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Maintaining a Healthy Relationship Tips

Read these 7 Maintaining a Healthy Relationship Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Relationship tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Components of Successful Relationships

Long term relationships require care and work to maintain closeness. Common components found in successful relationships include: communication, respect, trust, sharing, individuality and self-care. In addition, it is helpful to approach the challenges and triumphs of life (and the relationship) as a team. Fighting fairly, supporting one another and not holding grudges all help with this goal.

Successful relationships are based on the following components:

Communication. Listen to your partner. Avoid blame and judgment. Do not make assumptions. Don't let your emotions dictate your behavior.

Trust and respect. A sense of trust is present when each person feels safe to be open, honest and genuine. Respect helps build this through not judging or criticizing the other's opinions, feelings and beliefs.

Team approach. When tough times hit, try to remember you're on the same team. You either both win or both lose. Support each other and work together. Relationships are not meant to be a tug of war against each other. In fact, you both should be on the same side pulling against the world.

Deal with problems as they arise. Conflict is a natural part of any relationship. Addressing differences one at a time helps avoid bad feelings spoiling a good relationship. Do not hold grudges; work through the matter and let it go.

Share responsibility and decision making. Healthy relationships are an equal partnership. This applies to the work involved as well as the power dynamics between the couple.

Fight fair. Judging your partner undermines a relationship. Address behavior without criticizing the person. Know where your partner's vulnerable spots are and never use these during conflicts.

Take care of yourself. It is your responsibility to know what you want and determine how to achieve that. Make any requests of your partner clear and direct. It is not okay to blame someone for your failure to assert yourself.

   

Communication in Healthy Relationships

Good communication is a vital component of healthy relationships. This is common knowledge we accept as fact. However, applying the concept isn't always easy – especially during disagreements. Expressing yourself without appearing blaming or judgmental is often where this goes wrong. Problems occur when we make assumptions about what, how or why someone did whatever occurred. To avoid this trap, ask questions. Allow the person to answer. Listen while attempting to understand the other person's point of view. Successful relationships depend on good communication to keep them strong. This is especially important during arguments. Use these tools to pull you through to the other side:

Avoid blame and judgment. Explain what you thought and how you felt without assigning responsibility to the other person for your reactions.

Do not make assumptions. You seldom truly know why someone did whatever occurred. The conclusions you make will be based on your past experiences vs. the other person's perspective.

Don't let your emotions dictate your behavior. Feelings are important and should be acknowledged. However, do not react to whatever is triggered. Instead, make a purposeful decision about how to respond.

Listen! Pay attention instead of planning your defense strategy while the other person is talking.

   

Relationship Commitment

When our partners do something we do not like, we tend to focus on what they did “wrong.” We criticize. We point out what we deem to be their faults. When this approach is taken, your partner will feel judged, hurt, angry. Whether in a new relationship or a long term relationship, this pattern does not build a solid relationship commitment.

A good relationship can be formed, however, by showing empathy and compassion to your partner.

Compassion shares similarities with love but goes beyond it. Compassion removes the judgment we place on individual differences and preferences. It means we approach the spectrum of human qualities with tolerance. This shows support, encourages a sense of safety and trust, and opens honest communication.

   

Why Relationships Fail

Over half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. Common reasons why relationships fail can be classified into one of the following:

Communication problems

Financial stress

Infidelity

Differences in priorities

Emotional incompatibility

Sexual incompatibility

Physical, sexual or emotional abuse.

Whether communication problems or incompatibilities seem to be why relationships fail for you, improving how you deal with conflict is a helpful relationship strategy. Dealing with problems as they occur, respecting your partner's feelings and perspective, and avoiding judgment and blame increase the chance of finding a mutually agreeable solution. Working together, instead of against each other, generates new ideas and growth that help overcome the problems you're facing.

   

Avoiding Blame: Relationship Advice

Avoiding blame and judgment is important relationship advice. Openly share issues, emotions and concerns without blaming anyone for their existence. Even when you are upset by something your partner has done, challenge yourself to not view your partner's behavior as “wrong.” While the behavior may be displeasing to you, this does not make you “right.” Your emotions are valid and important, that is different then your reaction being a standard of truth to measure another against. Explain what you thought and how you felt without assigning responsibility to the other person for your reactions. The response you have is based on your experiences, beliefs and assumptions versus the other person's intent or actions.

   

Humor as a Relationship Strategy

Many times arguments appear silly once emotions have died down. Sometimes we can't even remember what started the fight or why we got so upset. In the heat of the moment, however, we tend to take the situation very seriously. Successful relationships develop the ability to take a light approach to conflicts. Recognizing that arguments are inevitable and normal versus catastrophic is helpful. One way to do this is to practice taking a step back when involved in a dispute. See if you can view your contribution to the situation with a sense of humor. Perhaps you can even laugh at yourself. This can interrupt getting stuck in a defensive stance. This in turn allows logic to resume. You will also be more open and responsive to your partner's feelings. This approach can help couples that are struggling as well as strengthen healthy relationships.

   
Does he want space or distance?

Distance and Space

Two people need to be comfortable with who they are before they can be a full partner to someone else. A partnership works best when both individuals are solid and strong on their own, and look to make a 'better' situation by going together. If the partners are only together to run from something else, or neglect what they need personally, then things simply aren't going to work well.

Of course, every individual needs a different amount of space to be content. It could be that the amount you need is to your partner not 'space' but 'separation'. And indeed, sometimes when people look for space they really want to get away from their partner instead of just in towards themselves. Really think about why you want distance, and then talk to your partner about his/her concerns and the whole situation. Hopefully you'll find a compromise!

   
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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson