Phoebe Dunn, 19.06.2015

Building healthy relationships in 7 steps

We’ve all seen those couples whose relationship just seems to flourish. But don’t be fooled - healthy relationships don’t happen by chance; they're the result of open communication, empathy and understanding.

We spoke to our in-house psychologist, Salama Marine, about her top relationship tips on how to build the foundation for a resilient, happy and long-lasting partnership. 

Here are 7 ways to make it happen.

1. Make an effort to spend time together

This doesn’t need to be the stuff of Hollywood romance – it’s simply about setting aside a part of your day to do something together. Maybe it’s watering the plants, going for a quick walk around the block or cooking the evening meal from your favourite recipe book – time spent together creates a sense of togetherness and reinforces the notion that you’re an unstoppable team.

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2. It’s ok to have time apart

As important as it is to spend time together, it’s equally important to have time apart. Not only does it make you appreciate all the good things about your partner, but it also recharges your batteries so you can be the best you can be by following your own hobbies and interests. Marine explains ‘’Finding the right balance between [individual and couple time] is one of the most difficult exercises in any relationship. It takes work, but once you find the right rhythm, your relationship can’t get much healthier.’’

3. Say sorry when you’re in the wrong

Apologies are an important way to show that you have respect for your loved ones. While this applies to all types of relationships, romantic relationships benefit especially from the restorative power of saying sorry. Don’t waste your (and their time) explaining all the reasons why you didn’t mean to be wrong. Instead, remember that saying sorry isn’t a sign of weakness – it actually requires great strength to admit that your mistakes, so step up to the plate and just say the ‘s’ word; you’re doing your bit to maintain a healthy relationship with your special someone.

4. Learn to compromise... or agree to disagree!

Marriage counsellors will agree that it’s the culmination of small things that tend to lead to bigger problems in romantic relationships. So before they come to a head, address the small contentious issues; maybe your partner tends to prioritise social engagements over dinner dates for the two of you, maybe they simply leave the washing in the machine longer than you would like  whatever it may be, working through these small things is important because when you get to the big issues you will have had practice in the art of compromise and conflict resolution. Marine explains, ‘’At the beginning of a relationship, some people tend to make concessions because of love, because of passion – but they do it so much, that sometimes they forget their own stance. This can accumulate, which... can make discussion difficult when real compromise is needed.’’

READ MORE: Great relationships start from great beginnings. Learn how to have a perfect first date here.

5. See problems as challenges – and face them together

No matter how strong your relationship is, at some point you’re going to encounter some bumpy bits in the road. But rather than taking out your anguish on your partner, try to re-frame it as a solvable problem, and unite together to overcome it. Marine advises: ‘’take the time to really understand your partner by listening to and respecting his/her ideas and show that you are attentive to his/her arguments by asking questions. This will help you find and propose solutions in agreement with both parties.’’

6. Laugh!

Shared laughter is one of the most effective ways to cement two people together. In other words, couples that laugh together stay together! Of course, there will be times where you and your partner need to sit down and really work through the tough issues, but it’s equally important to see your partner as a pal – someone whose company you really enjoy. Laughter has the power to heal resentments, express deep emotions and build lasting bonds – so never miss the opportunity to have a laugh with your loved one.

READ MORE: Learn how to express your sense of humour and other positive character traits online - read our top dating profile tips

7. Appreciate your partner!

Relationships aren’t about sticking with a choice you made long ago – healthy relationships happen when you chose to be with your partner day after day. Marine confirms that: ‘'it’s the responsibility of both partners to continue to seduce each other.'’ So regardless of whether you like to show your love via grand gestures or little complements, the main thing is that you show your partner how appreciated they are - day in, day out.

With these 7 relationship tips you’re on the way to creating a strong, resilient and healthy partnership. Of course, being paired with a compatible partner gives you a huge head start; if you’re single and looking for true connection, let EliteSingles help you find that special someone – find out more about our matchmaking process, or simply register here to start your profile.

About Salama Marine

Salama Marine trained at the Paris College of Psychological Practitioners, and is now a registered Psychologist helping people with their interpersonal relationships in the realm of love, sex and marriage. She has worked extensively within the online dating industry, and provides consultation to those wishing to connect with like-minded partners online.

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