Pillars of a Healthy and Romantic Relationship

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Pillars of a healthy and romantic relationship is a set of characteristics that can strengthen the bond and promote intimacy & passion in a couple’s relationship.  

A lot of us enjoy learning about romance and romantic relationships. Some of us are in the pursuit of even finding our significant other while others have already found them and are now building a healthy relationship together. But, how is that done? Is there a guide to it? Well, there is no simple answer to that.

Relationships can be intricate. Each relationship  is unique and comes with its own challenges. Although it can be difficult to deal with some complex situations in a specific relationship, there are some basic and fundamental pillars of a healthy and romantic relationship that can cultivate romance and intimacy towards each other. 

The seven pillars of a healthy and romantic relationship mentioned below can be used and implemented in any setting to improve the intimacy and romance in a relationship.

The Triangular Theory of Love

The “Triangular Theory of Love”, developed by Professor Robert Sternberg (an American Psychologist), defines: Commitment, Intimacy & Passion, as 3 pillars to a healthy relationship. These 3 pillars are crucial for a relationship to thrive and not just survive. Commitment in the form of being truthful and maintaining trust along with Intimacy either in the form of physical or emotional closeness and lastly Passion which involves activities ( physical, sensual, emotional or spiritual) that add “spark” to the relationship, are considered indicators of a healthy and romantic relationship.  

Interdependence

Another key factor for intimate relationships is being interdependent. Each partner influences their choices in the relationship to the other either meaningfully, frequently or vastly. Interdependence can range from choosing where to have dinner to making financial decisions to making life decisions such as moving houses or having another child. Moreover, using lexicon: “‘We’, eg: We are going for a movie”, also promotes feelings of togetherness and mutuality.

 

Personal Identity

This might sound contrary to the point just shared above, but as important it is to harbour interdependence, it is equally important to maintain your personal identity in a relationship. Your partner’s unique identity was probably the primary reason for you to get together with them. Therefore, keeping this identity alive by practising responsible individualism can nurture the relationship and also keep you happy. 

Responsiveness

Partners in a relationship will need help and support from each other through the course of time. Acknowledging these needs, understanding where they are coming from  and being mutually responsive of them is the way forward for a healthy intimate relationship. Supporting your partner during a painful time such as losing a job or parent or during good times such as being promoted or moving to a new house or having a baby will make them feel appreciated and loved. 

Trust

Building trust is not only important for a relationship but is also an important psychosocial stage of human development according to Erickson’s theory. Gaining trust is foundational to all relationships that helps them grow and thrive. Many of us have had experiences that bolster our trust for other individuals and new relationships. While many individuals have experienced lack of trust due to invasion of boundaries, instability or actual threat of harm or alienation and therefore mistrust develops. This feeling of mistrust can also manifest in isolation and avoidance of intimacy. 

As a partner, you don’t necessarily have to share and verify everything. Building trust in a couples relationship can be achieved by sharing the good as well as the bad moments of your life. 

As said before, relationships can be complex, therefore maintaining the right balance can be tricky. These are some fundamental pillars of a healthy and romantic relationship. Achieving these milestones of either trust or personal identity or commitment can be difficult for some couples and thereby taking help from an expert regarding it is always a good idea. Seek out to experts in relationship counseling if you are having trouble maintaining a healthy balance with your partner.

  Photo Credits: Steven Aitchison
 Sternberg, Robert J. (1997). Construct validation of a triangular love scale. European Journal of Social Psychology,  27(3), 313–335.
Sternberg, Robert J. (2004). A Triangular Theory of Love. In Reis, H. T.; Rusbult, C. E. Close Relationships. New York: Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0863775956.
Sternberg, Robert J. (2007). Triangulating Love. In Oord, T. J. The Altruism Reader: Selections from Writings on Love, Religion, and Science. West Conshohocken, PA: Templeton Foundation. ISBN 9781599471273.
Ben-Ari, A., & Lavee, Y. (2007). Dyadic closeness in marriage: From the inside story to a conceptual model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24(5), 627-644.
Miller, R. (2014). Intimate relationships. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/romantically-attached/201802/the-7-elements-define-intimate-relationship

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