After years in a relationship you may tend to end up on auto pilot. You may forget how or why you fell in love.
Relationships whether new or old need to be continually nurtured.
Is your relationship strong in commitment, respect, love, trust and communication?
Maybe your relationship is strong in some of these areas and not others. If you are wanting to build a healthy relationship, all 5 of these components are necessary for your relationship to be wholesome.
Commitment is essential for a long-term relationship. Even if you love, respect, trust and communicate in your relationship, if you are unwilling to persevere through difficulties then your relationship will not last. Threatening to leave or abandon the relationship breaks commitment, and makes it emotionally unsafe for your partner to get close to you.
If you want to strengthen commitment in your relationship:
1. Take a temporary time out if you are going to say or do things that cause more damage. Let your partner know you will be back when you are calmer and able to problem solve.
2. Reassure your partner you are in it for the long haul.
3. Plan future events together. This gives your partner the message you want to continue the relationship.
4. If you are in a marriage where children will be adversely effected from a break-up, seek outside support through counseling, books on healthy relationships, or spiritual guidance, for skills and perseverance through the difficult times.
Respect is important for harmony and cooperation in your relationship. Verbally degrading, or abusing your partner emotionally, physically, or sexually is disrespectful, and causes resentment and hurts that create fear and distance in the relationship.
If you want to strengthen respect in your relationship:
1. Practice restraint. Remove yourself from situations if anger is escalating to the point of yelling, or name calling.
2. Give yourself healthy outlets such as journaling, exercise, counseling, supportive friends, and deep breathing to manage daily stress, so that when you interact in your relationship you are courteous.
3. Role model the behavior you expect from your partner.
4. Honor boundaries. If your partner says, “I don’t want to talk about it,” don’t force them to share. Ask them, “When would be a good time to talk?”
Love is an essential ingredient that allows you and your partner’s good qualities to be expressed in the relationship. Not accepting your partner for who they are is conditional and causes your partner to withdraw from you.
If you want to strengthen love in your relationship:
1. Be kind
2. Be patient
3. Forgive your partner for their mistakes
4. Make choices that benefit the relationship, not just you
Trust is required to build confidence and security with your partner. Lying, cheating, or stealing breaks trust, and causes a loss of respect and dependability in the relationship.
If you want to strengthen trust in your relationship:
1. Don’t make promises you are unable to keep. It is better to say, “I can’t promise that.”
2. Do not share things that are not going to help the relationship grow. You are allowed to have private thoughts and memories.
3. If your partner has evidence that you broke their trust, apologize and let them know what you are going to do to correct the betrayal. Denying evidence decreases the level of trust your partner can have in you.
4. Ask God to establish the quality of faithfulness in you, so that you become a trustworthy person.
Communication teaches your partner what your needs are and how to get along with you. It is necessary for problem solving in the relationship. Assuming that your partner knows how you feel stunts the relationship from growing. Lack of communication is the primary reason relationships end.
If you want better communication in your relationship:
1. Give eye contact when your partner is talking to you. This gives your partner the message that what they have to say is important.
2. Listen and repeat back what you hear your partner saying. This gives your partner the message they are being heard.
3. Agree to disagree. If you are the kind of person who has to be right, or has to have the final say you will not have harmonious communication.
4. When you bring up unresolved issues in your relationship offer a solution, or ask your partner for a solution.
We are created to be in relationships with people. As you master commitment, respect, love, trust, and communication your connections with people will become healthier. People will be enhanced by being in a relationship with you, and you can become a positive influence for change in their lives.
Relationships are your reflection of how to be a better you.
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Counselor and author of Good Things Emotional Healing Journal: Addiction