Three ways to keep your relationship healthy

1. Open and “Safe” Communication

The most consequential behavior I’ve learned from my parents is having open communication and, to use my mom’s words, to talk “at the right place, at the right time.” This not only means being honest, but creating physical and mental spaces for dialogue where you can let your partner know how you feel, or where they also feel comfortable sharing their feelings with you.

2. Letting Negative Emotions Pass Before Talking

I know there’s this garbage norm in our society that men “aren’t supposed to show emotions,” but I am certainly a person that experiences emotions forcefully. When I feel happy, I’m elated. When I’m sad, it feels crushing, etcetera. This isn’t a personality flaw, of course, but it means that when I’m confronted with tough situations, sometimes my emotions overwhelm my judgment. And boy, did I used to be bad at recognizing this.

3. Keeping Perspective and Assume Good Intentions

Perhaps the most cogent-yet-overlooked lesson I’ve learned from my parents is that at the end of the day, you and your partner should assume good intentions of one another. Even if there are miscommunications or mismatching expectations, moments of explosive emotions, or diverging wants or needs, you should be able to take solace in the fact that you want what’s best for one another, and that your motivations are coming from a place of love.

Conclusion

While I’m certainly not a psychiatrist or a health professional, I’ve observed that the lessons I’ve learned from my parents’ marriage have really helped me maintain a healthy connection with my partner. Like my parents, my partner and I aren’t perfect, but we’ve never had a single fight and lead a happy life together. In any event, I think that this is achievable for most relationships, so I hope you found these observations beneficial.

San Diego-based writer. Interested in urban planning, languages, cultures, travel, history, and fiction.

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