- Perfect relationships don’t exist; problems do and will arise, but the good news is that couples can effectively resolve many common relationship issues.
- First and foremost, couples need to maintain a healthy level of trust and respect, as these two elements can make or break a relationship.
- Another vital key to a strong relationship is healthy communication: couples should learn how to communicate effectively, which will help to “flush out difficulties.”
- Couples can also benefit from deciding to work against the problem, instead of pitting themselves against each other.
- Additionally, couples need to remember to have fun together, as it’s critical to building and also maintaining the relationship.
- Lastly, whether or not a couple is currently experiencing difficulties, they should consider working with a couples counselor to further strengthen their relationship.
There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. Every couple experiences their share of issues, whether they be rooted in jealousy, a big move, financial trouble, or a lack of trust. Fortunately, however, you and your significant other can work together to weather these storms. Implement the following, as suggested by marriage therapists and psychologists, to maintain a strong, healthy relationship when problems arise:
1) Maintain trust and respect.
Shae Vian, a registered psychologist, says that trust and respect must be prioritized. “You can’t have a healthy relationship without either of these. If you trust your partner, insecurities and jealousy will rarely be an issue when life throws problems at you,” Vian explains. “For example, when big life changes happen such as someone losing their job or if they have children, people can feel quite emotionally low—but having a good level of trust established will really help mitigate these problems as you know your partner will stand by you through these difficult times.” Vian goes on to explain the important role of respect: “Respect is also crucial… this may mean always making sure they are made to feel special and put first, asking them for their advice and showing you value their opinions when it comes to making big decisions or even little ones.”
2) Learn how to communicate.
“Learning to communicate is one of the best pieces of advice you can take when trying to keep a relationship healthy,” says Melissa Thompson, licensed marriage and family therapist. “We aren’t taught how to effectively communicate. The number one way to communicate with your partner is to lead with vulnerability. Share as authentically as you can about what’s coming up for you. Don’t let challenges and arguments build up and get shoved under the rug. It’s so important to flush out difficulties so they don’t get stuck and built up over time.”
3) Work against the problem, not each other.
Couples should also decide to work together to conquer any given issue that arises. Remember: you’re on the same team. “What I have seen when couples come under stress is they tend to fight against each other—whereas they can be looking at the problem as separate from themselves, as a third part of their relationship,” says Christi Garner, licensed marriage and family therapist. “Looking at the problem as opposite of themselves puts the couple on the same side of the problem. That way, they work against ‘the problem,’ not against each other.”
4) Remember to have fun.
Licensed Psychologist Eliza Belle says simply remembering to have fun together is another key aspect in keeping your relationship strong and surviving potential threats: “Life can get in the way and priorities become work: raising kids and/or financial responsibilities involved in just surviving. But if it’s possible to think back to the dating period, there was most likely more excitement, spontaneity, and new experiences. Those elements were stress relievers, endorphin producers, and essential in developing the foundation for the relationship,” she explains. “They also are critical to maintaining the relationship, though often easy to forget about. Don’t view dating as frivolous in comparison to new priorities. Give fun its value, and you may see an increase in your relationship satisfaction.”
5) Consider couples therapy.
Finally, consider going to couples therapy—a mental health professional can help you and your partner work through tough issues. Additionally, if you aren’t currently experiencing trouble, a couples therapist can help you to capitalize on the good and prepare for issues that may arise in the future, as explained by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Suzanne Wallach: “Even if you aren’t having problems, couples treatment can help when things are good. It’s great to have a space to go to talk even when there isn’t a crisis. Relationships need time and work, and having a good couples therapist can give you the ability to cope during good and bad times.”