Great relationships don’t just happen. It takes ongoing care and attention to build a relationship that is strong, stable and positive. This applies to friendships and romantic, family and work relationship.
Every relationship has its idiosyncratic qualities, depending on the personalities of the people involved – but there are some common factors that help to build a more special relationships, such as generosity and compassion.
Channelling the opportunity for growth that a relationship can provide requires honesty and openness. It also takes ongoing generosity, not in the gift-giving sense, but in the sense that one steps outside their usual way 0f being to make an effort to understand, respect and work with the different ways others operate. People in great relationships will regularly express their love or care for each other, as well as consciously adjust their actions so both parties feel noticed.
To create a great relationship – whether romantic or otherwise – it’s important to pay attention to the good things about the other person and make an effort to comment on them. In doing so, you affirm, support and celebrate the other person’s life.
In terms of compassion, gossiping and talking behind people’s backs must go. People in a mature relationship still have their own insecurities, but they don’t undermine the other person to make themselves feel better. They understand their own weaknesses and those of the other person, treating such knowledge with respect and compassion.
This doesn’t mean they don’t speak up about problems – it means that when they address an issue, they do so in confidence. A mature relationship is not about trying to make the other person change. It’s about supporting them to grow into their best self.
Maintaining a sense of self in is extremely important for the longevity of a romantic relationship. Many relationships experience co-dependency, where both partners lean on each other more than necessary. While this might seem cosy, it means that when one wobbles, the other does too. Being able to hold yourself up and “self-validate”, as psychologist Dr David Schnarch says, is crucial in order for your relationship to succeed and your personal wellbeing remain safe.
Addressing difficulties rather than avoiding them is an important step to make. Raising complications in a mature, level manner without blaming each other or getting defensive is a huge step in the right direction. In doing so, you show respect for your partner and a desire to move forward with a suitable resolution for both parties involved. Tacking issues in this way enables you to leave the negativity behind more quickly and generates mutual compassion and emotional intelligence – the hallmarks of a great relationship.