It’s often said that a loving and caring relationship is the key to a healthy and happy life. As human beings we are social creatures and need to be in relationship with others.

There is no perfect recipe for a fulfilling relationship. ‘One size doesn’t fit all’ is true for relationships, too: the recipe for the perfect relationship differs for everybody. The ground rule, however, remains the same – that you have to nurture your relationships in order to gain mutual fulfilment from them.

Secrets of a happy relationship

A healthy relationship requires your time, energy and patience. Here are a few ideas that can make your relationship a fulfilling one:

Shared values and respect

Have a shared set of values and views about life on which to build a relationship. Explore these together; are you both on the same page?

Prioritise the relationship

If we want our relationship to work we have to prioritise it. Be it a relationship between couples, between friends or between parents and children. Spend time with each other, do things together and most importantly value each other. Taking someone for granted is bound to create conflicts.

Effective communication

Communication holds the key to minimising conflicts within relationships. Talk about and communicate your thoughts and feelings to each other. Holding a grudge or keeping secrets in the long run will eventually lead to resentment and friction. Be mindful about what and how you communicate. Words spoken in anger can – and do – hurt.


If those closest to you are going through a tough time, it’s important to listen and to show empathy. It’s not enough to say you understand, it’s about showing your understanding. Listening and empathy shows you care and go a long way to building and maintaining a successful relationship.

Compassionate understanding

Being compassionate and understanding in relationships is important, and so is offering forgiveness. There is no harm in saying sorry if you are wrong and made a mistake. A measure of our integrity and strength is not that we don’t or shouldn’t make mistakes; it’s that we can admit when we have and then do something about it. Similarly if forgiveness is offered, accept it and find a way to resolve the issue and move on. Talking or fighting about the same issues again and again will not help anyone. If this happens it’s likely the real issues have not been addressed.


Tell your partner daily what you appreciate about them. It might be something from the past that touched you. It may be some small gesture of kindness towards you. Let your partner know you noticed.

Joy and passion

By focusing on the positives in your partner rather than the negatives your relationship has more chance of success. The recommendation is five positives for every negative. Eliminate the negativity and find the joy in your lives!