Good relationships are essential for healthy lives. Each relationship is unique and comes with different rules, roles and challenges. When our most intimate relationship is a healthy one, it makes our lives happier and more fulfilled. And we all want that, right? So how do you create and maintain healthy relationships?

How relationships change over time

As time passes, healthy relationships evolve, a more lasting connection develop, and a deeper level of intimacy grows. The secret to relationships that survive the changes and tests of time have common characteristics you can work to maintain each day:

Open communication

Partners in healthy relationships can talk about anything. Couples with healthy communication talk every day. There is no fear of ridicule, anger or judgment. That doesn’t mean that we always need to agree. The key to good communication is that both partners feel heard, understood and valued.

Trust

Trust develops over time, yet if lost, it’s hard to regain. Don’t keep secrets; lying is not part of a healthy relationship. A faithful partner is essential, and when you trust your partner, you always feel safe with them – physically and emotionally.

SEE ALSO: 10 Actions Towards Deeper Relationships

Fun and games

Playtime is so vital to a good relationship. Adult playtime can be as simple as snuggling with a bottle of wine and talking. Or taking a hike together in nature. Enjoy being with one another and being silly and carefree. Remember who you are as individuals Remain true to who you are as individuals. Keep your own hobbies, friends and interests, and encourage your partner to do the same. Time away from each other recharges your batteries and enriches your relationship.

SEE ALSO: What’s Safe About Sex During Pregnancy

Conflict Resolution

In healthy relationships, disagreements are handled with mutual respect, honesty, open communication and a willingness to compromise. One common pitfall in arguing is listening to respond rather than to understand. Be willing to consider a compromise or different viewpoint. Strive for communication, not competition.

Equal Partners

The healthiest intimate relationships happen couples view themselves as equals. Some say healthy relationships should be 50/50, but in actuality, the best relationships are really 100/100 – each person gives 100% to the relationship. Sometimes life, work or family demands will shift that balance and one person may carry a heavier load—but if the imbalance lasts too long, anger and resentment can occur. Protect against that. Healthy partners also practice equal decision-making. There isn’t a “boss” who controls the finances or makes all of the decisions. Each partner feels free to voice their opinion and each opinion is equally valued. We all want relationships that grow stronger over time and that can endure any challenges. Nurture your relationships and lavish it with attention each and every day!

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