How to Build and Maintain Healthy Relationships

February 13, 2019

Building and maintaining a healthy relationship goes beyond a romantic partnership and is a daily, year-round commitment. Strong relationships with your significant other, friends, family and coworkers take time, care and lots of communication. Below, we share some areas to help build and maintain healthy relationships with all the people in your life.


Identify Needs
All relationships take work, which is part of what makes them meaningful. Whether you’re just beginning or continuing a relationship, be sure to identify each other’s needs. According to Sue Johnson, a clinical psychologist, emotional responsiveness is the secret to loving relationships. Communicating needs, preferences and previous or ongoing personal challenges will encourage emotional compatibility and help keep you on the same page, including intimate scenarios. This will help to deepen relationships and let the other person know they can count on you.


Make Time For Each Other
As we get older and life gets busier, keeping the spark in a relationship with your significant other or a friend can be difficult. It’s the little things that add up to valuable partnerships. A quick text message or a weekly phone call with a friend or family member can go a long way in keeping a bond. Monthly date nights are special, and even dedicating undivided, “unplugged” one-on-one time with someone can help you reconnect and refocus on the things that matter most: each other! According to a study by the National Marriage Project, date nights are particularly valuable to maintaining a healthy marriage. 


Listen with Full Attention
Make sure people know that you genuinely care about what’s going on in their day, week and lives. Stay in the moment by making eye contact, putting your phone away or turning off the TV and ask follow-up questions about what someone is sharing with you. Remember things they have told you recently and ask about those things in the future. When you make sure your friend, family member or partner knows you are listening, they will be more likely to open up and trust you to be a part of their life. 


Speak Your Mind
One way to identify an unhealthy relationship is if you feel afraid to speak your mind. Draw confidence in the relationship you have built to be open and honest with the other person. If decisions are being made that go against your preferences or values, be vocal and truthful about your feelings. When you do this, it helps avoid arguments and lingering negativity in the future and allows the other person to better understand your perspective. 


Create Healthy Boundaries
Boundaries can materialize in many different ways to bring positivity to relationships. Talk about your personal hobbies, goals and desires and don’t lose the importance of creating joy and time for yourself. It is healthy to create balance by having a night out with friends without your partner or dedicating a morning or weekend activity for your own time. Being in a relationship does not mean you lose being your own person. 


Access Community Health Network (ACCESS)
The time around Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to evaluate your relationships. ACCESS offers a variety of primary and preventative care services, including behavioral health care to help you understand how to have and maintain healthy relationships. Visit our website to find your local health center and schedule an appointment today!


As of March 23, 2023