Cultivate These 8 Smart Relationship Habits
Smart ways to be happy in a relationship
There are basic relationship rules to follow if you want to have a healthy, happy relationship. No matter how many people might say it’s okay to break some of the rules, these are the ones that are absolutes.
Find out the most intelligent relationship habits you need to cultivate in order to have the relationship you want and deserve.
Lay the groundwork first
Here are the eight most important relationship habits to cultivate:
- As the old saying goes, you can’t be happy with someone else unless you’re happy with yourself first. It’s true, you’ve got to love you. You also need to be happy living alone. Love can’t rescue you from being alone. By feeling safe and secure on your own, you’re laying the groundwork for being in a healthy relationship. This new person is an addition to your happy life, not the answer to an unhappy one.
- Be true to yourself and what you want from a relationship from the beginning. You know what you want and need from a potential relationship, so don’t settle because the options seem scarce. Stick to your guns about what you’re willing to accept and not accept and what your deal breakers are. It will only benefit you in the end. With that said, you also need to keep in mind that you can’t make someone fit into a mold of what you think is perfection and no one person is going to meet every criteria you’ve played out in your mind.
- If at any point you feel something is “off” with someone you’ve met, proceed with caution. If stories aren’t jiving and your instincts are sending off warning signals, it’s probably for good reason. Trust your instincts, as they rarely let us down. It’s also much easier to make the break early on rather than if you let the relationship continue.
- Set appropriate boundaries both within the relationship and around it—only you can let yourself get walked on or taken advantage of. If something is important to you, then remain calmly in your authenticity. It’s also important to keep what belongs in the relationship in it. Don’t share things your partner doesn’t want shared—even with your mother or BFF.
- Be willing to be vulnerable. Real intimacy is based on two people being able to be who they really are and know they won’t be judged. You don’t have to like what your says, feels, or does, but they need to be able to express it in a healthy way.
- Don’t play games. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and take charge of getting your needs met in a direct and open way. You'll be surprised how well this pays off.
- Serve each other. There are no 50-50 splits of responsibility in a great marriage. Great couples learn to sacrificially serve one another. In the best relationships, it would be difficult to judge who serves one another more.There may be be times one gives 100%, because the other can’t give anything. And there are other times the other spouse gives 100%. And neither complains when it’s their turn to give all.
- Prioritize your time. Great couples spend time together. Life is busy for all of us. These couples schedule time together. They find things to do that each of them enjoy. And, they say no to other things that would keep them from having adequate time together.
Sources: Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting and relationship psychotherapist and author; Justin Lavelle, communications director at BeenVerified; Lesli M. W. Doares, LMFT, marriage consultant and coach,