Some helpful tips on how to have a healthy relationship.

True love can be tricky. Whether you're just beginning a new relationship or if you've been a couple for years: your relationship needs nurturing to stay healthy. Here are some tips on how to have a healthy relationship, and keep the spark of love burning brightly.

Happiness is for you

Don't rely on your partner to make you happy. Your partner cannot complete you; you are already complete. Respect and value yourself as an individual. Find out what makes you happy in life as an individual then try to realise your dream.

Communication

Regular communication will keep your relationship alive. Talk about the issues that are important to you; talk about something you enjoyed during your day; share your fears and hopes. It's all too easy to fall into a routine of just talking about the mundane necessities of life and forget about sharing your big ideas. Communicating about your plans and dreams will keep the spark alive in your relationship and remind you of what attracted you to your partner in the beginning.

Constructive conflict

No matter how in love you are, you're not going to agree on every aspect of life. So it's how you deal with conflict within your relationship that's important. Listen to your partner's point of view and make sure they listen to yours. Try to see things from their perspective and vice versa. Don't see your conflicts as a chance to score points or win; see them as a chance to learn how you can both compromise to make you both happy. Never say things to purposely hurt your partner, it's often impossible to take them back once spoken. Instead of seeing conflict as a battle to be won or lost, try to work together to solve an issue.

Trust

This is essential for a relationship to thrive. People usually think of trust within a relationship in terms of fidelity but it can also relate to trusting that your partner has your best interests at heart and trusting them to make the best decisions for your relationship and your family.

Together and apart

Spending time together is what keeps your relationship alive. But taking time to pursue your own interests separately from your partner is also important.

Express yourself

You should feel comfortable being yourself within a relationship. Having to pretend to be somebody you're not is not part of a healthy relationship. This means that you can express your opinions freely and that you are able to say 'no' to anything you don't want to do without fearing how your partner will react.

Listen

If you stop listening to your partner your relationship will crumble. Nodding and smiling is not good enough. Your partner needs to be heard. Think about what they are saying and offer a constructive opinion. Don't interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand what they need from you.

Don't play mind games

A gentle, loving honesty will nurture your relationship. Mind games will break it. Playing mind games with your partner's emotions has no place in a grown-up relationship. Say what you mean clearly to your partner and if you don't understand what they want - ask them.

Actions speak louder

An act of kindness or a loving deed by your partner is worth a million declarations of 'I love you'. A healthy relationship consists of multiple acts of kindness every time you are together. These are not grand or showy romantic deeds but small things, like bringing you a cup of tea in the morning, preparing a meal, recording your favourite TV show or giving you a hug.

Laughter

A healthy relationship is full of laughter and love. You feel comfortable and happy in each other's company. If being together stops being fun, this is an indication one or both of you has a deeper issue that needs confronting in order for the relationship to flourish.

Forgiveness

You can't continue a relationship if one of you is bearing a grudge. The weight of this hurt will wear away at your relationship. If one partner has emotionally hurt the other, then you need to completely forgive and move forward, or end the relationship. Carrying around anger is self destructive. Release the hurt or let go of your partner.

Harmonious home

Your relationship should be where you find comfort, relaxation and peace. If you often feel anxious or stressed around your partner, this is not healthy. You should feel safe with your partner at all times: physically and emotionally. If you do not feel safe this is not a healthy relationship.

Passion

This is part of what separates a friendship from a romantic relationship. Your intimacy should be easy and natural. One partner should not feel pressured into behaving in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Romantic chemistry is an important aspect of a healthy relationship but it is not the most important - it is just one aspect of many that make up your connection as a couple.

Don't Compete

Your relationship should be full of kindness and empathy. You should be happy for your partner's successes and he should encourage and support you in your endeavours. A healthy relationship is a nurturing relationship where both partners have room to grow emotionally and in their careers.

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