How do you know you are in a good relationship?
I think whether you are 16 or you’re 96, there are some common signs of a thriving relationship.
- Being able to have fun together and a good laugh, is probably how a lot of relationships start – no pressure, just enjoyment and it keeps up its value, at any point in a relationship. It can also be anything that the two of you enjoy doing together – from watching a comedy on TV to surfing. It’s really reinforcing for a couple to know that they can smile in each other’s company and it‘s one of the things that keeps you coming back.
- How you speak to each other is a really powerful element in a relationship and is how you carry meaning over to your partner. Who doesn’t want to be understood? It’s a basic human need. Being able to hear and listen (see earlier article on this site), is a key skill. If you can show your full attention to your partner, especially when you know how important the issue is to them, it will go a long way to building trust between you. At these times of stress for your partner, if you are doing more than 20% of the talking you are probably not listening enough. Next time you are in a “D and M” take a small mental note of how much you talk. Nodding the head and lots of “hmmms” are sometimes all that’s needed. That might be harder for you if you are very talkative, but it’s a worth a try.
- Support each other. Take the time to acknowledge when your partner is having a hard time. If you were finding it hard to make a decision about a choice in your life, would you rather be told what you should do or would you like someone to recognise how much care you have taken to think about it and then ask you what can they can do to best help you? It’s really a great sign when your partner recognises your strengths, instead of more often noticing when you stuff up. Encouraging them for successes is also supportive and builds a strong sense of self. Identity is really important for us as individuals, as that part of us is always there. I believe that the surer you are about yourself, the better you will be as a partner.
- Intimacy is another one. I’m not specifically talking about the act of sex here. Intimacy is really about closeness and expressing that bond with that person in your life that you love and trust. It can be simply expressed with holding hands, but ultimately comes down to sharing that smallest of spaces together and feeling totally at ease with it.
- Keeping up some activities that you like to do on your own, such as seeing your friends, reading a book, playing a video game, to name a few. It’s important to be able to keep a part of who you were before your relationship. Doing this at the appropriate time also keeps you fresh and helps you be more available to your partner when you are together. What do you like to do for fun? If you are not in a relationship now, what is one or two things that you would still like to be doing if you were in a relationship?
Overall, I feel the best relationships allow people to fully express themselves as individuals, while still helping both partners to grow and stay physically and emotionally healthy. This has been my opinion and you may think differently. I encourage you to have a think about what a healthy relationship looks like to you and maybe drop us a line?