As we’ve all heard by now, relationships, especially happier relationship, take work. There are good times that feel easy and effortless but there are also down times that are stressful and difficult. Sometimes we can feel helpless or even fed up with a situation.
To help the good times outweigh the bad and encourage growing together instead of growing apart, we need to cultivate a healthy, nurturing relationship with our partner.
Try the following science-backed tips to help in your romantic relationships as well as your friendships and working relationships.
5 Tips for a Happier Relationship (Backed by Science)
We hear it all of the time and still neglect to see how important clear and open communication is for all relationships. Sometimes we speak in our own shorthand and assume others know our intentions.
If you’re not clear about your intentions or your needs, you leave room for misinterpretation.
Other times, we speak without words and use our emotions, making it hard for others to know what triggered our emotional response. Many disagreements can be resolved by simply stating clearly and concisely what you are upset over.
2. Argue in a healthy fashion.
Many couples worry that they argue too much or think it’s a bad thing. But the truth is all couples disagree or argue from time to time, it is a natural part of any relationship.
The trouble comes when we let our emotions speak for us instead of our rational minds. Arguments often get blown out of proportion through hurtful words, misunderstandings, yelling or being irrational. When emotions take over, things can escalate quickly and we can say things that we regret and that are not easily forgotten.
The next time you’re in an argument with your partner, set aside your hurt feelings and respectfully express how you feel and what made you feel that way. Likewise, listen to your partner about what has made them upset. Make your goal to find resolution instead of hurting the other or being defensive.
3. Take time for yourself.
While it’s obvious to make time for each other, it is sometimes less obvious to make time for yourself. Spending quality time together is important; shared experiences create stronger and longer lasting bonds. However, spending time on interests that are solely yours is equally important.
Be sure to take time for yourself to do things that keep you balanced or that you enjoy but which your partner may not be interested. People who continue to grow and explore new interests are happier and the best version of their self, making for happier, healthier partners. Don’t forget to encourage your partner to take the same time for their own personal growth.
This tip is from Intentional Insights.
4. Compromise is part of it.
Not every situation is viewed as black and white. There are going to be days when compromise is the only peaceful solution. If you think of the situation as What do I have to give up? or What is in it for me? it becomes negative, making you less likely to want to compromise. Research conducted by Your Tango has demonstrated that compromise leads to happier and more satisfying relationships.
Remember that you are in this relationship because you love the other person, you want them to be happy and they want the same for yourself. When you think of the compromise in this manner, it can make it easier to keep the peace and go with the flow.
5. Don’t try to solve all their problems. Sometimes it’s best to just listen.
We can’t always solve the other person’s problems all the time and often times, that isn’t what our partner wants anyway. Oftentimes, we just want someone to listen so we can get things off of our chests.
Really truly listening makes the other person feel like heard and sometimes that is all that is they need. Set aside distractions when your partner is talking. Make an effort to really listen to them. Ask questions and don’t try to fix it all for them. Remember, not all problems can be solved but feeling like your partner listens and understands how you feel reinforces caring and loving feelings and sometimes, that is resolution enough.
Bonus Points: Sometimes your partner wants your help to solve a problem. Work on differentiating when they just want to be heard and when they actually want help! That way you’ll have a healthier, happier relationship.