Want to Feel Close & Connected? Tips to Build Healthy Relationships
If you are like most people then you long to feel close to the one you love. Wishing for that “special connection” and a sense of belonging, you desire the certainty of acceptance that makes love worth the work. But do you really know what kind of work keeps that connection strong? If not, be gentle with yourself. After all, we humans are naturally lovehungry. Unfortunately, you (along with most others) are fed a lot of false ideas about achieving a healthy relationship from very early on. Thus, much of your romantic diet is media-manufactured or in the subtle and not so subtle interactions of those around you.
For lack of the right tools and skills, few people are able to establish and maintain close connections. Rather, you dive in to love with fingers crossed, hoping for the best. While romantic comedies and love songs are not useful guidance when inevitable conflict, stress, boredom, tragedy, or life transitions happen, they do confirm that healthy couples have information worth seeking out.
So what’s the secret? How do you stay close and connected? What does it take to build, maintain, or restore a healthy relationship that lasts?
How to Build Healthy Relationships
Fortunately, relationship building is no secret. It is a process. One you and your partner can learn to ensure you connect well. The tips below can begin to teach you how right now.
1. Clearly define your core values and goals
Healthy couples take time to get on the same page. Partners check-in to align their thoughts on where they are going and why.Clearly defining your path and what you hope to achieve in life solidifies your commitment and connection as you navigate failures and success as a couple.
2. Share openly and often
To promote a strong bond, trust is paramount. Trust blossoms with frequent and honest sharing. Healthy, committed couples do not deal is secrets or fear of each other’s responses.Connections become stronger as you show each other your whole selves without fearing rejection. Acceptance and compassion are key parts of communication.
3. Create and protect an emotionally safe space between you
Strongly bonded couples keep each other emotionally safe. They refrain from being dismissive or disrespectful. In addition to sharing openly about themselves, both partners must feel secure sharing their needs and wants in the context of the relationship. Responsive, compassionate listening with attention focused on understanding and meeting each other’s need for safety and belonging is extremely important.
4. Embrace your individuality
Healthy couples are comprised of two emotionally healthy individuals. If you and your partner have a well-defined sense of yourselves, your gifts, and your desires, your relationship can benefit greatly. Your relationship does not define either of you as people. Your relationship is enhanced, not threatened, by your ability to maintain your identities and bring your own unique qualities and interests to the union.
5. Prioritize quality time together…and apart
A healthy, committed relationship prioritizes quality time and interaction. Neither controls the other’s time but they do look to connect meaningfully as often as they are both comfortable. A happy couple is also okay to separate and reunite, having spent away time with loved ones, co-workers, and community members. This way they can come back together feeling refreshed and supported inside and outside of the relationship.
6. Celebrate, encourage, and challenge each other
A healthy couple supports each other’s growth and change. Partners who believe in each other and lift each other up solidify their connection thoroughly. Celebrating, complimenting, and praising each other cements that you can be counted on and be the best for each other.
7. Manage conflict with dignity, respect, and a willingness to compromise
Healthy couples experience conflict. It is natural and, handled well, can be opportunities for growth. Try to stay focused on negotiation rather than scoring points. Prioritize your connection in mind and remember that you love your partner more than any contest of wills. Doing anything to demean or harm your partner will damage the connection you want.
In building a close and connected relationship, it is essential that your relationship tools do not rust or become obsolete. A healthy relationship is always built on loving-kindness, trust, empathy, understanding, and respect. If you struggle to use the tools well, a therapist can show you how to master them. There’s no shame in reaching out for a bit of expertise, encouragement, and support.
If you would like me to help you and your partner develop a closer connection, I would love to help! Please feel free to contact me for a consultation.