All relationships take work. Whether you want to improve your relationships with your family, co-workers, boss, or significant other, you’re going to have to work to make it work. Relationships need a strong foundation, excellent support, and continuous care to make them thrive, much like a garden or a home.
Your relationships can thrive on relationship rules that can apply to any relationship in your life, even unconventional relationships. Some people struggle to compromise or respect another person’s beliefs when they have many different views. If you want to know how to be in a relationship when two people are so different, these basic ground rules may help you.
Healthy relationships are all about giving and taking. One of the most important rules of relationship of any kind is to communicate openly with each other every day. You’ll learn to know each other’s wants and needs and how you can strive to make them a reality. The key word is compromise.
If you follow the important rules in a relationship that I’ll outline here, then you should find that you feel more fulfilled in your relationships. When you feel respected, you’ll be much more willing to respect the other person in your partnership, creating a firm foundation for a lasting relationship.
Essential Rules for a Healthy Relationship
It might sound silly to have relationship rules. However, rules of a relationship can keep it blossoming in a healthy way, where both people in the relationship feel valued and respected. Both partners in a relationship are equally as responsible for adhering to these rules to form a solid foundation for a relationship that continues to thrive.
Here, I’m going to outline some strong relationship rules that can help you form lasting partnerships in every facet of your life, from personal to career.
Ask About, and Remember, the Other Person’s Needs
As I mentioned, communication is extremely important in any relationship. How will you ever know what the other person needs or wants if you don’t talk about it?
Make it a point to ask your partner about their needs, rather than waiting for them to approach you. You don’t have to ask all day, every day consistently. Instead, bring up the subject occasionally. Ask, “How do you feel about this? Is there anything I can do to make this easier for you?”
Not only will your partner have an open platform to share their thoughts, but you’ve also just opened the door to respect. You’ve let your partner know that you value how they think and want to know what you can do to help.
Now that you know what your partner needs, you should keep this information in your mental notes. The more you remember about other people in your relationships, the easier it will be for you to know what to say or how to help in the future.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Your Needs
Since staying in constant communication with the other person in your relationship is one of the most important relationship rules, then it makes sense for you to remember to talk about your needs too.
In unhealthy relationships, one person is usually the giver of attention and a listening ear, while neglecting to meet their own needs in the relationship. Your needs are just as important as your partner’s, and you have every right to discuss what you need from the relationship too.
For example, are you upset about consistently getting passed over for a promotion you believe you deserve? Don’t be afraid to bring up your concerns to your boss. First, listen to his reasons for not yet giving you the promotion. Then, non-defensively, counter with the reasons you believe you deserve it.
Use this time to be honest, but rational. It’s possible that all your boss wanted was for you to have the confidence to approach him with the topic. And, you’ll feel much better getting your feelings off your chest.
Work Through Your Differences Together
You will both inevitably have differences in your needs and wants. No two people are the same, nor will they want the same things from a personal or business relationship.
This is when compromise is your best friend. You need to learn to work through your differences together, never putting one want or need above another regarding importance. Instead, keep yourselves on a level playing field, finding ways to make you both happy and fulfilled in the relationship.
Look at yourself as a team, rather than individuals competing for their needs and wants. Think, “How can we make this team win? How can we work together to accomplish this?” You’ll likely start seeing a significant shift in your relationship focus once you learn how to work together.
Don’t Fix Your Partner
It can be tempting to want to mold someone into the person you want them to be. Perhaps you’re the outgoing sibling in the family, and your little brother is the shy one. It’s tough to find activities you’ll both enjoy when you like being social, but he prefers solitude.
But, your brother’s personality is what makes him who he is, and you should never try to change that by thrusting him into a situation that would make him uncomfortable.
In any relationship, you should find ways to work with your partner’s personality. Neither partner should ever feel as though they have to change themselves to make the other person happy. This can put you on the fast track toward resentment and relationship strain.
Remain Honest, in a Constructive Way
Honesty is incredibly important in every relationship. You wouldn’t want someone lying to you to make you feel better or hide something that could be upsetting, so you shouldn’t do that to someone else.
But, honesty can turn you against each other if you don’t approach it correctly. Honesty should be constructive. If your partner asks you about her new hairstyle she’s trying that you don’t particularly love, you can be honest and say that you prefer her hair a different way, and suggest one of your favorite hairstyles.
Being honest with each other builds trust in the relationship. When you’re honest about every detail, you both will know that you can count on each other for the truth, even when it’s difficult.
Motivate the Relationship
Relationships are like flowers. They need a lot of care to thrive. Both parties in a relationship are responsible for motivating the growth of the relationship.
Every day, think of at least one thing you can do to keep your relationships growing. Let your co-worker know that you loved his presentation. Tell your sister she did an incredible job with her trick shots at basketball practice. Ask your husband how his day at work went and open your ears and heart as he tells you.
The more you work on keeping your relationships alive and positive, the easier it will become to do so. And, they’ll continue to grow and keep positivity alive so that both partners feel fulfilled.
Arguing is Okay
Although it may seem like a positive thing to get along so well that you never argue with your partner, this could be a sign of trouble. Even the healthiest relationships will have disagreements. Arguing is a normal part of a relationship, but it’s how you both decide to work it out that is the true test.
No two people will agree on everything, all the time. Arguments happen so that you can learn to resolve your differences in a healthy way. You’ll learn more about each other’s needs and how to compromise to make both parties happy. If you never argue, then it’s likely that one, or both of you, isn’t being honest with their feelings.
Let the healthy disagreements roll. Just remember to keep your emotions in check.
Be Willing to Forgive and Apologize
There will, at times, be some more heated disagreements that may require a bit of a cooling off period. That’s okay, as long as you both are willing to work out the kinks and learn what you each need to do better.
It’s not always easy, but being willing to apologize and forgive is a crucial part of a successful relationship. Both parties are equally responsible for truly forgiving each other, and apologizing when they know they were in the wrong.
Learning to do so will up the respect factor, allow you both to work through disagreements, and help the relationship move on healthily.
Implement Rules to Improve Your Relationships
It’s incredibly important to lay down these ground rules for every relationship in which you’re involved. Healthy relationships take time and effort to grow and will never stop requiring time and effort to maintain their healthiness.
Communicate, compromise, and respect the needs and wants of others in your relationships. When you do, you’ll find that they’re much more willing to do the same for you. Work through your disagreements in healthy ways to continue fostering and strengthening your relationships.