The definition of a habit is: “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Once formed and ingrained into your being, habits are very difficult to break. This includes habits that are practiced in your relationships – positive or negative.
Upon closer examination, it becomes evident that positive habits are a foundation of positive relationships. When bad habits are present, the relationship is challenged. On the flip side, good habits create and maintain strong, healthy relationships.
Here are 11 habits that help create positive relationships…
1. Being respectful to each other
Respect is one of the most important habits of positive relationships because it builds trust and shows acceptance. Showing disrespect towards your partner slowly weakens trust and creates barriers in your connection with each other.
Disagreements often lead to arguments, and arguments often lead to insults. Make sure to watch your tongue and think before allowing something to come out that could lead to negative consequences.
2. Eliminating distractions when with your partner
Between work and other obligations, we don’t have enough time with each other as it is. Continuing to allow distractions to interrupt your time alone is damaging to your relationship and affects intimacy with your partner. Preoccupation with work is one of the biggest distractions, often arising when couples are trying to get closer.
There are some simple things you can do: turn off the T.V. when having dinner, leave your phones off when spending time alone, and make sure that your work is completed before heading home.
3. Responding to each other
Are you ready for an eye-opening statistic? 86 percent of happily married couples respond to their partners bid for attention, while only 30 percent of unhappy couples do the same.
You can show your attention by doing very simple things: responding to your partner when they ask a question, or bringing something on your way home when asked. It’s really as simple as showing your attentiveness and responsiveness when something arises.
4. Recognizing and appreciating qualities
Create the habit of conveying positive qualities towards your partner. This really deepens the emotional connection between couples and makes the other person feel genuinely good about being them.
Showing admiration and appreciation of your partner’s positive attributes will strengthen the bond that already exists between you, while continuously bringing up the person’s shortcomings ultimately damages the relationship…sometimes irreparably.
5. Staying connected through the day
Nearly all of our lives are busy from the moment we wake up. You are probably no different. However, part of having a long, happy relationship is to show your love and affection when apart from each other.
When you make a commitment to another person, you essentially make that person the number one priority in your life. There should be nothing that allows that commitment to wane, even a hectic work schedule.
Connect with each other through the day by sending a text on your break or giving your partner a call on the way home.
6. Taking some time apart
You may be thinking: “Wait…so how am I supposed to stay connected to my partner while being told to take time apart?” Good question. When frustrations occur in a relationship (and they will), time apart can be both healthy and productive.
The truth is that healthy couples recognize the importance of taking time apart. They recognize that this time deepens the appreciation and love for each other, while giving them some much-needed quiet time. This can be in the form of going to a movie alone, having some dinner with friends, or simply reading a book or watching some television by yourself.
7. Forgiving shortcomings
Personal flaws are part of being human. It’s not about finding someone that is perfect, but about finding someone who is perfect for you.
You will continually realize that the person you fell in love with has some quirks that push your buttons. To be in a healthy relationship means accepting these shortcomings, forgiving them, and loving the person anyways.
Research shows that people in healthy relationships are abundantly affectionate toward each other.
Affection and being close to each other are important because it fosters connection and trust. A healthy frequency of affection allows for your bond to strengthen, ultimately creating a stronger connection with each other.
9. Surprising your partner
When you reach a certain time-frame in your relationship, the feelings of infatuation and intrigue with the other can start to weaken – this is natural. The thing that you are trying to avoid is complacency and feelings of routineness.
Spontaneity in a relationship is healthy, fun, and creates feelings of appreciation and love. These spontaneous gestures can be small or large, but should always show that you made the effort to do something special.
If you are not the most creative type (and that’s okay!) there are plenty of great ideas circulating around in cyberspace.
10. Working together on goals
Healthy relationships focus on having both short and long term goals. Complacency and a lack of progress in your relationship and lives together can lead to unhappiness and regret.
Instead, sit down and figure out where you want to be in the next 5, 10 or 20 years…what do you want your lives together to look like?
One important thing to remember: don’t base your goals on what others think your relationship should look like. Forget about “success” as society defines it…instead, focus on what will make you and your partner truly happy and fulfilled.