Relationships are tricky.
Spend any time on social media and you’ll notice an alarming trend: people are lousy at relationships. But they are great at talking about them.
Stories and personal posts are full of caustic, angry words that are used as weapons. You will quickly realize that there seem to be an inordinate number of unhealthy relationships in the world. It may cause you to wonder about the health of your own relationships. Do your relationships bring you joy or pain?
What does a healthy relationship look like?
According to Psychology Today, a healthy relationship has some specific traits.
One of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship is trust. The partners in a trusting relationship rely on this as a solid foundation on which to build.
Another aspect of healthy relationships is communication. Open and honest communication can help bridge the gap when conflict arises and helps to avoid problems.
Exercising patience with one another is key to having a healthy relationship. Patience allows for flexibility and support, which helps to maintain peace in the relationship.
Also known as gratitude, having an appreciation for your partner in a relationship can be a benchmark for a thriving relationship. Showing gratitude can increase your happiness and help you feel more secure in the relationship.
A quick glance into your own life may reveal some refreshing insight: you have relationships that are thriving.
Why should you be grateful for the healthy relationships you have?
Healthy relationships improve your life.
Not only do relationships enrich your life through connections with other people, they can affect your health in a positive way. When you are involved in a healthy relationship, you are more likely to see an improvement in your physical health. In fact, studies show that people who have at least one positive relationship will live longer, have lower blood pressure, experience less pain and heal faster than those who don’t.
How can you show gratitude for the healthy relationships you have in your life?
Recognize the value of your relationship.
A healthy relationship takes work and commitment. When you have strong ties to another person, it takes work to maintain your relationship.
Show your gratitude to your partner or friend.
It can begin with something simple, a sincere ‘Thank you’ for an act of kindness or service they’ve done. But showing gratitude has a cascading effect that is far from simple. It starts a cycle of gratitude that helps to strengthen the relationship over time. When you feel appreciated, you are more likely to look for additional ways to show your partner you care. They in turn, feel loved and valued so will look for ways to show their appreciation. It can almost become a game of “out-appreciating” each other.
Don’t take the relationship for granted.
A quick look at social media will remind you how important quality, healthy relationships are. Don’t overlook the importance of acknowledging how much you value your relationship with your partner. Put your appreciation into words - both verbal and written - to communicate how grateful you are for the relationship.
Give the relationship priority.
Maintaining a healthy relationship takes work. If you value the relationship, make it clear in the way you carve out time. Check on the health of the relationship frequently by spending time with the other person. Maintain regular contact and place a high value on the time you give the relationship.
When you focus on giving, rather than getting, you are putting the needs and desires of your partner above your own. Studies have shown that people who spent money on others were happier than individuals who spent money on themselves.
Do the unexpected.
Complacency is the enemy of gratefulness. When things become stale in a relationship, it may be because things have become boring. Even when things are going well, falling into a pattern can reduce feelings of gratitude because the good things have become expected. Show your appreciation to your partner by going outside the norm. (Show up with flowers. Send a card in the mail. Have their car detailed. The specific action isn’t as important as the act of doing something they will appreciate and don’t expect!)
Be grateful for the healthy relationships in your life. How are you going to show your gratitude today?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.