May, mental health awareness month, reminds us to check up on our mental health and reflect on how our relationships are faring. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but it’s important to check in on the well-being of your relationship with your partner so you can address any issues that may be lurking under the surface. Below are 5 key areas to consider and address to check in on your relationship, and make sure that it has a solid foundation.
1. Mutual support
One way of helping to support each other’s mental health is by offering emotional support and encouragement. In a mentally healthy relationship, each of you is invested in helping each other through difficult times and reaching your goals. Whether they are personal or professional goals, are you able to share these with your partner? In healthy relationships, partners encourage and support each other’s growth.
2. Establishing healthy boundaries
Sometimes it may feel selfish to set boundaries. However, it can be very helpful for your relationship. Setting boundaries can actually be one of the most helpful things you can do in your relationship, especially if mental disorders are present. Being clear with your expectations and needs, and then communicating them clearly is essential for both self-care and the well-being of your relationship.
3. Ongoing relationship check-ins
Create a plan, such as weekly meetings, for regular check-ins for your relational mental health. Making it a regular routine: a “check-in” ritual can help you foster an environment of support and openness.
4. Create fun and positive ways to connect
Being creative together can help to increase positive emotions and decrease anxiety and depression. Implementing something new and imaginative can make your date night something to look forward to. Creating novel experiences can also help bring a sense of excitement and bring a spark back into the relationship.
5. Build “Love Maps”
Dr John Gottman explains that love maps are the “essential guide to your partner’s inner world”. What are their interests? What do they like or dislike? Who are their friends? Do you know what helps your partner feel loved? Ideally, you and your partner know each other better than anyone else.