5 Essential Things For Couples To Do Together To Grow A Healthy Relationship

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5 Essential Things For Couples To Do Together To Grow A Healthy Relationship

The partnerships that shine most brightly in your life, the personal connections that lift your spirits and refresh your soul — these are rare and radiant relationships.

Just being in the presence of these people makes you physically feel better and naturally energetic. Radiant relationships are above all healthy relationships worth nurturing and cultivating. These are the couples whose relationships stand the test of time.

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But radiant relationships don’t just happen overnight — couples must cultivate healthy relationships like a garden to find joy and success.

​My husband loves to plant a vegetable garden every year, dedicating hard work, time, and care. The same must be done to grow vibrant, radiant relationships.

Here are 5 essential things to do together as a couple to grow a healthy relationship that thrives for years.

1. Establish trust.

Just as a garden requires a bed to support its growth and hold its roots in place, trust is the foundation on which to build a relationship.

Establishing trust takes time in any relationship. Once trust is firm, it becomes a rock of stability and safety for both people to relax and be themselves.

Be trustworthy: Trust is one of the most difficult things to rebuild once it's been broken or betrayed.

Keep confidences. Strive to be a safe place for the other person to let down their guard and be vulnerable. Keep your word and follow through with your commitments. Be honest, real, and authentic.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” — Stephen Covey

2. Be fully present.

Simply put, be there.

Be present, show up, and engage. Put away all other distractions and give that person the gift of your attention and presence when you're together.

Schedule time to engage in enjoyable activities together, then be there — fully. Put away your phone and completely immerse yourself in the moment.

Just like my husband has to dig into the soil to prepare a healthy foundation for his garden, growing radiant relationships requires digging in with our attention and devoted presence.

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

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3. Listen intuitively.

Listening is one of the most potent ingredients in a healthy relationship — and also the most neglected and misunderstood.

It sounds so simple, right? We all believe we know how to listen, but most of us only listen at a superficial level.

Deep, intuitive listening can absolutely repair and revolutionize even the most injured and broken relationships. Everyone longs to be heard, understood, seen, and known. Humans are hardwired for love and connection — it is a universal need.

Intuitive listening takes practice. It means keeping yourself out of the story and focusing only on that person.

Listen between the lines. Pay attention to their body language, energy, emotion, and tone of voice. Ask questions. Reflect their words back to validate and acknowledge that they are being heard and understood.

When we experience another person genuinely listening to our hearts, we feel valued and know that we matter. When you intentionally and deeply listen to another person, you plant seeds of love that will reap a bountiful harvest.

“Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply." — Stephen Covey

4. Practice forgiveness.

The impact of forgiveness is massive in creating healthy relationships. Grudges are like weeds in your relationship's garden, quickly overtaking its beds and choking the life out of growing plants. Holding onto past offenses and refusing to forgive allows bitterness to grow in your heart, creating a barrier between you and the other person.

Forgiving simply means you have chosen to let go of hard feelings, flushing away and releasing any poison in your heart. This doesn’t mean you weren’t hurt or that whatever happened was right. Forgiveness is simply a cleansing — a pulling of weeds — so that your heart remains free to love.

“Forgive, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” — Anonymous

Resolve conflicts when they arise. Don’t let negativity take root and grow like weeds in your relationship.

Nobody is perfect — allow the other person to make mistakes, just like you do. Talk things out while keeping the issue the central focus, rather than attacking the character of the other person. Use your intuitive listening skills to hear their heart. Be willing to hear another perspective or opinion.

“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” — Emily Kimbrough

5. Accept your partner for who they are.

A truly radiant relationship is one in which both people are free to be themselves without fear of judgment, criticism, or feeling like they need to change in order to be accepted.

Every garden needs lots of watering to thrive and flourish, and so do healthy relationships. When you appreciate and love the people in your life just as they are, you nourish their souls, empowering them to fully become who they truly are: unique and valued individuals with a gift to share with the world.

“A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself — to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.” — Leo F. Buscaglia

All the plants in a garden look different. A broccoli plant looks totally different than a tomato plant, from their leaves to their stems and fruit. They even grow differently. Tomato plants grow tall and broccoli plants spread out and grow low to the ground.

People are the same. We each need the freedom to grow in the manner we were meant to grow and bear our unique fruit. Acceptance waters the garden of your relationships, allowing these partnerships to fully grow.

Loving, healthy relationships are more important than anything else in this life. Nurture them using these five essential tools and you will reap a bountiful harvest completely worth your investment. Remember: When you reach the end of your life, your relationships will matter the most.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

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Janelle Anderson is a Professional Certified Coach. She’s created several programs and courses, including Becoming a Daughter Bible Study, The Life Purpose Course for Women 40+, Pathways to a Fulfilling Life in Retirement, and Women Living Well Beyond 50.

This article was originally published at Emerging Life Coaching. Reprinted with permission from the author.