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Five tips for fostering healthy relationships
‘aint Valentine’s Day?
Love, and the pursuit of love is, for most of us, one of the primary motivators in life. A secure, meaningful and loving relationship with a trusted partner can provide a reliable source of comfort, affection, practical and emotional support and much more.
While love can manifest itself in various types of close relationships, including the fierce, protective kind set aside for one’s offspring, and the love between good friends and close relatives, the romantic love that exists within a successful relationship with your significant other can be the most important and rewarding relationship in the world.
Nurturing successful, loving relationships can also bring health benefits. A simple embrace from a loved one has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease tension and stress levels and help to maintain a healthy heart rate. A healthy sex life has also been repeatedly shown to boost heart health and wellbeing and strong connections with others can not only bring pleasure but can also influence health in the long-term, with fewer reported health problems such as depression and even increased longevity. According to the NHS, further benefits of a healthy relationship have been identified in a study of 10,000 men, where it was found that those who said they felt supported and loved by their partner had a reduced risk of developing angina and gastric ulcers.
Understandably, then when this kind of previously loving relationship begins to break down, it can be a source of extreme anguish, hurt and emotional pain that can take months if not years to fully overcome. The after-effects of relationship breakdown can be particularly painful if one partner has betrayed the vital trust that should exist between partners by being unfaithful, selfishly and repeatedly putting their own needs first or by telling damaging lies or otherwise causing deliberate harm.
According to recently published data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), divorce rates across the UK are currently at the lowest level seen for four decades, which may indicate that people are working harder to patch up their relationships, but it also means there may still be hope if your own relationship is presently ‘on the rocks’.
Read on for our five tips for fostering healthy relationships.
1) Building intimacy - be kind to yourself
Make time for each other by arranging a regular ‘date night’, where you share a favourite meal or see a film at the cinema, at least once a fortnight.
2) Don't just say it - show it!
Life may have ground you down and physical affection may have been left by the wayside at some point, but restore intimacy by making a renewed effort to reach out to your partner with an embrace or by holding hands.
3) Show affection
Showing affection doesn’t always necessarily mean flowers, or champagne and chocolates! A few genuine, kind and complimentary words here and there can also help to show that you care, as can offering to help your partner with practical chores or other tasks. If household tasks are shared, there will be more time for pleasurable pursuits.
4) Do things together
Shared experiences often make for the very best memories and also promote bonding, so make an effort to get out and do things together, both as a couple but also as a family if you have children. If funds are tight, visit local events websites for ideas for fun and often free things to do in your area.
5) How to keep lines of communication open in a busy household
If you have children, or even if you don’t, the trappings of a busy household and lifestyle can sometimes get in the way of communication, and your relationship may start showing signs of neglect. Arrange a family meeting for one fixed evening each week, when everyone is available to sit around the table and discuss the week ahead and identify any problems or issues sooner rather than later.
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