Our society continuously tells us that relationships should be effortless, easy, and flow naturally on their own – without any heavy lifting. Although we may reach points in our relationship where things flow well, strong relationships
take a lot of time, effort, and energy. Below are ten facts about strong relationships:
1) We accept our partner.
This includes their quirks or perceived flaws. If we spend time wishing our partner would change or we “fall in love with their potential”, then we aren’t truly accepting them as a human. We all want to be accepted as our authentic selves.
2) We express appreciation, kindness, compassion, and love towards our partner.
This means expressing these things towards our partner in different ways. Maybe our partner feels more loved by receiving small love notes, or a long hug after work. Or maybe our partner likes to hear how proud we are of them. It’s important that we express all of these towards our partner and ask them what makes them feel loved.
3) We have shared interests and goals.
This could be watching crime documentaries, spending time outdoors, or planning to build a home. We don’t need to share all the same interests or goals, but we need to find ways to connect with each other. Bonus points if you take an active interest in your partner’s hobbies and try them out!
4) We have similar core values and morals.
This helps build a foundation for your relationship. Our values and morals dictate how we behave, what we think, and what’s important in our lives. If these don’t align with our partner, it’s likely we’ll face challenges building a life together.
5) We fight fairly and resolve conflict.
When conflict arises (which it will), we are able to hear and understand each other’s perspectives. That means disagreements center on what the issue is, not on perceived character flaws. Disagreements are productive and
respectful, which means criticism, contempt, and defensiveness rarely occur.
6) We take responsibility for our behavior, apologize, and make change.
Part of resolving conflict is owning up to something we said or did that was hurtful. During apologies, we reflect how our partner is feeling and share how we’ll do better in the future. This means that change actually takes place and isn’t just used to “smooth things over.”
7) We can be vulnerable with our partners and feel heard, validated, and loved.
This is challenging for many people in their relationships. It takes courage to be vulnerable, to love, and to be loved. We need to be able to express what helps us feel heard, validated, and loved and feel safe doing that. This also means we honor our partner’s needs and ensure we help them feel validated.
8) Our partner is not our entire world.
We need to have relationships, interests, and self-care time outside of our partner. Some of us are quick to make everything about our partner, which means we ignore friends, neglect our self-care, and lose our sense of self. It’s okay to spend a lot of time with your partner, as long as it’s in healthy balance with the rest of your life.
9) We make time to play, have fun, and use humor.
This is an important part of life for ourselves too! When we grow up, we forget how to play, use our imagination, and be creative. It is crucial to let you inner child come out and share that experience with your partner.
10) We have emotional and physical intimacy.
We have a shared understanding of each other’s definitions of physical and emotional intimacy. Emotional intimacy is connecting with each other and being vulnerable. Physical intimacy is any type of physical touch from holding hands, cuddling, to massage and sex. In a strong relationship, there is a healthy balance of both.
For those of us that have any type of past trauma, these may be very challenging to do. You are capable of learning how to feel safe doing these things with the right partner. Relationships take a lot of work and with a safe partner we can learn to grow together. If you’re looking for an expert guide toward building strong relationships in your life, we’re here to be your teammate. Reach out today to learn more.