​3 Relationship Skills That Will Level Up Your Love Life

Photo Credit: Dahcia Lyons-Bastien

At the start of any relationship, things tend to be thrilling and easy. You hang out and get to know nearly everything about each other. As relationships continue to grow, they require more energy and effort to thrive. If you want your relationship to be strong, taking precautions to care for it is important. The same goes for platonic relationships. If you’re not in a romantic relationship these skills can still help improve your bonds with family and friends.

1. Relationship Maintenance Strategies

In 1991, a study identified five relationship maintenance strategies: assurances, positivity, openness, sharing tasks, and sharing social networks.

Assurance – Being comfortable enough to ask questions and communicate how you feel is a big part of assurance. Having regular conversations about how much you love each other and stopping any doubts is a good habit to get into. This may be a bit more important at the beginning of a relationship. As you come to know each other better you'll find it won't be needed nearly as much, but it is still nice to hear.

Positivity – You'll face many hardships together, but being able to enjoy life and stay positive will help during the tough times.

Openness – Knowing you can freely share your thoughts and feelings is important. Make sure you both create an environment in which each other feels safe to share without judgment.

Sharing tasks – Placing equal responsibility on household chores and to-do lists brings balance to a relationship. You can both cook, clean, take out the trash, and perform other duties.

Sharing a social network – While it's healthy to honor your individuality and have your own friend groups, it's just as healthy to have friend groups that you share. This can be particularly helpful when you need to reach out for advice, ideas, or extra support.

2. Romantic Competence

In 2015, Dr. Joanna Davila gave an excellent TED talk on developing skills for healthy romantic relationships. She explained three important skills that should be learned in order to create romantic competence: insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.

Insight involves awareness, understanding, and learning. Believe it or not, this all starts with you. Knowing yourself is key to a healthy relationship. If you find yourself taking your stress or anxiety out on your partner, it’s time for some self-realization. Learning from your past mistakes will provide you with the insight to help prevent repeating them in the future. Insight can also aid in determining what's right for you in regards to your relationships.