Committed, close, happy relationships have a positive impact on longevity, wellbeing, productivity, and immune function. These relationships are beneficial and, at the end of the day, make life worth living.
So, how do we become a part of a happy and committed romantic relationship? This is a complex question. Luckily for us, many years of research has looked at this topic in detail. Here to discuss this in more detail is highly esteemed consultant clinical psychologist, Dr Kerry Ashton-Shaw.
The importance of friendship in a relationship
A relationship founded on strong friendship means the couple are more likely to cope with the ups and downs of a long-term relationship. This means knowing your partner well – their likes and dislikes and personality quirks or unique talents. Being aware and sensitive to your partner’s inner world, knowing what is making them happy or what is stressing them out. Friendship in a romantic, committed relationship also involves maintaining fondness, empathy, and respect towards your partner.
Conflict: healthy relationships aren’t always positive
Healthy relationship aren’t always positive, but both partners recognise and work on the negatives. Criticising, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling aren’t a major feature in healthy, committed relationships. You can see couples in these relationships tending to have a positive attitude to each other that will override the natural downs in any relationship.
Shared meaning in a relationship
This means that the couple are working to create meaning and purpose in their relationship. Partners support each other and help make each other’s dreams come true. The couple build up shared traditions, roles, and rituals within their relationship.
Why are healthy, committed relationships easier for some people and not for others?
The answer comes down to one simply thing: our brains. From before birth, at a neurobiological level, the hard wiring for forming and maintaining relationships with others (and ourselves) is developing.
To book an appointment with Dr Kerry Ashton-Shaw today, simply visit her Top Doctors profile.