Romance is at the heart of society; you see it in songs, movies, books, and just about everywhere else! It’s understandable why it’s such a big deal because humans are innately hardwired to desire connections with others. Thousands of years ago, you were more likely to survive if you had a group to live with, and this still stands true today. People need loving relationships of all kinds to maintain health and happiness.
When it comes to romantic relationships, it can sometimes feel bittersweet. Our significant other can be our greatest joy and deepest heartache. However, when both people do the work and know what it takes to maintain love, a secure relationship can be an ongoing source of happiness in your life. The love between you and another can survive the bad times and the many tests you will endure, but it does require a lot of effort, attention, and commitment.
If you want to ensure you keep your relationship happy and healthy or need some advice on how to come back to each other during a difficult period, read this guide on maintaining a happy relationship.
Know yourself first
It’s a cliche, but to love another and be loved, you do need to have a good understanding of yourself. What do you want from this relationship? What are your needs? Do you have any boundaries? How do you want to be loved? What makes you happy? Knowing these parts of yourself will help you express yourself better and get in touch with your emotions. This is important, so you don’t build up resentment over time because you feel like your needs aren’t being met.
Additionally, knowing how to regulate your emotions and not being too codependent on your partner will support your well-being as well as your relationships.
Make time for each other
Life can get hectic, and it’s common for couples to neglect each other as they focus on their careers, hobbies, and family life. That’s why it’s essential to always make time for each other, no matter how busy you are. It can look like a date night once a week or even taking 10 minutes out of your day to have a hug and catch up. Find time each day to connect with your partner and let them know you care about them.
Relationships don’t have to be serious! Doing new things together can be a great way to connect and keep the passion alive. Find a shared hobby, plan fun dates, go on daily walks, or try out a new restaurant. We often have a lot of fun at the beginning of the relationship but find ways to capture that again as the years roll by.
Learn each other’s love language
If you haven’t heard of this term before, Gary Chapman, Ph.D., developed the five love languages in his book The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Through his experience as a marriage counselor and understanding of linguistics, he saw five ways people expressed and received love: words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and receiving gifts.
Understanding how your partner expresses love and their needs is crucial to maintaining a happy relationship. Not everybody communicates their romantic feelings in the same way. If you don’t learn your partner’s language, it can lead to frustration and misunderstanding.
Make a loving gesture
Depending on your partner’s love language, you could do something really special to illustrate how much you love and care for them. For some couples, this might look like making dinner and cleaning the house, planning a fun date, or buying a thoughtful gift. Jewelry is often symbolic and can be a special gift your partner can wear daily. If you’re looking for something special, even an engagement ring, begin your research at places like byregal.co.uk, which will help you find the perfect present.
Make time for you
A healthy relationship is where both people’s needs are met. It also involves having me-time when needed and the couple having their own lives outside of the relationship. This might include work, hobbies, friends, and family. Despite what you see in the movies, one person cannot be your everything. This is an unhealthy and pressured expectation to put on someone and can lead to resentment and tension down the line. Allow the two of you to enjoy time alone or do something you want with other people to maintain independence and a sense of identity. This will also benefit your relationship – you will appreciate each other more when you spend time together, have things to talk about, and won’t feel too suffocated by the relationship.
Communicate and listen
Communication is one of the significant essentials to maintaining a happy, healthy relationship. If you can find ways to navigate through conflict, be open about your feelings and stay connected as you talk, you will be able to ride a lot of bumps together. Making sure you take the time to really be there for your partner when they need you and trying your best to genuinely listen and understand their perspective is often the make or break for a relationship.
Remember to check in with your partner often too. Ask about their day, their feelings, and their opinions on things. It can be all too easy to come home from work and sit on your phone or watch the TV. Remember to look up, talk and reconnect.
As mentioned above, everyone has different ways of expressing love. Regardless, make sure you express affection to your partner regularly. John Gottman, a relationship researcher, states happy couples have a ratio of five positive interactions for every one negative interaction. Be warm, loving, and open as much as you can.
Be physically intimate
This doesn’t just mean sexually, although this is also a critical relationship element. But this also means physical intimacy such as affectionate touch like kissing, cuddling, and hand holding.
Touch is an integral part of human existence and vital for humans at all stages of life. Studies on infants illustrate the importance of regular affectionate touch for brain development. As you age, touch releases oxytocin also called the love hormone. This hormone is responsible for bonding and creating attachments, so regular cuddles with your partner (or even with your dog or children!) will ensure this wonderful hormone is distributed around your body.