Written by Writer’s Corps member Tyler Clancy
We’ve all seen this hashtag and it’s likely that we’ve used it too. #Goals are everywhere. It’s on your spring break photo from Cancun, that cute date pic your friend posted online and even used for your favorite animal couple 🐶. But what is relationship goals? Though billions of people post photos of their “perfect” relationship online, it’s hard to say what happens behind the post. And since we can’t be sure that every couple that posts about being #Goals online actually are, we thought we’d share a few habits that healthy couples do to strengthen their relationship IRL. We’re not pretending to have all of the answers and we recognize that what works for some couples, won’t work for others but we do know that satisfaction within a relationship doesn’t happen by accident. So, without further ado here are 4 daily habits couples do to make their relationship rock solid.
Disclaimer: They aren’t easy but nothing worthwhile is!
They Aren’t Afraid to be Vulnerable
When talking about vulnerability, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain said, “Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life.” When we’re reading a personal blog or acting as a confidant to a friend it’s relatively easy for us to accept this notion, but when we have the opportunity to share a little bit of our soul? Not so much.
In fact, when your S.O. starts to see parts of you that are anything but perfect (i.e. how gassy you get after you eat pizza ), you might begin to feel like Elsa from “Frozen.” “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see…conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.” But if you want to take your relationship to the next level, and by next level, we mean to experience a deeper sense of trust and compassion with your partner, then you have to open up (at least, sometimes). It might be tough but, being vulnerable is the key to truly connecting with your partner. And when your willing to open up you give them permission to open up too.
We all have our imperfections, but in the age of social media, those imperfections really aren’t shown to the public. It might not get likes or followers, but being honest about your flaws and accepting your partner for their flaws will help to deepen your relationship. Trust us on this one. You’re way more beautiful because of the quirks that make you different. When you know your partner loves you for who you are, you’ll feel empowered with confidence that only comes from being in a happy and healthy relationship! Compassion can be a powerful and empowering force in our lives especially when we promote compassion in our relationships.
I’ll never forget where I was standing on the first day of 8th grade when the new girl walked in. My face turned red and my knees became jello. Although humorous now, those feelings of attraction were so powerful that I vividly remember them almost seven years later! When people typically look for long-term partners, they look for qualities like reliability, support, and predictability. However, as the novelty of a new relationship fades it becomes difficult for couples to hold on to that initial spark that made them want to be in a relationship in the first place. There are no quick fixes for reigniting a relationship that has lost its spark but, spontaneity isn’t a quick fix, it’s a way of life. Couples that are spontaneous are more likely to be in happier relationships because spontaneity reminds people of the enthusiasm they felt when they initially met their partner. And the best part is being spontaneous doesn’t have to be a lot of work either. There are lots of ways to show your partner you care, like picking up their favorite snack or surprising them with their favorite meal.
They Settle Arguments The Right Way
Picture this – you and your partner are having a disagreement over what movie to watch. After five minutes of debate, it snowballs into a full-on argument about who forgot to take the trash out, who spent money that they shouldn’t have, and other disputes that have absolutely nothing to do with the movie you were going to watch. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Many couples find themselves in these situations more often than they would like to admit but, couples in healthy relationships don’t argue to win. In fact, arguing to win is pretty basic. Instead, happy couples foster healthy communication practices, like asking open-ended questions and actively listening to their partner’s response, that lets their S.O. know that they’re opinions matter. When you’re able to discuss anything with your partner, the good and the bad, you’re able to avoid circular arguments and improve your relationship.
There’s no big secret or mathematical formula for a healthy relationship. Healthy relationships are built step by step, brick by brick. They take hard work and a genuine concern for your partner’s feelings and well being. Because of our uniqueness as individuals, there is no one size fits all solution, but as you apply these principles with love, you will find the framework for a healthy and fulfilling relationship.
Take a chance by being spontaneous and have the courage to be vulnerable, that’s how you build healthier relationships and learn to #LoveBetter. There is an old Chinese proverb that says “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Have the courage to take that step, today.