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.
11. FINDING HUMOR IN EACH OTHER’S MISTAKES
Relationships are a serious thing, but that doesn’t mean it has to be serious all the time…even when mistakes are made. You went into a relationship with someone knowing that they will probably do something dumb once in a while…so find some ways to laugh about it together.
Just anticipate that when you do something dumb, they will probably laugh in return…hey, it will eventually be funny.
Why The 5 Love Languages Are Still Popular, Even After 29 Years
When Gary Chapman, PhD, published the book The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate in 1992, I’m not sure he intended to make such a huge impact in how we look at giving and receiving love. But nowadays, you can barely go a week without hearing about love languages. While they’re often mentioned in jest (I’m thinking about those “pasta is my love language” memes), many people credit the framework with completely changing their relationships — romantic and otherwise — for the better.
According to Dr. Chapman, there are five specific love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, physical touch, and acts of service. These “languages” refer to how people express and feel love. You might be happiest showing your love for someone by showering them with compliments, for instance, or you may feel most loved when someone spends quality time with you. (Usually, how you show love is also how you like to receive love.)
I’ve often joked that I need all five of these love languages fulfilled by my partner to be happy, and it turns out I’m not wrong. “In a balanced relationship, we’re hitting all of these things,” Moraya Seeger DeGeare, licensed marriage and family therapist and the co-owner of BFF Therapy in Beacon, NY, tells Refinery29.
Dr. Chapman’s premise is that at least some relationship discord comes from couples not speaking the same language. For example, if you experience love through quality time but your partner shows love through acts of service (like keeping the house tidy), you might end up feeling disconnected and unhappy in your relationship — they’re spending your date nights washing the dishes. So understanding each other’s love languages can go a long way to strengthening your relationship.
The five love languages aren’t inherently romantic, either. You could use your friends’ and family’s love languages to support them emotionally too.
While the love languages are a useful tool and incredibly relatable and fun to learn about — there’s a reason you hear about them so often — being able to utilize and respect them isn’t the single key that unlocks a successful and fulfilling relationship. You may be able to show love through your partner’s love language, or recognize the type of love they express, but that doesn’t mean much if your long-term values are misaligned, if they’re consistently disrespectful of you, or if you have other issues in your partnership.
But since knowing how you tend to show and receive love can come in handy in all your relationships, DeGeare says it’s worth taking the actual love language quiz online. Encourage your partner, closest friend, or family to take the quiz, too — it can be fun to do it together, then discuss your results. And knowing your loved ones’ languages can help put into context why they never seem thrilled to receive gifts from you (maybe their primary love language is physical touch) or they’re always gassing you up (their language may be words of affirmation). For a little more context on what each love language means, though, check out this brief overview.
Words of Affirmation
DeGeare says that people with this love language value verbal encouragement, and like having people tell them very explicitly what they’re doing that they appreciate or notice. So if getting a text from your partner before a big meeting or presentation wishing you luck makes your entire day, this might be you. If you know someone with this love language, here’s a tip: Just telling this person you love them often won’t cut it. It’s all about being intentional, and offering up affirmations that are “very much in tune with what’s going on with them,” DeGeare says.
Those who value quality time really appreciate hanging out with their partner (or friend!) one on one. “The important thing here is uninterrupted time,” DeGeare explains. “Put down your phone, and really dial into the person.” If you “speak” this language, you know: Spending time with someone who’s completely distracted doesn’t feel fulfilling. But as long as your loved one is present, it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing. Even just going for walks together can go a long way here.
If your love language is receiving gifts, you enjoy getting thoughtful presents from your partner. DeGeare points out that this love language often gets a bad rap for being “materialistic,” but the gifts don’t actually have to be as grand as a diamond necklace or an all-expenses paid trip to Italy (although, I’m sure few people would turn those down). “This is very much about being really thoughtful,” DeGeare says. “It’s less about the money side of receiving gifts, but really knowing the person and giving a gift that says, ‘I know you and I see you, and this is a real need for you.'” For example, you could run to your partner’s favorite doughnut shop when they’re having a rough day to grab them a treat, or even buy them a new aux cord for their car if they haven’t gotten around to replacing their old, broken one yet.
Physical touch is a pretty straightforward love language. Someone who’s love language is touch really values holding hands, snuggling close on the couch, kissing, getting their backs scratched, and just being physically close. It’s not inherently sexual touches, it’s more just the closeness and feeling the full physical connection, DeGeare says. This love language is when someone wants physical intimacy to be a main priority, and you can show it just by consciously making an effort to create closeness with your partner.
Acts of Service
Showing love through acts of service is when you take something off of someone’s plate to make their life easier. It’s “being mindful of all the things that need to be done, and doing something for that person,” DeGeare says. A few examples might be emptying the dishwasher for your partner, taking their car to get an oil change, or shoveling out their walkway after a snowstorm. Even just doing chores together can be a great way to utilize this love language and show your partner that you appreciate them.
ELIZABETH GULINO FEBRUARY 18, 2021
4 Signs You Are In A Committed Relationship
Look for these signs of a successful relationship
Being ‘ready for commitment’ is a clear sign of relationship success, new research finds.
Being ready for commitment makes people do the work required to keep a relationship going.
Those who are ‘commitment ready’ are 25% less likely to break up over time.
Some common signs of commitment include:
- Your partner makes sacrifices for you, such as changing their schedule, doing thing you like but they don’t and really listening to your problems.
- Making long-term plans for the future that include you both.
- You both have similar perceptions about the relationship, as do your friends and family.
- Real commitments are things that you do. Commitment is usually obvious — watch their behaviour.
Professor Chris Agnew, the study’s first author, said:
“Feeling ready leads to better relational outcomes and well-being.
When a person feels more ready, this tends to amplify the effect of psychological commitment on relationship maintenance and stability.”
The conclusions come from a study of over 400 adults in relationships.
All were asked about their sense of whether this was the right time for a relationship, how satisfied they were with it and how much investment they had made.
The results showed that readiness was strongly linked to commitment.
In other words, people tended to commit to a relationship when they felt ready for it.
However, when they didn’t feel ready, they did not do the work required to keep the relationship alive.
Professor Agnew said:
“People’s life history, relationship history, and personal preferences all play a role.
One’s culture also transmits messages that may signal that one is more or less ready to commit.”
The study will be published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science (Agnew et al., 2019).
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004.