“Relationships are like a garden. You have to water them, tend them, and nurture them. If you ignore them, they can wither and die.” — Unknown
Just like buildings, relationships need to have a strong foundation and further layers of strong concrete, or else they will collapse. A relationship is a dynamic commitment that needs to be constantly nurtured. There is no isolation in a relationship because it usually occurs between two or more people. This relationship can be familial, romantic, professional, or friendly. These forms of relations are essential and play a vital role in shaping an individual’s life.
It is important to note that every relationship is unique and this is what makes it so beautiful. Relationships can be categorised into two: healthy and unhealthy relationships.
A healthy relationship is based on constant communication, support, understanding, respect, and trust. In this kind of relationship, all the parties involved feel loved, appreciated, and relevant. Of course, conflicts are inevitable. However, there is room for instant resolution through respectful and open dialogue. In short, a healthy relationship gives room for individual growth and enhances emotional well-being.
On the other hand, an unhealthy relationship entails different forms of abuse ranging from verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. It also involves manipulation, rudeness, etc. In this kind of relationship, there is no room for growth and it usually creates a sense of isolation which is the opposite of the essence of a relationship. People in this kind of relationship should seek help and leave if they can’t help it.
Most people form a bond when they share similar goals and ideologies. In essence, a major requirement of being in a relationship is to share fundamental values and mutual respect, resulting in a long-lasting and healthy connection.
7 Tips to Build and Sustain Healthy Relationships
According to Neale Donald Walsch, the purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you but to have another person with whom you might share your completeness. It takes conscious effort to build and sustain meaningful relationships. This is because we are all from different backgrounds, see the world through different lenses, and have different cultures. Even with all of these, it is possible to maintain friendship, family, and romantic relationships. Let’s see how!
This is the key ingredient to any kind of relationship. Always try to be honest, open, and respectful when conversing or settling misunderstandings. Of course, you can talk! However, ensure that you aren’t the one who does the talking all the time. Try to listen actively without bias or interrupting to understand the other person’s perspective. Once all these are done by all the parties in the relationship, a long-lasting bond is assured.
2. Spend Quality Time Together
In every case, quality usually supersedes quantity and this is not an exception. Indeed, you can be overwhelmed with work and the other things going on in your life. However, you must try to set aside time no matter how little to interact (without distraction) with your family, friends, and partners. You can have conversations, take a walk, cook, exercise together, or engage in any activities that you both enjoy. This goes a long way in showing your interest and opinion in the relationship. According to Joel Osteen, the greatest gift you can give someone is your time, attention, love, and concern.
3. Show Respect
Respect is reciprocal. So, do to people what you want them to do to you, too. People in a relationship ought to treat each other with kindness and respect. That is, you need to respect the other person’s feelings, boundaries, and opinions. The world does not revolve around you, so ensure that you show this by giving listening ears to others and showing that you value their opinions.
4. Show Trust
Every healthy relationship must be built on a foundation of trust. Stephen R. Covey says, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Trust is not something you can achieve in one day. It takes the intentionality of both parties to make this happen. A trustworthy relationship is one where all the persons in it can rely on one another regardless of the situation.
5. Forgive and Apologise
Anyone who says the journey to a healthy relationship is very smooth, lies. There are times when you will intentionally or unintentionally hurt the other person, and vice-versa. However, apologising when wrong and forgiving when wronged is how you can sustain and build a good relationship. Keeping malice or holding on to grudges in a relationship is a quick way to kill it. So, learn to forgive and apologise to avoid losing a good thing.
6. Willingness to Compromise
There are times when there may be a difference in opinion. The solution is not to ignore the other person to do your own thing. Rather, sit down and talk it out. In the process of communicating effectively, you will find a common ground that will satisfy both parties. As long as you are open to finding it, solutions are always around the corner.
7. Undiluted Support
You can render financial, physical, or emotional support when necessary. You need to be able to depict whichever support is needed and be there for the other party when they are having a bad time. Constant encouragement goes a long way and means a lot when you are in whatever sort of relationship. Never undermine the other person’s problems or achievements, but find ways to solve and celebrate them respectively.
According to Doménico Cieri Estrada, knowing when to go away and when to come closer is the key to any lasting relationship. Empathy strengthens the bond in relationships, so try to understand the other person’s feelings. Understand the basis of your different relationships because what works for one may not work for the other. Don’t be dogmatic about it, but consciously make the effort to make things better. With these basic but strategic tips, you can surely build a strong relationship and sustain it.
Researched by Olukotun Joan