Relationships are the foundation of our social lives. Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a platonic one, we all want to maintain positive and healthy relationships with the people we care about. But building and maintaining positive relationships is not a walk in the park. It requires effort, commitment, and dedication. One way to reinforce positive relationships is by forming positive habits that promote intimacy, connection, and understanding. Habits are the day-to-day small decisions and actions you make. This blog will explore six habits couples can adopt to reinforce positive behaviors and build a stronger relationship.
Showing appreciation for your partner is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to strengthen your relationship. Appreciation can take many forms, such as acknowledging their efforts, expressing gratitude for something they did, or simply saying “thank you.” When you appreciate your partner, they feel seen, heard and valued.
So, how can you develop a habit of expressing gratitude in your relationship? One way is to make a point of thanking your partner for one gesture a day, small or large. Another option is to write down things you’re grateful for about your partner each day or to express gratitude during conversations or at meal times.
You do not only build a more positive relationship when you make a habit of showing appreciation, but you also create a sense of mutual respect and admiration within your relationship.
Affirmations are positive statements that reinforce a sense of self-worth, confidence, and positivity. In relationships, affirmations are a powerful tool to express love, appreciation, and admiration for your partner. They can be expressed in various forms, such as verbal affirmations, love notes, or thoughtful gestures. They can be as simple as saying “I love you,” “You look beautiful today,” or “I appreciate your integrity.”
Offering affirmations helps your partner feel loved and accepted for who they are. It also creates a sense of security and stability in the relationship. When you offer affirmations, you tell your partner they are valued, appreciated, and loved unconditionally.
To make offering affirmations a habit, it’s important to be specific and genuine in your praise. Instead of using generic compliments, like “you’re great,” try to be more specific and highlight your partner’s unique qualities and strengths. For example, you could say, “I really admire your kindness and compassion,” or “You have such a great sense of humor; it always makes me laugh.”
Spend Quality Time Together
In today’s fast-paced, over-stimulating world, getting caught up in work, social obligations, and other distractions is easy. However, spending quality time with your partner is an essential ingredient in maintaining a healthy and positive relationship. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive, but it should be intentional and meaningful. It could be taking a walk, cooking a meal together, watching a movie, or simply having a conversation. The important thing is to make an effort to disconnect from external distractions and focus on each other.
Spending quality time together helps you build shared experiences and memories that strengthen your bond. You create a sense of closeness and intimacy that helps to reinforce positive habits in your relationship. When you spend quality time together, you show to your partner that they are a priority in your life.
Relational Reckoning – Practice Forgiveness
No relationship is perfect and conflicts are inevitable. One of the most important habits for a healthy relationship is practicing forgiveness. Holding onto grudges or resentment can damage a relationship over time. It’s important to practice forgiveness, both for your own mental health and for the health of the relationship.
Forgiveness is not about condoning hurtful behavior or letting go of your feelings, but it means letting go of anger, resentment, or blame towards your partner for past mistakes or wrongdoings and choosing to work towards reconciliation. When you practice forgiveness, you communicate to your partner that you value the relationship more than your ego.
Also, because no relationship will ever be perfect, it’s about celebrating the glass being 25% full, meaning not losing track of what is working well and celebrating that goodness.
Show Physical Affection
Physical touch is a powerful language to communicate love and affection. Holding hands, hugging, kissing, and other forms of physical touch release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that promotes bonding and reduces stress. Physical affection can also be expressed through non-verbal cues like eye contact, facial expressions, or body language.
To develop a habit of physical affection in your relationship, start by making a point of touching your partner regularly in non-sexual ways. This could be as simple as holding hands while walking, giving a hug before leaving for work, or sitting close together while watching a movie. You can also try experimenting with different types of physical touch to find what feels most meaningful for you and your partner. When you habitually show physical affection, you create a positive feedback loop that reinforces intimacy.
Practice Active Listening
Communication is essential for any relationship, but it’s not just about talking. Active listening is a key component of effective communication. It means fully engaging with your partner when they are speaking, without distraction or interruption. It involves listening to understand rather than just responding.
One way to develop a habit of active listening is to practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing or meditation before entering into important conversations with your partner. During conversations, try to focus on your partner’s words and avoid interrupting or getting defensive. Instead, ask questions to clarify their feelings and show that you’re engaged in the conversation.
By practicing active listening, you create a safe and supportive environment for your partner to express their thoughts and feelings. This helps to strengthen your connection and build trust, which reinforces positive habits in your relationship.
Developing habits for positive relationship reinforcement is an ongoing process that requires effort, commitment, and consistency.
By adopting these six essential habits – showing appreciation, offering affirmations, spending quality time together, practicing forgiveness, showing physical affection, and practicing active listening – you can reinforce your connection with your partner and create a stronger, happier, healthier future together.
When you want to work through your habits effectively, couples counseling is a great resource. Take that step and seek out a licensed therapist who can help you make your bad habits into positive ones and make your relationship stronger and better than before. Reach out to me, and I’ll gladly help.