The 10 Building Blocks of Every Healthy Relationship
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Love is NOT all you need.
No relationship is ever perfect, but we can strive to find the person who makes us realize why it never worked out with anyone else.
Here are 10 foundational building blocks that every healthy relationship shares:
1. Both partners feel fully accepted as they are.
What does it mean to feel fully “seen” by another person? Not physically seen — but on a deeper and more meaningful level?
Feeling like your partner understands who you truly are on a higher level than any other person — and loves you for it — is what allows you to open up to them and share every facet of your being.
Without this level of comfort, there will always be something that is held back or hidden, preventing a truly unfiltered bond from forming.
2. Both partners prioritize each other.
Life gets crazy. Chores and bills and obligations and family and work, are all realities that we need to navigate in our own way.
When you ask any happy couple who’s been together for a long time what helps keep their relationship thriving, though, they will tell you that they make consistent time for each other and hold space for their partner as a priority in their life.
Whether it’s regular date nights, cooking at home together, or just finding the time to take a long drive, always staying emotionally connected will help you navigate the trails of life together.
3. There is strong communication.
Perhaps the most obvious but also one of the most important. No relationship can thrive and develop without open and honest communication between both partners. This means being willing to express ourselves without fear of being judged, and also allowing space for your partner to do the same.
4. Both partners feel supported to grow as individuals.
The man or woman you are today is not the man or woman you’ll be in 5 years. Or 10. Or 20.
Growth and development is a natural and necessary part of living a fulfilling life, and being in a relationship should never hinder one’s ability to do so.
The person you choose to commit yourself with should love you as you are today, and also fully support the development into the person you’re meant to become.
Feeling held back from personal growth is a surefire way to feel resentment and resistance in your relationship over time.
5. Boundaries are set and maintained.
When someone commits to you, they still maintain full autonomy over their body, emotions, and individual selves. We are not entitled to anyone’s physical or emotional being without their consent or permission, no matter what our relationship status is.
6. Your partner expresses love in the ways you receive it.
If you’re not familiar with The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I recommend giving it a read. They are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Gift giving
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch.
One can easily see how a person with a strong physical touch love language could feel slighted by a partner who communicates through words of affirmation.
“Why don’t you ever touch me? Do you still love me?” could be met with “I tell you how I feel all the time!”
It’s as if two people are speaking different languages, and neither therefore feels understood. By exploring what each other’s top love language(s) are, we can put in the right kind of effort in order to show them how much we care.
7. Both partners keep doing the “little things.”
The small things you do for someone are what count the most. These are the actions that show your partner that you’re willing to put in effort for them, just because. No special occasion or holiday required. You don’t need a schedule to show someone you love them.
A happy, healthy relationship will consist of two partners willing to put in equal effort, consistently. Great relationships are not about give and take, they’re about give and give.
When these little things start to fade is when the strength of the relationship will start to become more questionable. Do they really appreciate you? Do they still care as much as they once did? Is our relationship becoming stronger over time, or weaker?
Once you start asking yourself these questions, it is time to address them and find real answers.
8. You build and maintain trust.
Consistently showing your partner that you’ll be there when they need you is the cornerstone of earning (and maintaining) their trust over time. We must consciously choose to show up for the man or woman in our life every day in order to communicate that we are serious about our commitment to them and our relationship with them.
9. Both partners have similar goals and visions for themselves and their futures.
Like any team, as a relationship is, the results are best when the members are working towards a common goal together. This goal could even be something so simple as self-improvement. If one teammate is dedicating their life to personal growth, and the other is content with how things are and never displays a desire for change, then this can easily create resentment and tension over time.
10. Both partners choose each other every single day.
You don’t “fall” into love. You consciously build it alongside the person you care about every single day as you wake up each morning and make a pledge to do the best you can for them.
Repeating this action, as love is a verb, every day is how we eventually build a rewarding life, relationship, and legacy.
Every person who reads this will have a different image of their “ultimate” relationship in their mind. The key thing is to understand that it is possible to achieve, as long as both teammates are willing to put in the effort to uphold the integrity of the wants and desires.
Does it sound like work? That’s because relationships can be — but that’s what makes the great ones so rewarding.
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Related to number 1: don’t expect your partner to change. I think a lot of people believe that as time goes on, things will be different. Your partner will lose weight, make more money, whatever. You shouldn’t fall in love with the potential you think your partner holds, but rather who they are right now.