Eight secrets of committed, happy and healthy relationships
What is a successful relationship?
Everybody’s idea of a perfect relationship varies. I am sure you have probably come across couples who are extremely happy with their partners and sometimes, you cannot understand why or how that is possible. You might look at them and think you could never be happy in a relationship like theirs, so how can they? The truth is, people look for and value different things and so, no two relationships can ever be the same. However, the secrets which lie behind successful relationships do not have anything to do with the choice of partner – instead, what truly makes a relationship a success is the partnership which exists between the two people; that is, how the two people treat each other and how they feel for one another.
According to Kyle Benson, these are the 8 secret ingredients for a happy, healthy and emotionally-committed relationship:
1. Emotional Investment:
Building a relationship requires a lot of work and a lot of the time, it can be very difficult. The first, and possibly the most important, ingredient for a successful relationship is 100% emotional investment. Both partners need to be completely invested in the relationship – otherwise, there is no reason to be in it. If you are fully and wholly invested in it, you know that whatever comes your way, you will make sure to work through and overcome together.
Couples who make sure to understand, pay attention to and turn towards their partners when they are being talked to are likely to have more successful relationships. Dr. Gottman explains “emotional bids” and says that they can be verbal or behavioural – some examples of emotional bids are when your partner asks you a question, makes a simple statement such as “It’s a beautiful day” or pulls a facial expression. Dr. Gottmann further explained that “couples are always making “bids” for each other’s attention, affection, humor or support, and each bid presents an opportunity for the other individual to turn towards and acknowledge the bid or away and dismiss the bid”. After conducting research on newly-weds, he found that those who had remained married after 6 years had turned to their partner’s bids 86% of the time whereas those who separated only did so 33% of the time.
3. Cherishing one another:
To be in a happy and healthy relationship, you must obviously have positive views of one another. Cherishing each other means making sure you’re always appreciative of what your partner does. People who are in happy and healthy relationships often tend to think and talk positively of their partners. Expressing gratitude and not taking one another for granted is extremely important so that you never forget how lucky you truly are.
4. Making your relationship a priority:
It is important to note that this does not mean neglecting your own needs; rather, it means making sure you do not dismiss your partner and the relationship that you are trying to build and grow together. Making time for your partner and putting in the effort to listen to and understand their needs is key to a successful relationship – of course, it is necessary that they do the same.
5. Building a strong friendship:
Benson writes that ‘if the above ingredients are available, it’s easy to see why committed lovers feel that there is no better partner in the world than the one that they have’. Although relationships do rely on romance and intimacy, couples who are in successful relationships as more than just partners – they are best friends. Your partner should be your best friend: the person you share your secrets and laugh out loud with.
6. Seeking understanding during conflict:
This is one of the most important ingredients for a successful relationship. Conflict and arguments do not ruin relationships. What has the power to ruin a relationship is how the conflict is handled. If you do argue but always try – really try – to understand where your partner’s concerns are coming from and how you can work on fixing things together, then you have nothing to fear. People in successful relationships work hard to understand their partners instead of dismissing their concerns and fighting to ‘win’ an argument. There is no winning an argument: successful relationships are built by resolving not winning.
7. Interdependence and Independence:
A balance between interdependence and independence should be found in order to ensure a happy, healthy relationship. It is important that partners feel like they can depend on each other for closeness, comfort and security; however, one should not become too dependent on their partner. A level of independence is necessary so that you do not feel like you rely too much on your partner and they do not begin to feel suffocated. In addition to this, being independent allows you to pursue and share your concerns openly and honestly.
Insecurity can ruin a relationship. Successful relationships are secure and steady as the partners know that they can trust and rely on each other. If one is constantly on edge and insecure about the relationship’s strength or their partner’s affection towards them, then the relationship will most likely fail. Working on building trust and security is key in a healthy relationship.