Good relationships seem magical, but we all know by now that there’s no fairy godmother waving a magic wand. In fact, good, functional relationship happens when each partner cultivates certain traits. And the truth is, these traits don’t just happen either.
Sure, some may be more natural to some than to others, but each of these 15 traits are things we have to work on. When we do, we also cultivate a relationship that is healthy and happy.
It might seem strange to begin with a trait that has to do with yourself, but who you are has a lot to do with what kind of relationship you have. And if you lack self-confidence, you will seek constant validation and approval from your partner.
What’s worse, your need for approval can lead you to do anything for outward approval. This can lead to an unhealthy relationship.
Self-love is another trait that focuses on you, rather than your partner. But like self-confidence, the more self-love you have, the better off your relationship will be. That’s because the more love you cultivate inside yourself, the more love you’ll have for the other person.
What’s more, loving yourself will make you more confident, aware and compassionate -all of which are necessary in a good and functional relationship.
Honesty is an important trait in all walks of life, and our relationships need it, too. But in order to be honest with others, we have to learn to be honest with ourselves. This means, coming to terms with what we need and want in our lives, careers and relationships. This will make it easier to be honest with our partners about it.
Being in a relationship means living along with someone else. But the more you depend and need your partner, the less attractive you can become. In fact, nothing is more attractive and inspiring than a woman who takes a vested interest in herself and her wellbeing. Just because you become a girlfriend, fiancé or wife doesn’t mean you stop being you!
Having empathy can create a good and functional relationship, too. That’s because empathy helps you to tap into what your partner is feeling. This prevents quick judgments and harsh comments. Instead, it puts you in their position and helps you treat them with compassion and objectivity.
We often hear about the importance of respecting each other’s differences. But even more than that, it’s important to respect each other. And while it’s much easier to respect what you like about someone, you also have to respect the entire person, even their limitations and blocks. We’re all a work in progress.
It goes without saying that trust is an essential trait for every functional relationship. Yet, trust is a hard quality for many couples to cultivate. If that’s the case in your relationship, ask yourself if you make it safe for your partner to be honest with you. For example, if your partner has something to share, will you lose your temper, or even attack or verbally abuse him or her? If so, what incentive do they have to be honest with you?
The only person you can change is yourself, so just focus on that. When it comes to your partner, try not to change everything you don’t like about him or her. Your job is to accept them – the parts you like and the parts you don’t. Wouldn’t you want them to do the same for you?
According to bestselling author, Brené Brown, vulnerability isn’t a weakness. Instead, it takes a lot of courage to open ourselves up to others. And if we lack vulnerability, we also lose human connection – a vital element of the human experience.
When you’re single, you set your own rules and do what you want. But in a relationship, it takes two to tango. You might have to swallow your pride and do things you wouldn’t always choose on your own.
Dinner with your in-laws? Maybe it’s not exactly how you want to spend your only free night this week, but for the sake of your relationship, it’s probably worth it.
Being grateful changes everything. In fact, gratitude is an emotion, which raises your vibrational frequency higher than any other emotion. So, when you’re grateful, you’re literally high on life. And when you focus on what you’re grateful for in your relationship, the less disturbed you’ll be by the little things you don’t like.
This trait leads little explanation. It goes without saying that without communication, there really can’t be a good and functional relationship. Period.
When the going gets rough – and it definitely will at times – there’s nothing relationships need more than a good sense of humor. Can you break the ice? Can you lighten the mood? How about bringing a smile to your partner’s face? If so, you have the ability to brighten your relationship when you’re both going through a difficult time.
With conditional love, we give with the expectation of getting something in return. But this isn’t a good trait for a functional relationship. Instead, strive to be generous with your love. Don’t keep tabs and focus on tallying up I-owe-you’s from your partner. Instead, love for the sake of loving. No one wants a stingy partner, and besides, it’s much more fun and uplifting to love unconditionally.
You and you partner are completely different people – no matter how similar you may be. And your partner will offer different opinions, ideas and viewpoints to your conversations.
Sometimes, they may be easy to understand. Other times, they can really throw you for a loop. When you encounter foreign concepts, remind yourself that you are safe and that it’s safe to think about, and to be open to different ideas. It’s very freeing and you’ll grow much more as an individual, too.