6 must-haves for a happy, healthy relationship

By: Jessica Padykula

Author: Canadian Living


6 must-haves for a happy, healthy relationship

By: Jessica Padykula
There are a lot of different elements that go into making a relationship work, but there are a few in particular that have a serious impact on whether or not your partnership will be a lasting one.

To learn more we spoke with Kailen Rosenberg, a relationship expert, elite matchmaker and the host of "Lovetown, USA," a show debuting on the OWN network this summer. We asked her for her insights into what it takes for a healthy relationship to thrive.

1. Honesty
When it comes to building a life with someone you love, honesty is one of the most important ingredients. "A true relationship is built on genuineness, honesty and trust," says Rosenberg. "If something doesn't feel right to share, get to the core reason why. When truth is shared, trust, safety and true intimacy are created, which becomes a vital portion of the glue that keeps two people together." Honesty not only keeps your relationship strong, it also improves communication in all areas of your life together.

2. Friendship

One of the cornerstones of lasting love is friendship. You need passion and attraction too, but it’s friendship that keeps the relationship thriving, Rosenberg explains. She advises thinking back to the Golden Rule as inspiration for your relationship: Treat others as you would want to be treated.

"Be the kind of friend to your partner that you would want to have," she says. "Have fun together, play together, be silly together and create new experiences together. You're never too old to have experienced it all."

3. Healthy sense of self
Being in a relationship is a positive experience, but it is still important to take care of yourself and to stay true to your own values. "Stay true to what makes you uniquely you, from singing in the shower and time spent alone with your favourite movie and ice cream to a great workout and time for pampering yourself," Rosenberg advises.

Putting effort into your own well-being is just as important as working on your relationship. "Love yourself inside and out, because if you can't your partner won't be able to either -- at least not in a truly full or healthy way," she says. "Healthy couples celebrate and encourage outside interests. Someone who tries to control your activities or dominate your life is a red flag."

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4. Date nights
One of the most effective ways to keep your relationship going strong is to always make time for each other. "Dates are crucial, from your very first one together to the time you become grandparents together," says Rosenberg.

"Love is meant for exploring, experiencing and learning together, whether it’s enjoying a meal at a great restaurant, experiencing the fall leaves or spending time volunteering together," she explains. "You can fall in love with your partner a million times over, and just when you least expect it."

5. Outside time with friends and family

Sometimes we get lost in the excitement of a new relationship and drop out of other activities and relationships that we enjoy. But Rosenberg suggests trying to find a balance in order to keep the relationship strong.

"New relationships tend to fail when one or both of the people are overly involved with each other. There must be balance," she explains. "Keep spending quality time with the people you enjoy. It's healthy to have other positive influences in life, since no one person can satisfy your every need."

6. Respect and compromise

Respect your partner, expect differences and communicate in a healthy way, meaning without games and without criticism, Rosenberg advises. "Sometimes we have to agree to disagree in relationships, as long as if in disagreement there is still honour toward one another," she says.

When something doesn’t make sense or you disagree with each other, find some common ground on the matter rather than letting the disagreement escalate. "Couples thrive when they listen to each other, are kind and try to understand differing perspectives," she explains. "Relationships tend to fail when respect is not present, when there is not a mutual level of commitment and the ability to submit to the other person on occasion."

If you want your relationship to work you need more than a mutual attraction. There are a few key elements that can help you and your partner create a lasting bond. Add these to your daily life and you’ll have a better chance at keeping your relationship going strong.

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6 must-haves for a happy, healthy relationship