We all want a happy, healthy relationship with someone special.
We know it takes time and effort, but that knowledge doesn’t always translate into the relationship we want.
Do you look around at other couples and wonder how they’re so happy all the time?
Of course, what we see in public and on social media isn’t the whole picture by a long shot, but it can shake our confidence about our own relationship.
The truth is, while a great relationship takes work, part of that work is relaxing and letting go of the little things that could bother you.
Sometimes we create problems for ourselves by comparing our relationship to others, and the solution is to look at your partner with love and acceptance.
It’s a choice; do you want perfection or do you want to be happy?
When you let go of some things and learn to be content with your partner, you’ll find out that you might have the perfect relationship after all.
You just had to see it!
Here are 11 secret tips to help you build a happy, healthy relationship:
11 SECRET TIPS FOR A HAPPY, HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
Being in a healthy relationship isn’t something that just happens. Most couples who have happy relationships actually put in the effort to make it work.
1. See your partner for who they are
We are taught some gender expectations as we grow up, and then we get bombarded with ideas of what our romantic partner should be like, and what they should do for us.
It’s hard not to look at your partner and see how they don’t measure up to social media posts and articles about the perfect partner.
When doubt crops us, remember why you fell in love with your partner and what they actually bring to the relationship, instead of wishing he could be like someone else’s husband.
If you have anger, bitterness, resentment, and other negative feelings about something, think about why you expect your partner to fulfill the need you’re upset about.
Is it a realistic expectation based on who your partner is or you just want him to be like someone else?
You’ll make your life so much easier, and your relationship so much better if…
You set realistic relationship expectations based on who your partner truly is, not who you think they should be, or who others expect him to be.
This doesn’t mean you should lower your standards or “settle” but simply to see the value your partner brings and the good things he offers you instead of only focusing on his flaws.
2. Don’t bottle things up
I’m including this tip because…well, I’m an expert at bottling things up and then growing resentful or giving my husband silent treatments.
It starts with something small that offends me or hurts my feelings.
I’m not the kind of person who will speak up immediately.
Instead, I’ll step back, trying to decide if I should feel the way I do and why he acted the way he did.
And 99 times out of 100 when I feel upset, I realize I should have said something.
At that point, I’ll expect my partner to realize their mistake and just apologize.
But it hardly ever works that way. So I mentally chew on it and basically let it fester until a little thing becomes a huge issue.
Most times, when you’re carrying around one grudge, other things get added in and the list grows.
That makes it harder to start a conversation because it could become a confrontation with this long list of complaints.
Unaddressed problems cause resentment, and that kills relationships faster than any other thing.
If something has upset you and you can’t let go of it, you’re not doing yourself or your partner any favors by keeping it to yourself.
If you want a happy, healthy relationship that lasts, discuss things with your partner when they bother you, and don’t assume your partner’s intention.
He probably didn’t mean to hurt you.
It’s likely he has no idea that something is bothering you. If something really bothers you, talk about it; don’t bottle things up.
3. Let go of the little stuff
Yes, you should bring important issues up to your partner, but it’s also good to be loving, accepting, and not overly critical.
Imagine if you get irritated five times a day and talked to them about it.
Nobody is perfect; you make mistakes too and do little things that could annoy others.
Your partner might load the dishwasher differently, leave their shoes in the “wrong” place, or forget to put their towel in the wash.
So you have to decide if it’s a little thing that you can let go…or if it’ll sit there and cause anger and create distance between you.
If this little thing will cause problems, bring it up. If it’s something that you can overlook, forget about it.
Ask yourself, “is your partner loving and there for you when you need them?” That’s what really matters.
4. Be the kind of person you want to be with
You might have a few friends who honestly believe they deserve an awesome partner who showers them with attention, listens all the time and puts in way more effort.
Yes, we all deserve a special someone…but we should be willing to give that too!
It surprises me that so many people expect much more than they’re willing to put into a relationship.
Here’s a challenge for you: pull out your relationship dream list.
Come on, you probably have a list somewhere of all the qualities you want in your partner.
If you’re in a relationship, you might have a list like this saved, or remember what you had on it.
Or you might be in a relationship, and still, have a mental list of what you wish your partner would be like.
Turn it around and test yourself. Do you do all of the things you want from your partner?
I’m sure you desire some qualities because you know you lack them, or it’s a quality you expect your man to have.
But the idea is: do you offer the commitment, effort, flexibility, excitement, passion, stability, and other things that you want from someone?
If you want your partner to be health-conscious, then be conscious about health and wellness too.
Like attracts like; it’s a simple law of the universe! Try this tip for attracting a partner and improving your current relationship.
5. Show acts of kindness, especially small ones!
If someone comes to our home, we show them courtesy and even special treatment.
We offer this to strangers who call on the phone or people who help us as a part of their job.
Yet we don’t always use good manners and courtesy with the people we live with.
Imagine how your relationship would evolve if you showed loving-kindness, acts of kindness both big and small, and common courtesy.
What would your partner think tonight if you offered them a drink?
You can turn a relationship around with small acts of kindness. Take his car and fill it with gas or wash it.
Knot his tie when he’s dressing for work. Leave him a love note in his pocket. Give him a foot rub to ease his stress.
No matter what his “love language” is, he’ll be touched by an act of kindness.
6. Never go to bed angry
This saying has been around for ages, so we can trust that it truly helps any relationship.
Bedtime isn’t the time to bring up a big issue, but going to bed while angry can cause big problems in a relationship.
You don’t actually go to sleep, but rather both people often lay awake, getting angrier or more hurt.
For a healthier and happier relationship, consider these steps:
• Agree to talk it over the next day so you’re not going to bed giving each other the silent treatment.
• Affirm your love for your partner, even if you’re still in disagreement.
• Set up a step you can both take to start working on the problem, and then let it go for the night.
There are times in every relationship when you need to work it out. There’s a big issue and it needs to be resolved.
If you’re so bothered by something that you’re fuming inside or very hurt, remember tip #2 and bring it up.
But consider timing and try to talk calmly to your partner if it’s late in the day so you’re both aware of what’s going on, and you can work on it later.
7. Work together
Many issues in relationships can be solved when the couple does things together and has fun.
In fact, some issues will go away if a couple makes a commitment to getting closer.
One way to do that is to exercise together and work on projects together.
You’ll be healthier and more satisfied with the relationship.
Couples report feeling healthier and more in love when they have some sort of physical activity together.
8. Find something you both enjoy and do it together regularly
Exercising is awesome, and happy couples find many other ways to spend time together.
It’s surprising and sad how many couples live side by side lives.
They share a home and a bed like roommates, but they have different hobbies and interests.
Most people like going out to dinner and watching a movie…what about shooting pool or bowling?
You might have other activities you did while dating like hiking or road trips.
Some couples sign up for classes or start a new hobby together.
If you’re stumped, have each person make a list of everything they enjoy doing, plus new things they want to try.
Compare lists and see if there’s something that overlaps, or the lists might inspire a new yet similar idea.
Sharing something is such a game-changer, especially if you’ve grown apart, feel like you’re in a rut, or feel that personally, your growth is stagnated.
If you don’t feel that your relationship is a happy one, then perhaps you’re not sharing experiences together that would bring you closer.
Find things to talk about with your partner and create memories together.
9. Explore new things, places, and ideas together regularly
My husband and I are one of those couples that are super close and connected. We travel together every few months.
We love exercising together and even have a small side business that we run as a team.
Some couples have things like this, but they’re so busy that they don’t seem close.
The difference with us is that we’re always discussing things and sharing ideas.
You can nurture a relationship like this by sharing audiobooks, visiting new places, discussing current affairs, and sharing new information or ideas.
Find things you’re excited about, like business, crafts, and hobbies.
Attend seminars about personal growth, finance, relationships, and meditation or any subject that interests you, and then discuss them in detail.
You might have a few interests that don’t overlap, but you can still share and learn about each other.
10. Learn how to talk about intimacy and make your love life great
Intimacy is a funny topic. Some people shy away from talking about it, but it’s at the core of a romantic relationship.
It’s not about keeping up with anyone else but making sure that you and your partner are happy.
People have different needs, so communication is important.
If someone isn’t satisfied, it’s better to talk about what you can change instead of having one person be upset in silence.
Working on the other tips will benefit your love life too.
When people are closer and have more things in common, they connect better as well.
You can try these ideas to increase intimacy in your relationship:
- Send each other articles about intimacy
- Get flirty over texts
- Plan date nights
- Cultivate closeness and communication—this is a big turn on for women
- Talk about likes and dislikes, and what each person wants to try
- Explore different positions together
- Make a point of learning about intimacy together—you have the entire internet and hundreds of books to help!
Finally, think of ways to make your partner feel loved and wanted, and watch what it does for your love life!
11. Set healthy boundaries
If you want to have a happy, healthy relationship, setting boundaries is something you must do.
In a committed relationship, a couple has to agree on what they qualify as red flags or deal breakers and each partner needs to abstain from doing those things.
These things are called boundaries.
Relationship experts often advise couples to set up healthy boundaries from the start of a new relationship.
If you’re confused about setting healthy boundaries, just ask yourself “What will your partner do to hurt you that will warrant you breaking up with him?”
It could be lying, sharing your secrets with others, intruding on your privacy, disrespecting you in public, quarreling in front of your family or cheating on you with someone else.
So, decide on some healthy boundaries you want to enforce in your relationship and let your partner know about them.
Try to also respect the boundaries your partner will outline for you to obey.
Having a healthy and happy relationship isn’t impossible or all that hard.
It takes commitment and the willingness to communicate and learn.
Don’t think that you either have a happy, healthy relationship or you don’t. It’s a journey and process.
No matter where your relationship is at, implementing these tips will produce some favorable results.
About The Author
Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life. As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.
She strongly believes communication and intimacy are important in building a successful relationship.
Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.