In this article I will explain how important is friendship in any relationship and why you should put your relationship with your partner first. I will also explain the benefits of staying positive in the relationship, the importance of working as a team and how to approach arguments.
Relationships are the union of two people with their unique personality, values and quarks. Finding a way to support your partner’s dreams and desires without having to lose yourself or compromise your values and principles is what you should expect from a healthy relationship.
Understanding successful relationships
The most successful relationships have one thing in common: they have managed to keep the positive thoughts about their partner higher than the negative ones. Moreover, they embrace and accept each other’s needs and they tend to see disagreements as a challenge they shouldn’t resist, but work on.
Creating an inner life together, sharing a deep connection with your partner and having common goals and values are important when it comes to healthy relationships. The more meaning you find together as a couple, the more rewarding your relationship will be.
Honouring each other’s dreams even when not shared is a great example of connection and teamwork.
Being able to talk honestly with each other even when you encounter differences in values, dreams or ideas creates a safe and strong environment for the relationship to develop.
Keeping a positive attitude about your partner is essential for a healthy relationship. It keeps the romance alive, allowing both partners to have fun, be adventurous and learn about each other.
Emotional intelligence plays an important role in any relationship. People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to solve conflicts and understand their partner’s needs.
Most relationships end as the partners don’t understand the value of their commitment until it is too late. People tend to take their relationship and partner for granted and fail to nurture and improve the relationship.
Happy couples are not only happier, but also healthier. In his studies, J Gottman has found that the immune system of couples who were satisfied with their marriage functions considerably better than those who were not.
Moreover, J. Gottman conducted a study on children that were raised in homes where parents were hostile towards each other. He found that the stress level of these children was significantly higher than those whose parents were in a healthy and happy relationship.
Communication and active listening are important skills that can help improve your relationship. Read more about how to improve communication here.
However, listening without judgment when you are the person who is criticised is not an easy task for anyone. Moreover, research has found that approaching arguments in a different, calmer way can decrease the level of stress but cannot dramatically change the relationship or rebuild romance.
What doesn’t work?
Unhealthy relationships lack mutual trust and understanding and both partners assume the worst about each other. They also believe that their partner doesn’t have their back and their actions are selfish.
These relationships tend to lead to emotional betrayal, where one or both partners decide to put the needs of themselves or others above their relationship’s needs. Research has found that emotional betrayal stands at the basis of any failed relationship.
Prolonged negative feelings about your partner will lead to criticism, sarcasm, condescending and defensive behaviour in arguments.
When these techniques have been exhausted and the negativity becomes overwhelming, one partner might decide that there is nothing else that can save their relationship and they will become a passive receiver.
This is a defence mechanism used when one partner becomes physically and psychologically overwhelmed by the negativity and criticism from their partner.
In most fights, partners can face extreme emotional anxiety which leads to one of the two responses that is a result of high levels of adrenaline in the body: fight or flight.
Moreover, when relationships have a strong basis of negativity, the partners will rewrite the past and even the happiest moments they had together are remembered in a negative way.
Couples in a long term relationship tend to forget all the things that brought them together and focus on the negative things that keep them apart.
Same rule applies for positive relationships. When people are in a happy and healthy relationship, they remember their worst moments and struggles as something they have faced together and built their relationship stronger.
Couples with a strong friendship that know each other at a very intimate level, are more likely to understand, trust their partner and keep connected when facing difficult times.
In order to improve your relationship or keep it on the right track, think about all the things you admire or you used to admire in your partner.
The basis of any relationship should be a strong friendship and mutual understanding between the partners.
Once at the basis of the relationship is a strong friendship, there are more positive thoughts and feelings attributed to the relationship.
Assuming the best about each other and understanding your partner’s perspective, even when you disagree, are important traits of a healthy relationship.
Also, supporting your partner’s hopes, aspiration and desires and be there for them when they need you the most are extremely important for your relationship.
To maintain a positive friendship, both partners need to cherish, admire and respect each other more than they disagree or dislike certain personality traits.
Any happy relationship needs to have a high degree of admiration and respect. When these feelings are not present, the relationship slowly damages.
One way to keep the admiration present in your relationship is to keep track of all the positive traits of your partner and not to take them for granted.
Expressing gratitude is also extremely important when it comes to strengthen your relationship. Letting your partner know the things you are grateful for will bring about more similar behaviours.
Paying attention to your partner’s feelings and emotions and letting them know that you are noticing their frustration is also important when it comes to building a strong friendship in your relationship.
For example, by noticing the things they like to do less in the household and help them with the task, you are showing your partner that you support and understand them.
Little gestures should not be ignored. Healthy couples tend to strengthen their connection by performing little nice gestures for each other.
Also, taking into consideration your partner’s opinion and feelings before taking decisions is extremely important for maintaining a healthy relationship.
How to approach arguments
Couples who have worked through their differences are the ones who have learned to live with the problems they cannot change and approach it with good humour, whilst working on the problems they have control over.
You don’t need to agree with your partner or have the same opinion in order for the relationship to work, but you need to consider your partner’s point of view.
Knowing that your partner has your back no matter what happens, understanding and trusting each other with sensitive issues are the cornerstones of a happy relationship.
Compromise is the only way to solve relationship problems. Even when you are convinced that you are right, you cannot always get the things your way.
However, you cannot reach a compromise when you are angry or anxious. Compromises should be reached when both partners are calm and ready to make the relationship work regardless of their personal needs and desires.
Finding a way to accommodate each other’s needs only works when both partners are ready to accept each other’s influence and take into consideration the opinion of their partner.
Let this quote from Trent Shelton be the foundation of your relationship:
“A relationship means you come together to make each other better. It’s not all about you, and it’s not all about them. It’s all about the relationship. Support them in their dreams/visions just as much as you would expect them to support you. Make each other better. Challenge each other to go beyond average. Pull out the greatness from within each other. Make sure they can find their biggest fan in you, and you can find yours in them.”
I hope this article helped you understand how important is friendship in relationships and what to do to nurture and develop your friendship in order to improve or reconstruct your relationship.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
For counselling and coaching appointments scan the QR code or press here.