The 3 Building Blocks EVERY Healthy Relationship Is Founded On

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building blocks of healthy relationship

It's not a mystery why some people have amazing marriages.

Most couples would say that they spent all kinds of time together when they were dating but after they got married, things changed.

In fact, things changed for them as a couple when they started to do real life together.

At first, they tried to go out once in awhile and do “fun things.”

Then they started to have more significant bills to pay, and then they started having babies. Those babies took up a lot of free time they used to have plus cost them a lot of money — food, diapers, clothing, car seats, beds, toys, etc.

What happened to the “happily ever after” they thought they were going to experience?

They are worn out and broke and don’t seem to have time for anything but work and taking care of the kids!

They become frustrated with life together and don’t even seem to talk about what they would like to have happened in their relationship.

Healthy couples learn how to become intentional about spending time together and not just time but enjoyable time together.

They learn the importance of building their relationship on the fundamentals that hold all healthy marriage together.

Let’s take a look at those 3 building blocks.

1. The first building block we need to explore is shared values.

There is a need to understand what each person believes is important in the relationship.

Is fidelity important? 

Do you have similar belief systems about what is right and wrong? 

Is it important to treat one another with respect? 

What is the meaning of respect and how do you show it?

It is vital for a thriving marriage to discuss these questions and others related to shared values, preferably before they decide to take their relationship to the next stage: marriage.

2. The second building block we need to spend time talking about and acting on is shared goals.

Goals are objectives or aspirations couples have for the future.

Think about where you want to be as a couple in the next year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc.

Some of their goals may be short term, meaning the goal may be met within a few months or a year or two. Others may be long term goals that may extend 5, 10, etc years into the future.

For example, some couples may have a goal of developing a budget that works for them. Some may have a goal of finishing college or starting and finishing college — undergraduate or graduate. 

Some couples may have a goal of starting a family and/or moving to a bigger house or possibly downsizing. 

Some may have as a goal to begin a small business. Some long term goals may be paying down debt and paying off credit cards, cars, and even their houses.

It is important for couples to spend time communicating about their goals for the future and how they will accomplish the tasks to reach the goals.

Once you begin to establish goals for yourselves as a couple, begin to take action toward reaching those goals.

Celebrate the victories along the way so that you can stay on target with moving toward the goals.

And definitely celebrate when the goal is reached!

Talk about what the journey has been like and how it might be improved and reminisce about what you had to do to accomplish reaching the goals.

All of these things help to grown you as a couple and make and keep your marriage strong.

3. A third building block is having shared interests.

Couples don’t have to do everything together but they need to do some things together.

One way to begin is to sit down and make lists of things to try together that might be fun and interesting to each of you.

Your lists could include things like bicycling together, walking or hiking together, playing board games or cards with each other, going to movies that are of interest to both of you and then talking about the details, going out to dinner by yourselves, dancing, playing golf together, working out together, growing a garden and working in it together, even volunteering in your community together can be fun, etc.

The list is endless.

If you don’t think you would like something, it is important to try it anyway. Sometimes people make a decision not to try something because of what they have heard about it or just because they choose to be stubborn.

Let go of those preconceived ideas and your stubbornness and try the activity you think you won’t like. You may find that it is great for you as a couple.

You may find that you need to go back to the list and attempt something else.

Remember, these need to be mutually satisfying interests not just what one person wants. 

If you are going to succeed and have a great marriage, it is essential to develop shared interests. 

Couples who intentionally develop shared values, goals, and interests will enjoy spending time together and will grow in their relationship with one another.

When you began your journey together, you fully enjoyed one another. Couples need to aspire to continue enjoying one another’s company throughout their hopefully long lives together.

If you are struggling in your marriage or relationship to figure out how to spend more time together and really enjoy that time, don’t hesitate to seek out help. Often someone who is on the outside of the problem can give you ideas and direction on how to have a more successful and satisfying relationship. 

Dr. Deborah McFadden is a couple’s counselor at Village Counseling Center.  Receive your free copy of the Better Life Magazine filled with articles with topics from taking good care of yourself, resolving conflicts in your relationship and discovering how to have success in your life.