10 Tips for Happy & Healthy Relationships

10 Tips for Happy & Healthy Relationships

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Happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships are an important part of our physical and mental health (it’s true, love is good for our health!).

It’s true that relationships (and marriage, if that’s the form your relationship takes) require continuous work. That doesn’t mean relationships should feel like difficult toil (in fact, definitely not!), but that there are some small, simple ways we can continue to strengthen and nurture our relationships over time.

Here are ten simple but impactful ways to nurture and grow (or maintain) a happy, healthy relationship with your partner:

1. Enhance your love maps

“Love maps” is a term used by Dr. John Gottman, a prominent psychologist and researcher in the field of marriage and relationships.

Dr. Gottman and his team have spent decades studying hundreds of couples to determine the factors that influence marital stability-and whether a relationship will last, or not. Their decades of research found seven key principles that lead to harmonious, long-lasting relationships (all outlined in Dr. Gottman’s popular and helpful book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work-one https://lovingwomen.org/fi/blog/korean-treffisivustot/ of our favorite relationship resources to recommend, if you’re interested).

One of these seven principles is a building a detailed “love map”: the part of your brain where you store information about your partner’s life. Things like their favorite food, their greatest fear, their biggest hopes and dreams, what’s currently stressing them out, how they like to fold their laundry. All the little details about them that make them tick.

Dr. Gottman’s decades of research found that couples who have highly detailed love maps (in other words, who pay attention to each other’s details, and know a lot about each other) are likely to have a stronger, more long-lasting bond.

2. Cultivate shared hobbies

You might not love to do all the same activities as your partner all the time (and that’s totally okay-more on that below!), but having shared hobbies and experiences is a big part of healthy relationships.

Whether that means you enjoy hiking together, or you like to cook new recipes together for Sunday brunch, or do a movie marathon on Friday nights, or you sign up for a ballroom dancing class… it doesn’t matter so much what the activity is, just that it’s something you both enjoy, and you can enjoy it together. (And that you schedule time to enjoy the shared activity regularly!)

3. Spend time alone

While it’s, of course, mega important to nurture your relationship by spending quality time together, it’s also equally as important to nurture your relationship by spending quality time apart.

Spending time away from each other helps to keep life in perspective (you’re not the same person; you’re separate people who choose to spend time/life together). And, it allows you to each cultivate your own individual interests and skills and be sure you’re taking care of yourself and keeping yourself healthy as an individual too.

4. Know your partner’s love language-and speak in it

We’ve talked before about the importance of understanding love languages in your relationship. These five “love languages,” as defined by counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, describe the different ways people express and experience love.

It’s important for couples to understand each other’s love languages so you can “speak the same language” by expressing and receiving love in those ways.

It’s certainly helpful to a) know what to look for in terms of how your partner expresses their love, and b) know how to share your love with them in a way they’ll easily see and understand, so your efforts are received.

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