The good relationship habits that will see your love blossom, and bad ones that will do the opposite

South China Morning Post 發布於 2019年08月18日00:08 • Luisa Tam luisa.tam@scmp.com
  • There are endless benefits in maintaining healthy relationship habits because it ultimately means couples look forward to spending time together
  • Things like doing little favours for one another, giving compliments and sharing hobbies can be powerful love boosters
A6H3WY Young couple

Time together with your partner doesn't always have to be action-packed, goal-oriented or cost a lot of money. Doing small but meaningful things " like relaxing together or even simply sharing domestic chores " can be enjoyable ways to spend time and foster a deeper sense of intimacy between you and your other half.

Similarly, showing love and affection doesn't always have to be done through conventional means like saying "I love you" or giving a bunch of flowers. Sometimes lending a helping hand to each other, doing little things or favours for one another, or giving compliments can be a very powerful love booster.

Some people don't like PDAs (public displays of affection) and find being lovey-dovey in front of other people awkward.

I have to confess that I am an outwardly affectionate person and enjoy showing my feelings openly whenever I want. When my daughter was a child, for example, I made it a habit to kiss her on six different places of her face whenever I sent her off for holiday with her father or to visit her paternal grandparents in Britain.

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I still do it now, even though she is 26. I do the same to my partner sometimes, but it is not always easy when such displays of affection are not returned, or even volunteered.

My point is that partners need to share " or at least be aware of " each other's habits in order for the relationship to thrive.

Maintaining healthy relationship habits helps reinforce bonding, builds trust and makes communication easier. Photo: Alamy

If one partner enjoys PDAs while the other doesn't, you need to find a halfway point that is acceptable for both. Otherwise, resentment will build as one side might feel rejected or unloved while the other feels overwhelmed.

Another good couple habit is sharing a hobby. When one partner is passionate about a sport, for example, the other partner can try to be supportive by learning the rules or watching a few matches with them.

There are endless benefits in maintaining healthy relationship habits because when you show respect and appreciation to each other, you look forward to spending time together. It also helps reinforce bonding, builds trust and makes communication easier, says Jacqueline Chia, co-founder of matchmaking service Meet Mozaic.

"You can build good relationship habits by first focusing on having open communication and having a listening ear by giving each other time to speak out and voice an opinion," Chia says. "Other approaches include being a critical listener who will not be easily offended at what is being said."

If one partner enjoys public displays of affection while the other doesn't, you need to find a halfway point that is acceptable for both. Photo: Alamy

If your partner is not receptive then there are ways to encourage them to share good habits for mutual benefits, says Carol DeCandido, another co-founder of Meet Mozaic.

"You can try to understand what your partner is looking for, while at the same time try not to be negative or critical of their needs. You can also try to let them know you are willing to compromise to make things work and be flexible and understanding of their opinions. It is also important to be reminded that you should not nag them to agree with you, but give them time to see your views too."

Sometimes good couple habits can be developed by one partner and then be gradually expanded to influence or include the other party into sharing the habit.

"Actions speak louder than words," DeCandido says. "Show the good behaviour or habits you would like to be copied. Act how you would like to be treated. It's like the old saying: "Do unto others as you would wish others to do unto you.'"

Actions speak louder than words. Illustration: Marcelo Duhalde

Some common mistakes people make that cause bad habits to fester, or kill good habits, include pushing your opinion or habit on the other person; trying to change the other person into someone they are not, just to please yourself; being too possessive, jealous or disrespectful; and disagreeing or arguing in public, DeCandido adds.

My personal take regarding good couple habits include not being afraid to say sorry; working and living as a team; avoiding public arguments; not going to bed with an argument unresolved; not making threats to win an argument or gain an upper hand; not opening old wounds; not saying "I told you so" in an argument; not neglecting your sex life; and not using sex as a weapon to punish or hurt your partner.

And remember your love should always be unconditional, so don't expect anything in return and don't quantify what you give. You cannot measure what you gain in a relationship like a return on investment.

Always remember that love should be unconditional. Photo: Alamy

Finally, be honest about your likes and dislikes because you cannot possibly fake it in the long run.

Good couple habits

-Give each other space

-Be supportive and loving, but not over the top

-Be a good listener

-Ask your partner's opinion on personal matters

-Employ a give-and-take attitude for both emotional support and in daily issues

-Be open and honest

-Be emotionally available

-Compliment your partner when appropriate

Bad habits to avoid

-Being too critical of your partner

-Being a know-it-all and not allowing for other opinions

-Being too nagging

-Monopolising any conversation or not allowing your partner to offer their opinions

Luisa Tam is a correspondent at the Post

Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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