Relationships are important in a number of ways, from bringing joy and meaning to our lives to helping us cope with stress. They can also be complicated, messy, and filled with miscommunication.
Some people think that the word “relationship” has one universal definition, and that everyone knows how a relationship should work: two people finely balance their time together with their time for themselves, both pursue engaging activities that keep them happy, and they cook gourmet lasagna together at Thanksgiving. While this is an admirable goal, it doesn’t always describe how relationships actually function.
In fact, most of us have many relationships in our lives—some that are more serious than others. Some of these are casual acquaintances, people you see on occasion and smile at or say “hello.” These relationships help you feel connected to the outside world, but they’re generally not as intimate as those with close friends. And yet, some of these relationships are the core of our sense of self-worth and stability.
Having positive relationships is good for our mental and physical health. It can make us happier, more resilient, and more likely to follow our dreams. It can also help us live longer—research suggests that having strong social networks is linked to greater longevity.
While there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, it is possible to improve the quality of yours by making some simple changes. This article will explore some tips for improving your relationship, as well as resources that can support you in making those changes.
In a healthy relationship, both people give and receive emotional and physical support. They respect each other’s boundaries and know when to seek outside help if they need it. They also resolve conflicts in a constructive way, without humiliation or degradation.
They support each other’s goals and aspirations. They encourage each other to be their best selves and challenge them to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. They also support each other through life’s ups and downs, cheering them on when they’re having successes and supporting them when they’re struggling.
When you have a partner to lean on, it makes it easier to manage your responsibilities and take care of yourself. They can remind you to schedule appointments with your doctor, go for a walk or sit and talk, or even just hug you after a long day. They can also be your sounding board when you’re having a hard time, and they’ll be there for you when the chips are down.
Having someone by your side can give you the confidence and motivation to chase your dreams. It can be scary to step out and try new things, but knowing that you have someone who supports you no matter what gives you the courage to take risks. It’s also nice to have someone by your side when the world is beautiful—they can show you sights and sounds that you wouldn’t experience on your own.