Relationships are what can bring the most joy—or the most stress—to your life. When your partnership is solid and secure, you have a foundation to grow and feel free in your most authentic self-expression. You feel calm, happy, and supported, and you also feel open and willing to serve and help your partner in the ways they need.
But, when your relationship is strained, it can feel like you’re on unsure footing. Even in partnership, you may feel alone, unfulfilled, withdrawn, and anxious. When this happens, you don’t feel safe to truly share and be yourself because there isn’t space in the relationship.
A healthy relationship is one that you can depend on as a haven. Although challenges will always come up, its foundation is secure, and you can trust it through even the strongest storms. This knowing cultivates a deep sense of peace that allows you to navigate better the stressors that come your way in other areas of life.
So, what’s the secret to a happy and stress-free partnership?
Based on decades of asking people young and old this question, I’ve found that there are seven keys. From dating couples to married ones celebrating 60+ years of marriage, to even long-time business partners, these seven secrets will unlock a relationship that is rewarding and fulfilling on all levels.
It takes two to tango! Both partners need to do their part to make it work in any partnership. Work together to make decisions, and give both parties space to voice preferences, concerns, ideas, and opinions. And remember, you won’t always agree on everything! Be open to compromise and communicate how strongly you feel about things. Sometimes, if one person has a high resistance to something while the other could go either way, it’s best to respect the one with the strong feeling, as long as it’s honest. Sometimes, compromise and teamwork don’t mean meeting precisely in the middle every time.
Trust is foundational to healthy relationships. It’s handled with care, as it takes time to cultivate. When broken, trust takes time to mend. Assume the best in your partner and trust that they’re doing their best, but also feel confident that you have the space to express your needs and desires.
Fun is the secret sauce that makes any partnership more joyful and enjoyable. Find ways to have fun and laugh together regularly. Laughter is healthy and bonding, which will help you feel close and connected to your partner.
In happy and stress-free romantic partnerships, anything and everything can be discussed openly and honestly, even if it’s hard. In fact, difficult conversations are the ones that connect you even more deeply with your partner. When you listen and are listened to openly, a deep sense of belonging develops, which dissolves stress and is essential to a happy life.
With openness must come respect. You may not always hear what you want to hear, but if you share directly, honestly, and with love you set yourself up to be able to overcome anything. Respect means not talking behind each other’s back, communicating with love instead of criticism, and accepting the other fully and with grace. You can replace judgment, criticism, and negativity with respect while still sharing your feelings and what you need. If you find it difficult to give feedback or communicate with your partner in a way that doesn’t bring on tension, try Nonviolent Communication.
This may seem like an obvious one, but sometimes couples can get caught up in a cycle of unkind patterns towards each other. Always aim to treat each other with friendliness, care, and compassion. Be considerate, generous with your love, and speak with warmth in your voice.
Baggage weighs heavily on relationships. Work to actively resolve resentments, disappointments, and frustrations by expressing how you feel and taking it upon yourself to let it go. Over time, we are bound to experience the shortcomings and failings of others. Part of a strong relationship is knowing this, loving anyway, helping each other grow, and forgiving for the sake of our partner—and ourselves!
To have a happy and stress-free partnership, it’s helpful to know how to healthily manage stress individually. That way, you can show up better for your partner and as a calmer, happier you.
If you’re interested in learning stress management techniques with your partner, our 6 Steps to Freedom for Stress course is the perfect starting point. First, you’ll better understand yourselves individually by learning what makes you tick and why. Then, you’ll learn how to drop the stress so you can better connect and have the happy partnership you know you deserve.
Click here to get started.