What most people want out of a relationship is to feel respected, emotionally intimate, understood, and loved. Building a strong, nurturing, and healthy relationship requires both participants to be present and dedicated to the fullest.
However, sometimes, even if everything is going great, the nature of our mind can push us to pay attention to negative things. That’s called the negativity bias. We do it all the time: no matter how well things are going, if there’s one thing that needs fixing, we will most likely focus on it, even if it’s minor.
This is applicable to relationships, too. If you’re currently in a happy relationship, it’s probable that the pillars of your relationship are steady and sturdy. However, even if you think that not all of them are equally strong and there is something you and your partner need to work on, don’t fall into the trap of painting the whole picture black.
Before focusing on what your relationship is “missing”, acknowledge all the good things that you’ve already built–the peaceful, healthy core of your partnership which is the resource of strength and love.
We’re listing below eight strong relationships pillars. Take a look at them and identify which are already present in your relationship.
Strong Relationship Pillars
1. You Trust Each Other
To trust each other means to be able to rely on each other. It’s not only about granting access to our phones or bank accounts, but also about being sure that we always mean well for each other, and that we’ll be there to support each other in every situation.
Research shows that trust and pro-relationship behavior such as willingness to accommodate your partner and make compromises promote further trust and bonding, further creating a positive cycle in which dependence promotes commitment, commitment promotes pro-relationship acts, these acts enhance trust, and trust increases your willingness to find support in your partner.
2. You Have a Good Balance Between Unity and Autonomy
Being close and together can be difficult at times, no matter how badly we want it. Close relationships are something that needs constant work, investment, and adjustments.
A good balance between personal autonomy and unity between partners means being able to rely on each other and be emotionally intimate and vulnerable, but, at the same time, taking time for yourself without feeling guilty.
Building an emotional-wall-free partnership is a process of creating a healthy attachment, not exactly a given from the moment you meet.
3. You’re Both Being Yourself
Accepting someone’s good, fun and gentle sides of their personality is quite simple, however, we all have unique traits that for our partners can manifest in irritating habits, nagging behavior, forgetfulness–you name it.
Partners who manage to work through their differences and accept each other unconditionally tend to be happier in their relationships.
4. You’re Best Friends
Passion, sex, and romantic love are great, but it may not be enough for a stong and committed relationship. If you want to live with someone, it’s important that you get along the same way best friends do. The feeling of friendship in a relationship opens the window for a stronger commitment.
Partners who also feel like they’re good friends, a team, tend to support each other more emotionally, be more intimate, and maintain a stronger bond.
5. You Are Alike
While some people say that differences are attractive, science claims the opposite. People with similar personality traits, value systems, and attitudes tend to get along much better than those who oppose each other.
And while we can imagine a wild attraction developing between two people who are very different from each other, a similar mindset, vision of your future and set of values are what builds a strong partnership.
However, even if you’re not on the same page about certain things, which often can come to the surface a bit later in a relationship, mastering the next pillar can help you work it all out.
6. You’re Able To Compromise
Arguments and disputes are a normal part of every relationship. The more you get involved with each other, the more difficult it becomes to keep both sides satisfied at all times. In such cases, it’s important that you’re both open to compromise.
Of course, not everything can be subject to compromise, and it’s not a compromise if one side agrees 100% to the other side’s conditions. However, even though halfway solutions might not seem ideal at first, they pay off in the long run.
7. You Make Each Other Better People
If your partner inspires you to do positive things and encourages you to live up to your potential, you’re in a good relationship. What do we mean by this?
It’s important that partners support each other’s self-growth choices, help each other instill healthy habits, seek new experiences that help them develop as human beings together, and enrich each other’s inner worlds. When each partner grows through learning and maturing, so does your relationship.
8. You Perceive Each Other As Fundamentally Good
Traits such as reliability, warmth, kindness, intelligence, trustworthiness and so on provide solid foundations for a resilient partnership. Partners who are emotionally stable and treat each other with respect are usually more satisfied with their relationships.
Take some time to assess the strong sides of your partnership first. What is there to admire? What makes you proud about your relationship?
Once you’ve mentally settled in a happy place, dig into the aspects of your relationship that might require some attention.
Of course, if you’re unhappy in your relationship, don’t use the positives to justify staying in an abusive, disrespectful, or non-loving relationship.
This formula of thinking is only good if you’re already in a prevalently healthy and happy relationship, but could use some minor improvements.
Here is a simple set-by-step guide, inspired by the Best Year Journal practice, to help you set achievable, attainable goals in four steps. Change the way you plan your future. Set objectives, aims, and plans you can actually stick to.