A healthy relationship relies on effective communication. It is important to understand what your partner wants and how best to meet those needs.
For example, if your partner thrives on verbal recognition and affirmation, make sure to show them that you appreciate their efforts daily. This is a great way to build positive power and keep your relationship happy.
1. Take Care of Yourself
If you’re not taking care of your own physical and emotional well-being, you can’t be a source of nourishment for those around you. It’s like the old airplane warning: Put on your oxygen mask before helping others.
You must have a daily routine that includes healthy eating, regular exercise and sleep, and time for personal interests. And that’s especially important in a relationship because you and your partner share many roles: lover, parent, business associate, friend. Spending time together in activities that aren’t just fun but also help you strengthen your bond can keep romance alive.
In a world that values productivity above all else, it’s easy to fall into a workaholic trap where self-care falls by the wayside. But that can take its toll on your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s essential to set aside time for activities that aren’t tied to your job or other obligations – even if it’s just 30 minutes a day.
Some of these activities may be social or spiritual, but they all can help you feel more at ease and happy in yourself, which can in turn feed your relationship. For example, a simple act such as complimenting your spouse – especially in front of the children if that’s an option – can make a big difference in how you both relate.
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Nourishing power also means coming alongside your mate in his or her moments of weakness and offering moral support. It’s why the writer of Hebrews urges us to encourage each other daily. And if you don’t do it, your relationship could quickly deteriorate. So if you’re not doing it already, start today. You’ll find it’s easier and more satisfying than you might think.
2. Make Time for Each Other
To cultivate positive relationships, we need to put them first. This includes limiting screen time in favor of more face-to-face interactions, as well as establishing healthy communication. This can be achieved by using non-violent communication techniques, such as Marshall B. Rosenberg’s non-judgmental listening, which helps to eliminate blame and resentment when discussing issues. For example, instead of saying “When you’re late for our dates, I feel like you don’t care,” try communicating how their actions make you feel.
In addition, it’s important to set aside time for each other in the form of non-negotiable weekly dates. Spending quality time together can increase feelings of intimacy and closeness, which can help prevent high levels of stress from building in your relationship. Additionally, laughing can boost positivity by decreasing cortisol levels, so plan to laugh together (research shows that doing impersonations is an excellent way to get your partner to smile).
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The most important thing is that you and your partner be devoted to each other. If you’re in a relationship where it’s more about you than your partner, this can be toxic and lead to disengagement. To reignite the passion in your relationship, you need to be ready to shift away from your old patterns and move into a new way of being in your relationship.
If you’re having trouble navigating the new way of being in your relationship, getting support from a couples therapist can be helpful. They can teach you the master skills and disciplines of love and passion, such as giving freedom to your partner and embracing unconditional love and compassion, which will help to heal your past and open the door to a new way of being in your relationship.
3. Be Honest
For your relationships to be nourishing, you need to be honest with each other. This requires you to have a sense of safety that allows you to express yourself authentically and without fear of judgment or rejection. This is something that can be nurtured in a relationship based on shared values and acceptance of the uniqueness of each individual, as well as one that promotes communication centered around openness and self-disclosure.
Honesty also involves being kind to each other. For example, if your partner tells you how they feel about something that hurts your feelings, don’t shut them down or call them stupid. This will only make them less likely to speak honestly with you in the future, and it’s also unkind. Instead, try to see if there’s any way to address their point of view and help them understand what you mean by what you said.
This kind of honesty is also necessary in ethical non-monogamy relationships, as it’s important to be able to talk about your feelings and needs with each other. It can be scary to do so, but it’s a crucial step in creating a healthy relationship where everyone feels safe to be themselves.
To foster this kind of honesty in your relationship, make it a priority and set the stage for how you’ll both approach communication. If you’re both on board, it can be easier to practice honesty throughout the rest of your life as well. A recent study found that honesty leads to greater success in romantic relationships!1
4. Practice Accountability
Keeping in line with your intention to cultivate positive, nourishing relationships means being aware of what you are doing, and the little things that you can do daily to make those deposits. It is like watering a flower – little things can have big impacts.
Nourishment also includes recognizing when your significant other is going through a rough patch and making an effort to bring in optimism, moral support, and practical solutions to help them get through it. It is about balancing power imbalances and giving each other space to heal. It is about preserving individuality and respecting and appreciating differences.
5. Make Time for Self-Care
Many people struggle to balance their responsibilities with taking care of themselves. Whether it’s work, chores around the house, or caring for children or parents, there is always something that needs to be done. This can cause us to neglect our own needs. But to be an effective partner and parent, we must take time to recharge.
Practicing self-care doesn’t have to be complicated, but it can be difficult when you are constantly bombarded with tasks and pressures. It is important to prioritize your health, and this includes making time for exercise. Even if you only do 10 minutes of yoga or go on a short walk each day, this can help you feel less overwhelmed and more relaxed.
The key is to make this a regular part of your schedule and to stick to it. Creating a routine for yourself can be hard to do, but you will likely find that it gets easier the more you do it. You may also find that you start to crave it.
Another way to practice self-care is to be kind to yourself. This can be as simple as avoiding negative self-talk and choosing words of affirmation. It can also be as complex as practicing mindful meditation or setting aside a journaling time each night.
Nourishing relationships are built over time and centered on mutual accountability. When we cultivate these habits, it is easier to overcome obstacles and manage conflict effectively. By focusing on the basics, you can build healthy and satisfying connections that can last a lifetime.