September 13, 2021 |Gideon

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In this post, we look at 6 essential elements for how to build a healthy relationship with a significant other.

Relationships are a vital aspect of one’s existence. As social animals, we humans have mirror neurones that allow us to match one other’s emotions instinctively and instantly.

More than that, the quality of your interpersonal connections has an impact on the overall quality of your life.

Unfortunately, we don’t learn how to build a healthy relationship at school, which is a shame.

A large proportion of the population did not grow up with positive role models of healthy and successful relationships.

However, it is a vital skill to learn and master.

how to build a healthy relationship

Because building healthy relationships require time to grow and develop, this can be a difficult challenge to overcome.

It is the opinion of relationship experts such as John Gottman and others that relationships typically wither and perish due to neglect.

They advocate for successful couples to prioritise their relationships over all else. It is how to build a healthy relationship with deep connections, allowing for further growth.

In addition, Gottman believes that unpleasant encounters might be fatal to a relationship. This is referred to as the erosion theory.

The Erosion Theory in a Nutshell

  • Love and pleasant sentiments are not simply displaced or destroyed over time by badly handled disagreements or fights.
  • The negative can actually kill the positive if it is not dealt with properly.

Overall, when the “bad” outweighs the “good” in a relationship, it eventually leads to the relationship being choked to death by the “bad.”

PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program) writers also think that three forms of safety are necessary for an intimate, healthy relationship.

In order to build a healthy relationship, there must be three forms of safety present:

  • Commitment Safety – Assurance of support as well as a clear, shared vision for the future of the relationship.
  • Emotional Safety – The ability to communicate one’s views and feelings without fear of being judged and to accept one another’s differences.
  • Third, physical safety refers to the absence of bodily injury or the danger of physical harm, as well as the denial of medical treatment or medicine or the withholding of other physical needs.

Safety and security, according to the writers of PREP, are the cornerstones of building a healthy relationship.

Tony Robbins, the world-renowned life coach, frequently mentions the main human need for certainty as perhaps the number one element that everyone seeks in a relationship.

Certainty in your ability to avoid suffering, certainty in your ability to trust your spouse, and certainty in your ability to feel comfortable being vulnerable in your relationship are all important.

However, the term “comfort” should not be confused with the term “stagnation.”

It is not true that certainty and comfort are synonymous with boredom.

In a relationship, having certainty implies that you and your partner have formed a bond in which both of you are 100% confident of your feelings for each other.

They know you love them and that they would never do something to purposely cause you pain.

You have no questions about your feelings for them.

build a healthy relationship

Returning to the previous point, having a strong sense of commitment, emotional safety, and physical safety directly addresses the fundamental need for certainty that all of us have, especially in romantic relationships.

It is therefore difficult to have a healthy relationship when one is always living in dread of probable rejection, humiliation, desertion, or physical harm.

As a result, understanding how to build a healthy relationship is more of a learned and developing talent than a matter of common knowledge.

The fact that many of us were never taught how to build healthy relationships makes it critical for us to master this skill if we are serious about achieving success in our love lives.

How to build a healthy relationship: 6 essential elements to consider

It is best not to enter into romantic relationships in order to address a problem.

All too frequently, relationships are built on the foundation of a problem.

Perhaps the problem is a sense of isolation or an absence of closeness, a desire for assistance, or a desire to have children.

But when a relationship is built on the resolution of another unrelated problem, there will be difficulties in the partnership.

Ultimately, it must be because you are impressed by the other person and enjoy the prospect of spending more time with them that you begin a relationship, not as a way to solve previous problems or as a way to run from something.

Instead of starting a relationship because something in your life is broken, you should have something you want to share with the other person.

Recognize that no one has the ability to read your thoughts.

It is not fair to expect anybody else to accurately predict your requirements or thoughts on the subject.

So, if you are unwilling to communicate your desires and needs, you should expect that they will not be met.

It’s as simple as that.

But by communicating your desires and requirements clearly, you are essentially taking responsibility for taking the first step towards achieving your goals and having your needs met.

building a healthy relationship

So, address difficulties and misunderstandings before you allow them to become entangled in excessive emotion and ultimately get out of hand.

A brief conversation every now and again might do wonders to help you avoid future problems.

Never get complacent in your relationship, because as we’ve seen earlier, neglect is a relationship killer.

So avoid expecting your partner to read your mind to know what you want and then getting angry when they can’t and you feel neglected as a result.

That is on YOU!

Fight in a non-aggressive and fair manner.

If you’re going to fight, make sure you do it in a way that doesn’t add to the existing difficulty of the situation.

If you remark something like, “I don’t like it when you leave your damp towel on the bathroom floor,” that’s fine.

Because it is possible that someone may trip over it, and the towel will begin to smell after awhile.

So, in that instance, it’s a fair remark.

More than that, however, is that the remark, “It can’t dry if it’s on the floor,” rather than “Why are you such a slob?” will provide a far more favourable outcome because one approach is addressing an issue and the other is criticising your partner.

In a relationship, it is always better to address the behaviour of the other person instead of criticising their conduct.

There is a big distinction between being honest and being critical.

In the event that your spouse is being completely honest with you, you will still feel respected and appreciated since their comments will be helpful.

As defined by Dr Gottman, criticising your partner is an assault on your relationship. It has the ability to remove the feeling of tranquilly from a relationship. Its purpose is to assassinate the opponent.

Criticism is most frequently expressed in the form of “you always” or “you never” comments.

The inference is that the offending spouse hasn’t just offended, but has committed an outright offence against you.

Criticism is directed at a person’s personality rather than their actions.

And not surprisingly, this type of attack frequently elicits defensiveness and results in a vicious cycle of conflict that is difficult to break free from.

Avoid making assumptions about the situation.

Those who struggle with friendships and love relationships often tend to make a lot of assumptions about other people.

We might even call it “mind-reading.”

The issue with that, however, is that people sometimes do and say things that have absolutely nothing to do with you.

Your spouse may be having a terrible day, might be feeling under the weather, or might be experiencing difficulties at work.

There can be a thousand reasons for their current state of mind and behaviour. It’s not necessarily because of you.

But when you have the habit to believe that everything revolves around you, or is somehow connected to you, you are also bound to be miserable, and your relationship will suffer as a consequence.

Rather than forming assumptions, seek clarity instead. Until you have proof to the contrary, assume there is a harmless explanation.

Take into consideration the fact that your spouse is doing the best they can at any given time.

There may be those of you reading this who find it difficult to understand that this is the case and that your spouse is trying everything they can to make things better.

If you feel that YOU are doing the best you can in your position, you are more inclined to believe that others believe the same.

But please bear with me for a bit longer.

There are 14 essential presuppositions that underpin the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) methodology, and they are as follows:

“Everyone is doing the best they can (with what they know at that moment).”

It suggests that individuals are making the best of their situation.

What exactly does this mean?

Consider the following scenario: you believe your spouse has been engaging in some of the “dumbest” marital behaviour you have ever witnessed.

Imagine that they have been whining about wanting more sex, but at the same time, they are disappearing every Saturday to go golfing, leaving you alone and feeling completely unappreciated.

The issue is so apparent to you and in your thoughts.

They, on the other hand, don’t seem to grasp the concept.

Now, if you didn’t have the presupposition (mindset) described above, you would most likely become annoyed, would most likely stay to yourself when he came home, would make silent judgements about your husband, and it would almost certainly have an adverse effect on your connection and relationship.

In short, you would most likely let your sentiments about their behaviours influence your judgement of your spouse, and perhaps even your opinion of their overall character.

Now… consider the possibility that they were doing the best they could or knew how at those critical moments.

In all honesty, there is an infinite number of possible reasons why they might make this decision, and the specifics don’t matter. Yes, you heard right. They don’t make a difference.

Here are the reasons for saying that…

It is only when I truly believe and trust that they are trying their best that I can approach them with far greater inner resourcefulness and be far more empowered to help us both in getting what we desire in our relationship.

When I hold the above-mentioned presupposition as my frame of mind, instead of shutting down and becoming frustrated, I will be able to pay attention to and understand what they are saying when trying to explain their actions.

Moreover, imagine the ways your interaction would change if you were able to approach your spouse with compassion and understanding, and a shared interest in helping them get more at home whatever golf is giving them at the moment.

How could that potentially change things?

What, if anything, might that potentially mean for the situation?

Recognize that no one relationship will be able to meet all of your needs.

A common misconception about marriage or love relationships, is that if someone loves us completely, totally, and unconditionally, we shouldn’t require the love and support of others in return.

Many couples have suffered much as a result of this erroneous belief, which has resulted in disappointment and disillusionment on their part.

While marriage may be pleasant, therapeutic, difficult, and exciting, it is complete fiction to assume that this partnership can provide us with all we need to be happy and content.

In order to meet the requirements of our soul, we also require friendships, a fulfilling job, healthy solitude, recreation, and other life experiences, among other things.

There is no one who can meet all of your requirements.

It is important to accept responsibility for your own happiness. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to make you whole when you’re running on empty.

A person’s relationships have the ability to make life either joyous or sad, but in the end, your happiness is your responsibility.

The moment you realise that and it clicks, you are instantly better prepared to build a healthy relationship with your significant other.

But people have varying needs, expectations, and perspectives on the world, and a love relationship is but one place where some of that is met.

The rest, you have to find elsewhere.

Take Away

Building a healthy relationship is well worth your time because it can add so much to your life.

But make certain that you are entering into any love relationship for the right reasons.

If you start a relationship hoping to find a solution to other problems in your life, you and your partner are most likely to be disappointed.

Think of building a healthy relationship as a chance to give and to share experiences with another special human being, whereby you create a journey together that is enjoyable and fulfilling.

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About the author


Gideon is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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