Tips on building a healthy relationship

5 Keys to a Healthy Relationship

Here at the Adventure Challenge, our whole mission is to help healthy relationships thrive through fun, creative ways to connect. If you’re looking for ways to boost your relationship, you’re in the right place! We’ve got a few keys to a healthy relationship here for your consideration. Let’s dive in! 

#1 - Deposit in the ‘Emotional Bank Account’

Relationship experts at the Gottman Institute have coined the term ‘emotional bank account’ to express the idea of the combination of positive and negative interactions. According to them, after one negative interaction; you fight, or are ignored, or feel disappointed, for example, you need 20 positive interactions to get the emotional ‘balance’ back up to where it was. In a healthy relationship, while there will be negative interactions that ‘withdraw’ from the emotional bank account, the positive interactions will always outweigh the negative.

A woman feeds her boyfriend spaghetti as they smile together

Contributing to the emotional bank account looks like creating the positive interactions that draw you closer. These interactions or ‘deposits’ don’t have to be grand gestures, though they can be. Joking, flirting, following up with a question about something your partner has said, grabbing them a cup of coffee, celebrating something small that they’ve done; any of these count towards building up the emotional bank in your relationship.

So, ask yourself, when was the last time you deliberately ‘deposited’ into your healthy relationship bank account? 

#2 - Make Fun a Priority

It’s an underrated super weapon for maintaining a healthy relationship: fun!

When you first get together, fun seems to flow effortlessly. You’re always laughing, and you probably have no shortage of ideas for fun things to do together. But, as you settle into the relationship, sometimes it can be harder to keep that spontaneous sense of joy. Life gets busy and you stop having the time or the energy.

A girl smiles as her boyfriend pours nerds candy over her head

If that sounds familiar to you, it’s time to generate some fun! Even a little bit of laughter or play will remind you why you fell in love in the first place, and regular doses will fast-track you to a long-lasting healthy relationship.

So do something fun, just because. Maybe even go back to one of the dates you had at the beginning of your relationship and relive those good memories. And, if you need ideas for out-of-the-box fun activities to do together, we’ve got those in abundance!

#3 - Discuss Your Conflict

After a fight, it can be tempting to paper over what has happened and just move on. Being back on the same page can be such a relief that many couples want to forget they were ever at odds! 

This is understandable, but a healthy relationship has the resilience and space to talk through the conflict that happens within it. If you just move on from fights and misunderstandings, not only are you allowing potential hurt and resentment to build up, but you are also leaving destructive patterns open to repeating themselves.

A couple sit on a counter together next to plates of food as they discuss conflict together

A healthy relationship is always learning from past mistakes. So, once you’ve navigated through the conflict, take some time to talk through it. What did you both do well? What do you want to do differently next time? Was the conflict down to superficial circumstances, or was there a deeper clash of values? If you want a healthy relationship, we have good news and bad news; working on your communication is never going to end! You will be constantly growing and changing, and that’s a good thing.

#4 - Come Up with a ‘Conflict Contract’

In a healthy relationship, there are boundaries that are never crossed. A healthy relationship works through on the basis of the trust that these boundaries will be respected. But when emotions run high and you feel angry or afraid, it can be easy to head into hurtful territory without realizing it.

One way to help safeguard the trust in your healthy relationship is to come up with a ‘conflict contract’ where both of you agree on boundaries for the communication in difficult moments. It could be a ban on shouting, an agreement not to bring up more than one topic at a time, or something more unique. We know of one couple who have a rule that if a fight ever gets too heated, they will stop and slow dance for five minutes! This isn’t going to work for everyone, but that’s the point. Each of these ‘contracts’ will be totally unique to the relationship it was made for. 

A couple dance together in a modern kitchen

If someone accidentally crosses one of the agreed-on boundaries in the conflict contract, you stop and time out and return to the topic when you’ve calmed down. A healthy relationship looks like two people who know that protecting their connection is more important than winning an argument.

#5 - Create Daily Time to Connect

We know, we know, everyone’s heard the ‘date night’ advice before! And at the Adventure Challenge, we’re huge fans of date nights. We like them so much that we came up with 50 different date ideas! But setting time aside for your partner doesn’t just have to be a case of a whole evening once a week. We’re talking about putting your phone down for ten minutes to deliberately engage with one another.

Some couples in a healthy relationship choose dinner time to be the point in the day where they eliminate distractions and focus on their connection. Some make time in the morning, or right before bed. It doesn’t have to be for very long, but you’ll find that creating deliberate space to give one another your full attention to connect as people, not as parents or as busy co-pilots, is going to make a huge difference to how close you feel to each other as you go about the rest of your day.

Final Thoughts on Having a Healthy Relationship

Having a healthy relationship takes a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring! A healthy relationship with the person you love is one of the deepest joys in life, so we hope this list of keys has inspired you to invest in your own relationship. And for your next date night, why not try out our Couples Edition, full of epic date ideas?

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A couple smiles together while sitting on a picnic blanket and making peace signs; image overlaid with text that reads how to have a healthy relationship
A man lifts up his girlfriend as he embraces and kisses her; image overlaid with text that reads how to have a healthy relationship

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