Secrets of a good relationship

The reason why couples stay together and have a happy, healthy relationship is not due to luck or chance. As a result of hard work and commitment, they figure out the importance of the key relationship principles. These can be thought of as the following ‘Top 10 relationship secrets’:

1. Be realistic.

Successful couples realise that the initial infatuation they experienced when their romance was new cannot last for ever, and that this is replaced over time by a deeper relationship that still includes romance. To expect any long-term relationship not to have its share of ups and downs over time is unrealistic.

2. Work on the relationship.

In any relationship it is important to address any problems and misunderstandings immediately in order to keep it healthy. Good relationships do not just happen naturally - like anything else you want to succeed in life, it must be worked on and tended to on a regular basis. Neglect the relationship, and it will often go downhill.

3. Make sure you spend time together.

There is no substitute for shared quality time. It does not really matter what you are doing together as long as it is a shared activity – this could be walking together, finding time to eat together or doing a hobby together that you enjoy, not just watching television!

4. Make room for separate time.

It is sometimes forgotten that spending time apart is also an important component of a happy relationship. It is healthy to have some separate interests and activities and to come back to the relationship refreshed and ready to share your experiences. Missing your partner helps remind you how important he or she is to you.

5. Respect your differences.

It is often the differences in a couple that attract them to each other in the first place so focus on the positive aspects of any differences between you and find an appreciation for those exact things that make the two of you different from one another. It’s likely that your differences balance one another out and make you a great team.

6. Don’t try to change your partner.

If both you and your partner stop trying to change each other, you will eliminate the source of most of your arguments. At the same time, each of you should focus on giving one another more of what you know the other person wants, even if it doesn’t come naturally. Your partner will usually notice your effort and make more of an effort themselves.

7. Accept that some problems can’t be solved.

There may be issues upon which you cannot agree. Rather than wasting energy, agree to disagree, and try to compromise or work around the issue. Two people cannot spend years together without disagreeing on different matters. The test of a happy relationship is how you choose to work through such issues — through compromise, change, or simply by not bothering about it too much.

8. Communication is everything!

Lack of communication is the main reason why even good relationships fail. If you find it too easy to argue and not get anything resolved, listen to your partner’s position, without interrupting him or her - just listen. When he or she is finished, summarize what you heard him or her say. If you can, empathize with your significant other even though you don’t agree. This will help your partner to stop being defensive, and make it easier for them to hear your thoughts and feelings. It’s hard to argue when you use this format, and best of all, you may come up with an understanding or a solution.

9. Be honest with each other.

You may have to share with your partner things he or she doesn’t want to hear but it is better to do this than to have him or her doubt your honesty. Mistrust is one of the key deal breakers in relationships. And once trust is lost or broken, it can take a very long time to re-establish it in the relationship. The happiest couples are the ones where honesty happens easily and naturally.

10. Don’t take your partner for granted.

Treating your partner with respect is likely to get you the same in return, and reminding them regularly how much they mean to you will help keep your relationship fresh. When you say, “I love you,” pause for a moment to really mean it, and don’t overuse it as an expression. Always try to remember to express your feelings of appreciation with your partner — he or she will thank you for it.

Making these tips a daily part of your relationship is not easy but over the long-term they help to keep a relationship solid and healthy.