to that, and other points, in more detail below. Pay close attention, as some of these changes might be ones you and your SO might consider taking to bring your relationship to the best place it can be. Here are 10 simple changes for an instantly healthier relationship.
1. Amp Up Your Sex Life
There’s something to be said about having a great sex life. According to the folks over at Harvard, research shows sexual satisfaction is correlated with marital quality — meaning that a good sex life could ultimately mean a healthier relationship. Considering that what might be considered a good sex life for you and your SO might differ from what other couples might perceive as good in the bedroom, rather than compare to others consider having an open and honest conversation with your partner about the level of sex life satisfaction. Then, make changes based on what each of your needs are.
2. Touch, Touch, Touch
Even when they’re outside of the bedroom, healthy couples are known to touch, and touch often. Cosmopolitan spoke to psychotherapist Barton Goldsmith, PhD, author of Emotional Fitness for Couples, who noted the importance of simple acts of touch — such as stroking your partner’s arm or holding hands. According to Goldsmith, this triggers “feel-good” hormones which can makes couples feel closer to one another. Next time you’re with your SO, reach out and grab his or her hand, and then try to make little gestures like that a habit.
3. Cut Out The Criticisms
It’s super easy to nit pick the things our partners do that might bug us, but this constant criticizing and nagging might be proving to depreciate the healthiness of your relationship. Oprah.com spoke to John M. Gottman, PhD, author of The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships who suggested changing the habit of criticizing your SO to a habit of focusing on the positive things they do. “Notice one small thing, and express genuine appreciation,” Gottman told the outlet. “That will change your interaction patterns from escalating negativity and criticism to building a culture of appreciation.”
4. Stop Trying To Change Him Or Her
The reality is — if you’re constantly trying to change the person you’re dating — perhaps you’re dating the wrong person for you. If you want this to be the healthiest relationship possible, you need to stop trying to change your partner. After all, according to Psychology Today, the only person you are capable of changing is yourself. The outlet suggested that if there are aspects of your relationship, however, that you want changed — just be candid about them with your partner. This will allow you both to be honest about how you feel and work towards a resolution.
5. Bring Back A Little Romance
Sometimes bringing the healthiness level of a relationship up can be as simple as getting a little romantic. According to Health, adding some romance into the relationship can help both you and your partner feel valued and appreciated. What’s more, the outlet also noted it can help create a stronger bond between the two of you. It doesn’t need to be a huge thing — like a suite in a 5 star hotel with rose petals and champagne — but, what about bringing those rose pedals and champagne into your bedroom at home? It’s far cheaper and it could have enough of a romantic effect to benefit the relationship.
6. Get In A Little Alone Time
This means spending time on your own, and being OK with your SO spending time on their own as well. I spoke via email to psychologist Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, about happy and healthy relationships, and how being able to do things apart plays into this. “Couples who are not clingy — who are just as happy apart as they are together — are stronger for it,” Martinez explains. “They are able to enjoy their time on their own with their friends and family, exploring their interests, and they are able to appreciate the time they have with their partner that much more.” So, don’t shy away from taking your friends up on that offer to have a ladies night out, and try not to cringe when your SO joins their friends for a night out either — it might actually be aiding in the health of your relationship.
7. Look For The Best In Your Partner
According to the Harvard experts, research shows that they more we look for things in a person, the more likely they are to stand out to us. Therefore, if you’re looking for the good things about your partner and focusing on them — let’s say they’re incredibly funny, especially smart, etc. — the more you’ll start picking up on these things subconsciously over time, too. For the healthiest relationship, practice looking for the best in your partner, and spending your brainpower on those traits, characteristics, and actions.
8. Don’t Be Afraid To Argue Every Now & Then
For additional insight into happy and healthy relationships, I spoke via email to Mara Opperman, relationship etiquette expert, co-founder of I Do Now I Don’t, and Director of Communications and Client Relations at DEL GATTO.
According to Opperman, the strongest, long-lasting relationships require effort and work. This means being able to argue and work through obstacles as they arise. “Fighting can be healthy for your relationship and the difference between healthy and non-healthy fighting is the way in which you argue,” Opperman explains. Next time you’re disagreeing with your partner, instead of yelling and shouting, try to turn it into a calm, rationale conversation where both of you are able to get out your feelings candidly.
9. Allow Time For Both Of You To Talk
On that very note, as I just mentioned, it’s an important part of a healthy relationship to make sure that when you’re disagreeing you give each other time to talk. Cosmopolitan spoke to psychologist Diana Kirschner, PhD, author of Opening Love's Door who suggested, “To make sure you both get a chance to state what's on your mind during a disagreement — and get your points across — alternate playing reflective therapist, where one listens while the other talks.”
10. Establish Trust
If trust is lacking in your relationship, you need to make a change to mend it if you want a healthy relationship. (Or, if the trust issue is that bad, perhaps consider whether or not this is the right relationship for you.) According to Huffington Post, trust is essential in a healthy relationship. The goal is to ensure you and your partner have a trust deep enough that when issues come up in your relationship, you’ll be able to successfully navigate past them. Not sure how to rebuild trust? Check out this Bustle article on the topic for some excellent pointers.
Now that you’re schooled on some changes you can make to have an instantly healthier relationship, you and your SO can begin practicing some of these tactics. Then, watch as your relationship quickly starts feeling happier and healthier.
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