How To Have A Healthy Relationship In 5 Easy, Everyday Steps

Photo: getty
man and woman laughing together

Like many people, you want to keep your relationship happy, but aren’t really sure what to do. Learning how to have a healthy relationship can be a fun process that brings you closer together.

But how do you go about making sure it happens?

Gifts? Flowers? Vacations? Back rubs? There are so many options and they seem kind of expensive and a bit overwhelming. 

RELATED: 7 Healthy Boundaries To Set In Your Relationship Today

Why does having to keep your relationship healthy require so much time and effort?

Fortunately, there are everyday things that you can do to keep your relationship healthy. Because it's the little things make a huge difference in whether your relationship is happy or not.

Here are 5 easy steps for how to have a healthy relationship every day.

1. Establish eye contact.

When you go to work in the morning and you meet co-workers, do you look them in the eye and wish them a good morning? When you are ordering coffee, do your look your barista in the eye and thank them for their service? 

Of course you do!

So, if you naturally use eye contact as a source of connection in your life, why wouldn’t you use it in your relationship?

I can’t tell you how many couples I have worked with, ones who are finding themselves disconnected from each other, who no longer look each other in the eyes.

Instead, they occupy themselves with something suddenly "super important" if their partner is in the room.

They keep their eye on the TV when the other says goodnight. They leave in the morning with a quick peck on the cheek, moving toward the door with haste.

It's literally impossible to remain connected to someone if you don’t look them in the eye. Human beings thrive on eye-to-eye contact and not having it can not only prevent a relationship from happening but also destroy one that's struggling.

So, when you walk in the house tonight, look your partner in the eye and say hello. Connect with them in a way that lets them know that you care.

2. Give hugs more freely.

It seems so trivial, but hugging your person every day can literally be the thing that will keep your relationship healthy, maybe more than anything else.

Hugs do two things, both of which are important for healthy relationships.

First, hugs use physical contact to convey caring. Think about how good it feels to get a hug from almost anyone. Pretty good, right? Now, imagine a hug from the person you love. Pretty amazing, right?

A 10-second hug leads to the production of oxytocin, the feel-good chemical that enhances happiness and fights depression. They say a 10-second hug, once a day can deepen a couple’s connection in a big way.

Also, hugs are great stress relievers. Holding someone in a firm hug for 20 seconds has been proven to release stress. What a gift that would be — to hug your person and make them feel less stressed in this stressful world.

So, if you aren’t doing it regularly, hug your person. It's quick, cheap, and effective!

RELATED: 7 Rewarding Ways Couples Build Emotional Intimacy

3. Pay attention to one another.

Many women wonder, “Why can’t he just know what I want? Why do I always have to tell him?"

If you're a woman, you're likely saying, "Exactly." If you're a guy, it's probably, "Ugh."

I am afraid that I have to agree with the guys. Women are very good at tuning into each other’s needs, but it’s harder for men to do so.

As a result, a distance can grow between a man and a woman, because opportunities to make each other happy are being missed.

I would encourage both men and women to pay attention to their partner. I would encourage them to note their likes and their dislikes, what makes them happy and sad, and what things they enjoy doing and being done to them.

A person who pays attention is a person who will make their partner feel loved in a big way. Yes, you might not be able to anticipate your person’s every need, but if you pay attention you will be able to come pretty darn close.

4. Make more small gestures.

You know the saying, "It’s the small things that make the difference"? Take this phrase to heart, because it’s true. Small gestures can keep your relationship healthy and humming along.

What do I mean by small things? I mean bringing home flowers. Thanking them for helping you with a task. I mean asking your person to go for a walk. Making a cake for their birthday.

It’s the little things that make life a little less dreary. The small things that make your person know you're thinking of them will keep your relationship healthy and happy.

5. Make time for them.

One of the things we lack most in this modern world is time. Because we're lacking time, for some crazy reason, what goes to the bottom of the priority list is relationships.

We willingly give our time to work and to children and to hobbies, but we often take our relationships for granted and don’t give them the time they deserve.

So, how do you carve out time in this crazy world?

My ex and I always went to bed together. Always. Even when our marriage was falling apart. We would just read side by side, and then turn off the light. But the time was still very intimate and cozy.

Another idea would be getting up early one morning a week for coffee and conversation. Or having a quick drink after work, before the chaos of homework and dinner kicks in. Or taking a walk together. Or getting a sitter and actually going on a date.

Making time seems difficult but, really it isn’t. All you have to do is be aware that it’s important and to make it happen. You can work one half-hour less, or skip a bike-riding day and make your relationship healthier, just like that!

Making your relationship healthy can be easy and inexpensive.

Doing things to keep your relationship healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming.

It’s the everyday things that can make a huge difference in the health of relationships, the everyday things that can be forgotten in the midst of the chaos of the modern world.

I mean, you do love each other, and time spent together isn’t that much of a sacrifice, is it?

Learning how to have a healthy relationship is the number-one goal for most people. And yet, so many relationships are unhealthy.

Try some of these everyday things and see the health of your relationship bloom.

RELATED: 9 Things The Happiest Couples Talk About On A Regular Basis

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based certified life coach and mental health advocate. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her for help or send her an email.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.