12 Healthy Relationship Tips
For Couples

So... You want your relationship to be AMAZING?

Then know that this doesn't JUST HAPPEN but takes work, planning and mutual understanding! Great relationships need to be tendered, nurtured and invested into... (even when you sometimes feel like doing the opposite)!

Here are 12 healthy relationship tips (in no particular order) that, if practiced, are worth their weight in gold in your relationship:

Healthy Relationship Tip 1:
You are NOT always right and not everything has to be done the way you've always done it in the past. Genuinely try to see your partner's perspective while momentarily suspending your own. There IS a reason they believe what they believe. Seek to understand first BEFORE you seek to be understood!

Healthy Relationship Tip 2:
Recognise the need to be adaptable and flexible in your relationship. Realise that "What was important in the morning, is not necessarily as important in the afternoon." In other words, we tend to see things with differing levels of importance at differing times and seasons in our life. Weigh up what is most important to you NOW and INVEST in those things. True investment and love come from giving (or even temporarily withholding) the things that are most precious or hardest for us to sacrifice (eg our time, vulnerability etc). Just because some things are hard, or not as we anticipated they would be, doesn't mean that they are not part of God's best for us, especially if we aspire to maximise our full potential and live out our God-given destiny.

Healthy Relationship Tip 3:
Realise that relationships ARE about compromise... but that this is not always as easy or as simple as splitting a piece of pie exactly in half. Discuss the issue fully: Make sure that both parties understand the other's perspective. Does one party feel much more strongly about something than the other? Does the issue impinge on either's core foundational values in life? If so, then tread carefully knowing that such an issue, if compromised, may somewhat destabilise that person's code of truth or sense of self-identity.

Healthy Relationship Tip 4:
Men and women have very different underlying NEEDS in a committed love relationship. While generalisations certainly don't hold true for all: Men long for sexual connection and intimacy and from this feel released to give of themselves in a more emotionally vulnerable way. Women long for emotional intimacy and through feeling loved and secure in this then feel released to give of themselves fully in more sexually vulnerable expressions of love. Here is displayed one of the fundamental differences between the sexes (and certainly the most common reason in my own experience for couples to seek counselling).

How do we deal with this? The greatest definition of love of all time can be found in the Bible's famous passage of scripture in 1 Corinthians 13. Amongst other things it states that love is patient and kind; not envious, boastful or proud; that it does not behave rudely and is not self-seeking. Imagine being like this. STOP!! Take stock of your underlying motivations: Are they about what you will GET back from the relationship (sexually, emotionally, financially etc)? Why not turn it around and GIVE without any strings attached and watch your relationship blossom!

In short, while recognising the stage of committment you are at within your relationship (eg. just met, dating, married, etc), and operating with healthy boundaries in place especially early on in these, we need to selflessly suspend our own needs and desires and address our partner's needs first. In doing this, the laws of giving and abundance never disappoint the giver.

Healthy Relationship Tip 5:
Respect within a relationship is essential... both with words and in action. Realise that you have the power to create the relationship of your dreams. The more respect shown in the hardest things (eg. differeces of opinions, sexual boundaries etc), the more love and trust that develops.

Healthy Relationship Tip 6:
Learn to control anger. Saying hurtful things when annoyed (even if they're true!), hanging up in conversations, rolling eyes in apathy or placing ultimatums on the relationship only erode trust and vulnerability. Rectify these short-circuits quickly otherwise, as intimacy expert Snarch identifies in these "stone-walling" behaviours, this is often the beginning of the end for closeness within the relationship.

Work out rules associated with arguing when you're both feeling really close to one another. These might include such things as a word or phrase one person may use if they think things are getting out of hand... this would then identify to the other party that the other person needs "timeout" to calm down, before you resume the conversation within an agreed period of time.

Healthy Relationship Tip 7:
You are made up so many facets... including experiences from your PAST RELATIONSHIPS. Learn from these but recognise that things are different in the relationship you're now in. Don't project these old hurts, pains and insecurities onto your partner!!! (it's easy to do, so be aware).

Healthy Relationship Tip 8:
Don't blame your partner for your own insecurities and recognise your own "touchy" topics.

Healthy Relationship Tip 9:
Keep short accounts with each other. When you mess up, appologize quickly... when you're even a "little bit wrong", appologize for that! Don't let pride get the better of you when you know you're in the wrong.

Healthy Relationship Tip 10:
There's an old Bible verse that says "Don't let the sun go down in your anger towards a brother". In other words, make a pact with each other, that you WILL NOT go to bed on an arguement or misunderstanding, but... even if you can't agree... that you will reaffirm your love and committment to one another.

Healthy Relationship Tip 11:
Good communication is alwasy crucial in a healthy relationship. Actively LISTEN to what your partner says. Practice the art of reflecting and validating your partner's feelings after they share with you. For example, After listening to his partner, Bob says "So, you're really disappointed that..." etc. This allows your partner to feel that they have been heard and understood.

An extension of this I like to call "Drive Through Listening". When you go through a Drive-Through, the person asks for your order, listens, repeats your order back to you and seeks clarification as to whether this was correct or not. While a little painful at first, this simple method is one tried-and-true way of FINALLY getting individuals to more fully understand what their partner is saying... keep this in mind if you both hear yourself shouting "You're not understanding what I'm saying!"

Healthy Relationship Tip 12:
Each person has a predominant language in which they most clearly understand expressions of love. These are called "love languages". Find out from your partner what their primary and secondary love languages are, then communicate your love via these means regularly (and not just through your OWN preferred love language as this may not be the same as your partner's).
(nb The five love languages are: quality time, physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation and gift giving).

Actively use these 12 key healthy relationship tips and watch your relationship go to places you had only dreamed...

Your relationship coach,


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