Whether you are dating, in a committed relationship, or married, there comes a point where you wonder how you and your partner would define loving relationships in general. Today, we’ll look at the many delicate details of what makes a relationship successful and loving.
Figuring out how to create and maintain a healthy relationship goes beyond ensuring mental peace. According to Dr Robert Waldinger (psychiatrist and director of Harvard Study of Adult Development), good relationships play a major role in our overall health and happiness too. That is also why being ‘lovesick’ in case of unrequited love can actually end up making you physically ill.
Getting advice from experts in the field of marriage, family, and relationship counseling is a great starting point. So, we got in touch with Shravya Kumar, a practicing relationship counselor. She shares that you can’t always predict how a relationship will progress, but you can definitely consider a few things to see if they’re a good match for you. Keep reading to know her exclusive tips and tricks on how to cultivate and maintain romantic relationships.
9 Beautiful Signs Of Loving Relationships
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Kumar says, “A loving relationship is when two people accept each other wholeheartedly, with all their flaws, where there’s no judgment whatsoever, the utmost respect for each other, and nothing but love.”
But no relationship is perfect and there is nothing wrong in looking for signs to remind yourself how much your partner means to you. Some of the many signs of a beautiful and truly loving relationship are:
1. Mutual and unending respect
Having and showing unconditional mutual respect is the first sign of being in a healthy and loving relationship. There should be no doubt in your mind about your partner’s courtesy toward you.
An excerpt from a detailed Reddit answer reads, “You respect them as a person. There are things you admire about them and you find some of their ‘flaws’ endearing and it’s okay that there are things about them you don’t like because they’re a whole complicated person and you appreciate them for the whole package of who they are.”
Related Reading: 21 Elements Of Developing Respect In A Relationship
2. Appreciation and gratitude
You and your partner appreciate and express gratitude for each other, recognizing the positive impact you have on each other’s lives. Expressing and receiving acts of appreciation and gratitude that are sincere is often one of the most obvious signs of being in a healthy and loving relationship. A study published by the University of North Carolina backs up this fact. To summarize the findings, “Feelings of gratitude motivate couples to maintain valuable relationships.”
3. Compromise and flexibility
When both partners are willing to compromise and be flexible in order to meet each other’s needs, a long-term healthy relationship can be created. This doesn’t mean people should squash their life goals or values. Simply compromising in a relationship often means becoming flexible with your day-to-day life.
It’s relatively easier to cooperate when couples agree to work around their schedules and accommodate each other’s requests. Reconsidering your options and having flexibility for your partner are the hidden keys to loving relationships.
4. Shared values and interests
If you feel attracted to someone while sharing deep conversations, and if you value their insights, then such a person can become a long-term partner. If both of you have similar values, interests, and beliefs, it helps to build a strong foundation for the relationship. Some habits of loving relationship examples where a couple shares many hobbies, interests, and values are:
- They have a similar lifestyles
- They are raising children in a way that their parenting styles align with one another
- Or they are on the same page about wanting or not wanting to have children
- Their long-term relationship goals are in sync
- They share same/similar social or political outlooks
Having the same opinions on most, if not all, of these is a positive sign of being on the same page in your relationship.
Related Reading: Should Couples Have Goals? Yes, Couple Goals Could Really Help…
5. Conflict resolution
Are both you and your partner able to resolve conflicts in a healthy and respectful way, without resorting to hurtful or destructive behaviors? Having successful conflict resolution strategies is a major part of cultivating a loving, lasting relationship with your partner, and decreasing the stress between you both.
A Reddit user shares how resolving conflict in their relationship helps them feel comfortable expressing themselves. An excerpt from their answer goes, “… it keeps everything calm and nobody gets mad, and we both get a chance to talk about how we feel.”
6. Open and honest communication
Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship. Kumar says, “A healthy and loving relationship can be formed only when partners communicate honestly, openly, and clearly, while expressing their thoughts and feelings in a healthy way.” She gives a few pointers:
- Speak your heart out and listen actively when your partner does the same
- Open and non-judgmental listening is an important part of wholesome communication
- Keep other digital communications to a minimum when you’re with your partner and ask them to do the same when having important discussions
- Maintain eye contact and approach the conversation with kindness and empathy for your significant other. There is such a thing as eye contact attraction; it greatly helps in building a healthy relationship
7. Trust and honesty
Here are some signs of a truly loving relationship:
- When both partners trust each other and are honest with each other, even in difficult or challenging situations
- When they bring out a secure feeling within you
- When vulnerability doesn’t feel like a burden or a stressor with your partner
- When you don’t worry about your thoughts or your body language in front of your partner
- When you know you will automatically be perceived as endearing to your partner even with your quirks
Related Reading : Top 9 Tips To Build Trust In Relationships
8. Affection and intimacy
One of the early signs of a good relationship is being comfortable with intimacy. This isn’t just restricted to sexual intimacy, but also PDA. Kumar mentions that the way someone shows you intimacy should not be limited just to fulfilling sexual desires. It should also be consistent with how your partner treats you in front of their friends and family.
That being said, both partners should sit and talk about how comfortable they are with PDA and to what extent. Come to an agreement on ways to express affection and intimacy that feel comfortable and fulfilling for both parties.
9. Support and encouragement
Both partners should support and encourage each other’s goals, dreams, and personal growth. Extending emotional support to the person you love means being there for their happy days, sad days, and the days in between. Signs of strong emotional support and encouragement in a loving relationship, the fundamentals of support, can be:
- Acknowledging and respecting each other’s emotions
- Making each other feel loved
- Comforting each other
- Showing empathy for your partner
5 Steps To Building A Loving Relationship
Kumar says, “It is difficult to foretell if the relationship will be a happy and loving one or not, but you should consider the following:
- How comfortable you’re with them
- How they treat you in bed
- How they treat you when their friends are around
- How easily you communicate about anything and everything
- How you speak about sex, intimacy, and boundaries”
Related Reading: 8 Keys To Stay In Love Forever
Apart from that, there are certain steps everyone can take to build healthy relationships. Here’s what Kumar suggests:
1. Have time for yourself
Does taking time apart in a relationship really work? Kumar insists on both partners to have their ‘me time’ as a rule for all loving relationships. She suggests doing anything purely for your own self, that puts focus on your happiness, can be very flourishing. Not only for you, but also for your relationship. It can be as small as listening to music or as big as going on a trip without your partner.
That’s how you take control of your own emotions and not depend on your partner for constant validation. Practicing self-love and having alone time contributes a lot to a healthy relationship with your partner. This is one of the many surprising hidden keys to loving relationships that many people don’t consider or are aware of.
2. Respect each other’s boundaries
Everyone has boundaries that need to be respected. It doesn’t mean loving without attachment but rather helps a couple develop a deep affection toward each other. There are different types of boundaries in relationships, and both partners need to learn to have and respect them.
- Listen to your partner’s needs and communicate your own boundaries in a respectful way
- Kumar suggests that both partners should make a list of their non-negotiables and read it out to each other
- If you both don’t agree on something, find a middle ground
- Once your partner makes the changes as expressed by your boundary, acknowledge their efforts
Setting and respecting each other’s boundaries early in a relationship is one of the many psychologically healthy habits to develop for a couple.
3. Figure out each other’s love languages
We asked Kumar to help us with a more detailed way to build a healthy relationship. She shares, “The best way to do that is by reading the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman together. Notice, right from the beginning of the relationship, how your partner expresses their love to you, by using words of affirmation/physical touch/quality time/gifting you something/doing something for you or helping you with something.” According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 types of love languages. Understanding which are yours and which are your partner’s will help you love each other better.
4. Practice active listening
Listening is just as important as speaking in a relationship. Practice active listening by paying attention to your partner, asking questions, and reflecting back on what you hear to ensure you understand their perspective. Ignoring each other’s bids at communication can have a negative impact on your bond. According to Kumar, both partners should evaluate if they can communicate about topics such as:
- Sexual and physical intimacy
- Wanting your own space
- Respecting non-negotiable boundaries
This way, you can ensure your partner feels seen and heard, and you do too.
Related Reading : 11 Expert Tips To Communicate Better With Your Partner
5. Make plenty of room for forgiveness and growth
Finally, no one is perfect; everyone makes mistakes and healthy relationships are not made overnight. Practice forgiveness by letting go of grudges and working through conflicts together. People like to be reminded of the fact that they matter to you greatly, especially when times are tough. Being open to forgiveness means being willing to work out your differences, being willing to find common ground, and making concessions to ensure you and your partner are happy.
- Building a strong, beautiful, and healthy relationship takes time and effort, but the payoff is worth it. Follow the guidance of our relationship expert and improve the quality of your committed relationship
- Overall, a loving relationship is characterized by mutual respect, open communication, trust and honesty, encouragement, intimacy, shared values, healthy conflict resolution, flexibility, and appreciation
- It’s important to communicate openly and honestly with your partner, but make sure you express strong feelings in a respectful way
- You can keep your relationship strong by striving to continuously work on it with your partner by being forgiving, learning each other’s love languages, respecting each other’s boundaries, listening actively, and also having lots ‘me time’
In a nutshell, there are many things you can do together with your partner as a part of developing healthy habits in a relationship. All romantic bonds require work but couples should prioritize working on themselves as well as the relationship. There is no shame in admitting if your dynamic needs guidance to solve issues and heal quicker. Getting help from a professional to improve the quality of your relationship is a great way to handle any intense feelings you and your partner have been experiencing. Bonobology’s panel of experienced experts are well-equipped to guide you.