Creating a healthy lifestyle is far more than eating well and working out daily. Healthy relationships are foundational in creating a healthy, happy life. In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up… let’s talk healthy relationships.
THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP WE HAVE
First things first… I firmly believe the most important relationship we will ever be in is the one with ourselves. We can’t love others until we first love ourselves. We can’t accept love from others until we first love ourselves.
Use this blog post as a reminder to make sure the relationship you have with yourself is one that is thriving.
2 BLOG POSTS I SUGGEST READING AFTER THIS:
1) 20 Simple Ways to Love Yourself (here)
^this is a quick list that I love to refer back to when I am in need of some extra self love
2) How to Feel Happy even when you don’t feel great (here)
^this is a must-read post with my “happiness system” that you’ve heard me talk about many times; it’s how I’ve truly transformed my daily life to enjoy an average Tuesday
10 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
When I wrote these 10 tips, I was specifically thinking about the relationship I have with my husband, Anthony. To me, that relationship is the healthiest and strongest relationship I have in my life, so I used it as a source of inspiration for these tips. I also included a few pics of Anthony and I from our early days at the bottom of this post for a good giggle!
1. MAINTAIN A FRIENDSHIP IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
Some of the healthiest relationships I’ve witnessed exemplify this so clearly that it cannot be ignored. Remain friends with your partner! Think about what you do with your friends: you ask how their day was, you make fun plans with them, you put in effort. It’s unfortunately too easy for romantic relationships to become robotic and mundane over time. I’ve found the more I can look at Anthony like my best friend, the stronger our connection remains.
2. TAKE INTEREST IN EACH OTHER’S INTERESTS (even if you have to fake it!)
This has been a real game changer in our day-to-day happiness with one another. Anthony and I both make a point to take interest in each other’s hobbies. And I won’t lie… sometimes you do have to fake it until you feel it become genuine. Of course, Anthony and I have shared interests as I’m sure you and your hunny do. Still, there are a lot of things that we are each into but I make a point to get to know his interests, ask about them and even get involved. He does the same and I really feel this feeds into maintaining a strong friendship and healthy relationship.
3. COUNT THE GOOD NOT THE BAD
This is one I remind myself of daily, especially since we 1) moved in together 2) got married and 3) became parents. This is a bad habit of mine but I am a “counter” as in I think “I did x, y and z and you only did _blank_” It’s so easy to count what your partner isn’t doing. I try so hard to shift my perspective to see the good and what Anthony is doing. My mom always told me, “things do have to be 50/50 but they have to feel fair.” When you take on this perspective, it’s pretty eye-opening as to how much your partner is putting in.
4. MAKE GOALS + A LIFE VISION TOGETHER (so you grow together)
Okay, this may be one of my more important tips! My girlfriend is single and recently asked me, “what do you think is the number 1 reason why you and Anthony have stayed together so freaking long?!” Anthony and I have been together since I was 15 and he was 16. I’ve seen a lot of relationships in which the two people simply grow apart as they age. It’s less of a relationship thing and more of an individual thing, you know what I mean?! On the contrary, I feel like the reason Anthony and I have been able to maintain a strong relationship all these years is because as we grew up, we also grew together.
I think one way to do that is to share goals and a life vision. I am not suggesting you break out the magazines, glue stick and a poster to make a vision board. What I am suggesting is that you talk about those things (and often!) Discuss what your dream life looks like… where do you see yourself living? how many kids would you like to have? what type of life do you hope to lead? Make goals as a couple… do you want to take 3 trips per year? How can you budget for that? You become teammates in life. You grow together as you grow through life. This is – without a doubt – key for Anthony and I.
5. GET PHYSICAL
Ummm… yes, in the way you’re probably thinking haha. Get physical that way! There is no denying that those with a healthy sex life often have a healthy relationship. BUT, what I was really thinking with this tip is to get physically active together. Your partner doesn’t have to love working out at the gym like you do… that’s just one way to get physical. Anthony and I have always enjoyed an evening walk together after dinner. As our lives have evolved, we now push a stroller for our evening walk. It’s just our thing and a time in which we connect and communicate. There is something about physical activity with your partner that deepens your connection.
6. KEEP YOUR PERSON YOUR PRIORITY
This is something that takes time. Your boyfriend of 5 minutes is not more of a priority than you best friend of a lifetime. However, at some point, I think it’s important that your significant other becomes your #1 and you have to stick to that. Of course, there are times when I choose lunch with my girlfriend over hanging out with Anthony – that’s not what I’m talking about. I am referring to “the big stuff.” When your partner voices his or her opinion how they wish to spend time with family around the holidays or something related to parenting. Make each other a priority and don’t let outside voices influence the way you two lead your life.
7. GO THE EXTRA MILE
A little extra effort goes a long way in a relationship. Have you heard of the 5 love languages?! Anthony and I have taken that quiz and know each other’s love language. I am laughing right now because Anthony was so annoyed with me asking him all the questions required to discover his love language haha. Knowing how your partner feels love most will help you go the extra mile in that way. For example, it mean so much to Anthony when I take the time to listen to him (quality time is his). I try my hardest to initiate quality conversations that I know have been pushed off throughout the day; I put my phone away and give him my attention. Know your partner and go the extra mile in ways you know they feel love most.
8. REFUSE TO LOSE YOUR INNER CHILD
This is something I know you probably laugh at when you see Anthony and I (and our antics) on social media. We truly are big kids! I feel this is one of the ingredients for a healthy relationship. We laugh. A LOT! We love to joke with one another and poke fun. We play… literally; we will go to the park with our son and both of us are running around. No matter how old we get, I hope we never lose that inner child because we each have so much FUN with one another in those moments. It has helped us strengthen our relationship even after so many years together.
9. THE BASICS: HONESTY + COMMUNICATION
You can’t share 10 healthy relationship tips without hitting the basics. Nothing beats an open and honest relationship where two people are communicating well. You’ve just go to do it. I once heard someone say that you both need to overshare. Talk too much. Voice your feelings. We all know the relationships basics but we just have to ensure we are living them in our relationship.
10. STAY INDEPENDENT, what?!
This is another one that is totally, completely important to Anthony and I. We have a very close relationship yet we are very independent people. I don’t need him and he doesn’t need me. We choose to be together. I have my own friends. I have my own work. I have my own money. I have my own hobbies and passions. I have my own life. Likewise, he has his own friends, work, money, interests, etc. We share a lot of that but the reality is we do spend a good chunk of time doing our own thing. It makes it way more special when we come together and share in our relationship.
Alright, there are my 10 tips for a healthy relationship. No relationship is perfect. Mine sure isn’t but I feel like we can learn a little bit from each other… mistakes we’ve made and things we’ve figured out along the way.
I hope just 1 of these tips is something you can bring into your relationship to continue building the happy, healthy lifestyle we are all creating.
Just for fun… here are a few photos from the early days of Anthony and I