Esther Moriarty, 03.05.2017

5 rules to follow to build a good relationship

A good relationship can’t just be found, it has to be created. Whilst every relationship is different, there are generally accepted ‘rules’ about how to make and keep a good relationship.

Any relationships which are worthwhile will require effort, time and TLC. However, there are certain guidelines that can benefit any couple trying to build a good relationship. Here’s what you can do to build a good relationship with the one you love.

1. Don’t throw in the towel too soon

Many couples confuse infatuation for love and whilst infatuation is momentary, love can be everlasting. Keep in mind that there is a distinction between consummate love, which can endure, and obsessive love, which often fades after the beginning of a relationship.

Don’t give up on the relationship as soon as the infatuation phase is over. In a good relationship, although the happy couple may not have the feeling of butterflies in their stomachs when they are together, they will have developed a deep and mutual bond built through passion, intimacy and commitment.

READ MORE: The seven types of love - What is the Triangular Theory of Love?

2. Communicate clearly

Over time, we assume that our partner knows us so well that we don’t need to ask for what we want. What happens when we make this assumption? Relationship expectations are set and just as quickly, they're not met. Those unmet expectations can leave us questioning the viability of our partnership and connection. Keep in mind that ‘asking for what you want’ extends to everything from emotional to sexual wants.

In a good relationship, you may have differences or arguments, but it’s always constructive to the relationship. You voice your opinions and help your partner understand how you’re feeling and what you really want. By bring up a touchy subject and clearing the air, it helps bring both of you closer in the long run, just as long as the same mistakes don’t happen again.

READ MORE: Crave a stronger relationship – Learn the 5 Love Languages

3. Respect each other

Someone can love you like crazy, but a relationship can only last if both partners respect each other. When a relationship lacks respect, it is unhealthy. Respect is reflected in the actions and behaviour towards each other. Disrespectful partners are concerned with how you make them feel, how you can serve them, how you reflect on them. A partner who respects you values you as you are without wanting to change you. Someone who respects you will take joy in your independence and honour your boundaries.

To be respectful of each other, you’ll need to really listen and consider the other one’s viewpoint. Learn to put your each other’s needs before your own. In a good relationship, both partners want the other one to just as or even happier than they are.

READ MORE: Five habits to follow to become a happy couple

4. Be affectionate

Feeling love and affection toward your partner is important, but so is expressing that love and affection in physical ways. Studies suggest it’s not wise to play hard to get when your goal is to build the intimacy in your relationship.

Expressions of affection don’t have to be overly romantic or complicated at all. A kiss on the cheek or touch on the shoulder is often enough to show that you desire your partner physically as well as mentally. Similarly, in secure, long-term relationships, having more sex is often a positive expression of love’s intensity. Researchers at the University of Tennessee say frequent sex could be the answer to maintain feelings of love and happiness that endure over time.1

READ MORE: How to have a healthy sex life

5. Keep it exciting

‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is a cliché that too often applies to couples in unhappy relationships. Spending time with your partner is important, but studies show it’s how you spend your time together that influences your relationship satisfaction most.

A study reported in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that couples can improve their love for each other when they spend their time together exploring new and challenging activities.2 So, if you’re planning to start a hobby or taking a trip somewhere for the first time, researchers say your relationship will benefit when you and your partner face this challenge together.

On the other hand, often couples feel bogged down by work or kids when they are a few years into their relationship. You can't expect the passion and the excitement in your relationship to last if you've abandoned the romance. Take time to regularly date each other or think of ways to spice up your daily routine together.

READ MORE: Been together a long time? Anniversary date ideas

These five rules are the basis of many good relationships, follow them and you and your partner have a fantastic chance of building a good relationship of your own.