Research supports a range of benefits associated with supportive and loving relationships. Most notably, people involved in both healthy romantic and non-romantic relationships typically live longer. They also have lower risk of heart attack, improved immune functioning, and reduced feelings of isolation and depression. Furthermore, healthy loving relationships can provide a source of support and reliability, which can lead to reduced stress and a stronger sense of reassurance, knowing you have a close partner or friend to help you work through challenges.
Maintaining a healthy loving relationship takes effort and intention. Consider the following suggestions for strengthening your relationship:
Spend time looking and listening to one another with your full attention. Maintain eye contact and act as if you had just met.
Make an effort to express how you feel and make sure to communicate this to your partner on a regular basis. In addition to negative feelings, you can also share when you feel happy, excited or proud.
Discuss ways you can spend more quality time together away from distractions. Find a reasonable goal and commit to it.
Tell your partner or friend what you need and what is important to you. Although we can benefit from taking note of nonverbal cues, open communication makes our needs more clearly known.
Slow down and think more intentionally about the challenges your partner or friend manages on a day-to-day basis and the ways they contribute to your life.
Share a compliment.
Share affectionate contact and keep physical intimacy alive. Touch is a foundational part of human existence and holding hands, hugging or kissing are important ways of connecting and showing your affection.
It is easy to take a comfortable loving relationship for granted. Take time to appreciate being loved and cared about.
Have fun. Look for small ways to have fun together. Leave a note or send a silly joke. Connecting in a playful way is both fun and refreshing.
At their best, healthy loving relationships provide an experience of being deeply valued for your authentic self. They allow us to live a healthier life as we gain confidence in our existing strengths and feel supported to take risks as we learn to build new ones.
Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Visit us at lindquistpsych.com
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