First, let me start by saying that I am very superstitious about sharing relationship advice on this blog. Not because I don’t believe in what I am about to write, (I 100% believe these are the keys to a mutually happy relationship be it family, friends, or significant other.) but because I feel like it is a bit if a jinx to write relationship tips. That said, lately, I have heard of several stories where a relationship has failed due to spouse cheating, poor communication, a lack of respect, and the like. So I feel compelled to share what I believe are the keys to a happy relationship, in hopes that it may help others from staying in poor relationships, see where there can be improvement, or know what to cultivate when a relationship comes around. Our relationships are some of the most important things in our lives. Our relationships with friends, family, and spouses are often times what can give our lives meaning. Hell, even work relationships can thrive based on these three principles. No matter the relationship you want to improve, these keys can be applicable. So let’s begin. First off, if you are in an abusive relationship, these relationship fundamentals are not for you. Instead, seek help to remove yourself from such a situation.

1. Respect

This is the first and foremost of the three because it deals with three elements of your relationship. Respect for yourself, respect for the other person, and respect for the relationship itself. You must respect yourself if you want to be happy in any relationship. This self-respect assists in establishing boundaries, sets the standard for how you expect to be treated and means that you respect yourself enough not to compromise your position or renege on your commitments. Second, you must have respect for the other person in the relationship. If you don’t respect them, it can be difficult to live without judgment. It can also drain the relationship because without respecting the other person, you will think poorly of them, second-guess their opinions, and not care about hurting them. Lastly, you must have respect for the relationship itself. Respect the commitment of marriage, the honor of friendship, the connection of family. Respect the time and emotions that you’ve invested into the relationship and most of all, respect the relationship for what it currently is- good or bad. Respect that you’ve put yourself here and its up to you to change what you don’t like… leading back to having enough respect for yourself to make that change.

2. Trust

rust is the most difficult of the three keys to a happy relationship. It can be so hard to let go and trust someone, especially if you’ve been hurt before (whether by someone else or by the person you are in the relationship with). But any relationship without trust isn’t a relationship. If you can’t trust a person to act consistently, to respect you, and to honor their commitments… there is no point. You’ll be constantly on edge about what will happen next, you’ll always feel nervous and in some cases, feel let down.  A relationship without trust can make you second guess yourself and lead to true unhappiness. So how do you gain trust in your relationship? Through honest communication. Coincidentally, trust in a person can lead to respect for a person too.

3.  Honest Communication

Your relationship partner needs to know you will be honest, they need to know they can trust you to be truthful with them… about thoughts, actions, and opinions. Having honest communication, without pride interjecting, without hidden agendas, and without intention to hurt can open so many doors in your relationship. How can a person truly love you, interact with you or even trust you to get a job done if they can’t expect honest communication from you? With honest communication, you can earn respect and build trust. Honestly share how things make you feel, share your desires, and your needs. Be honest in your communications and all your relationships will thrive. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

Relationships Include Two People

Every relationship takes two people but I’d bet money that when you start implementing these keys, your relationships will improve. Especially when you instigate honest communication and tell your relationship partner what you are trying to do. Chances are they will jump on board as well and the two of you can begin working to having a happier relationship with each other. On that same note… if your partner doesn’t want to work towards these relationship traits, it may be time to evaluate your relationship, needs, and patience. Sometimes people can be scared at the thought of honesty and it can be difficult to admit you have to have respect for yourself. But sometimes just enacting these traits yourself can be enough to engage the other person and lead to a better relationship. Every relationship is different but try to implement these three keys and see what a happy relationship can be.

Photo by Paz Arando