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“A loving relationship is one in which the loved one is free to be himself — to laugh with me, but never at me; to cry with me, but never because of me; to love life, to love himself, to love being loved. Such a relationship is based upon freedom and can never grow in a jealous heart.”

–Leo F. Buscaglia

Because we are exposed to so many unhealthy relationships in the course of our lifetime, it’s easy to fall into bad habits when it comes to romance. From parents with a penchant for fighting to the media’s inaccurate portrayal of “the perfect relationship,” it’s no wonder our team of relationship counselors finds itself giving the same advice to countless couples in the Denver area.

Of course, no relationship is easy—each and every one requires tender loving care. But at the core of every healthy, joyful, loving relationship are these 10 qualities:

1. Be an advocate for your own happiness. No one besides you is responsible for putting a smile on your face. Be there to support your loved one, and—likewise—accept support from your loved one. But know that, at the end of the day, you are responsible for you own happiness and wellbeing.

2. Be together for no other reason than to just be together. So many people find themselves in unhealthy relationships just because they need emotional, physical or financial security. True love is transcends all of that. Successful couples are together for the pure sake of being together.

3. Don’t try to fix, change or control each other. No one is perfect—and no one wants to be fixed. Unless your partner explicitly asks for help on his or her own terms, your only job in a relationship is to unconditionally love and accept your other half. Even if he squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube…

4. Appreciate the relationship as a valuable component of your lives. With loyalty and love, both partners should be willing to face challenges head-on, learning lessons and growing together as a couple. True love doesn’t quit when the going gets tough.

5. Equality for all. Share decision-making responsibilities equally, allowing neither party to have more or less say than the other. This establishes a baseline of respect, and allows each partner to feel appreciated as a unique being and valued member of the team. 

6. Agree to disagree. It is implausible that you and your partner will agree about everything, all the time. Accept the fact that you will, eventually, strike discord—appreciate it—and know that different opinions are not deal breakers.

7. Deal with conflict, and drop it. Successful couples don’t let tensions mount—they deal with conflict head-on, sharing their feelings and viewpoints honestly, without disrespecting each other. Once a conflict has been dealt with, bury it. Move on. Don’t continue to rehash the same old issues, ad nauseum.

8. The relationship comes first. Couples who want to make their relationship work take great care to consider their partner before making selfish decisions. Each partner makes room in his or her life and is willing to work together as a solitary unit, rather than as an individual. This doesn’t mean that a partner can’t take a solo vacation to visit an old friend from college—but it does mean that trip isn’t planned without first discussing it with the other partner.

9. Honesty & open-mindedness are king. When a couple is able to share their feelings openly with each other—without sugar coating or downplaying emotions—it shows mutual respect and acceptance. By repressing your feelings, or by not accepting your partner’s feelings, you are setting the stage for future conflict.

10. Take time for yourself. Self-care, self-care, self-care. If you don’t show yourself some love, you’ll be too stressed and tired to hold up your end of a relationship. For some helpful advice about self-care, download our free e-Book, below.

selfcareguidebook

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Contact Creative Counseling Center

Our relationship counselors work with couples throughout the Greater Denver Area, helping them develop these core qualities, work through obstacles, and establish mutual joy and happiness. If you believe your partnership or marriage stands to gain from relationship counseling, complete the brief form below to take advantage of a free phone consultation with a member of our therapeutic team. We are happy to answer your questions and point you in the direction of light and love.

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