The dynamics of a healthy relationship work best when each partner maintains an open intent about loving themselves and each other. Though not all days are sunshine and rainbows, each union feels natural, teasing, having mutual contentment but never having to feel overextended by any one party to please the other. In the extended theory for Maslow's hierarchy of needs, he included his observations of humans' innate curiosity beyond their basic needs. He termed them “physiological”, “safety”, “love and belonging”, "esteem”, and “self-actualisation”. These are the stages human beings are generally motivated to move through.
Saddle up, pardner!
Don't underestimate the need for physiological satisfaction. A supportive hand on the shoulder, a hug or a daily morning kiss does wonders for your health… not to mention the many delicious explorations between a man and woman. Physical touch actually lessens our stress and pain. Endorphins, our natural pain-killing hormones, are released when we achieve contentment through physical affection. Simply put, the success of any relationship can be vouched for by the frequency of touch.
Supporting your partner’s goals and dreams
Safety in a relationship isn't just about physical security. It is about feeling absolutely secure that your partner supports your decisions that go towards achieving your personal goals and dreams. Even if it means they aren't gaining from your success. It is about not fearing the unknown future because you know full well that any plans for the future involve each other.
Other relationships are encouraged
Each independent individual co-exists with their own network of friends, family, colleagues, and that forms the identity of the person they are today. Any “we” partnership is best maintained with those existing support systems. I remember a horrifying account from a friend who seemed to have a loving partner on the surface, but in reality he distanced her from her friends and kept her available to accommodate his social schedule. This screwed the relationship six ways from Sunday. She was important too, dammit, and I had to drill good sense into her before she stepped up for herself. She finally gleaned that love and belonging had to be earned for keeps, and were never just there for the taking.
The coffee table to your sofa.
What’s one without the other? We yearn for an equal partnership where one doesn't exert power or aggression over the other in order to feel good. That’s an inferiority complex and it should be banished to the dark ages. Never undermine the other’s esteem. I believe a person’s self esteem is the result of one’s life experiences and it can be rather fragile. Always bolster your partner’s esteem. Put them on a pedestal, be the town crier of everything that’s good about them. For good begets good, and your partner will love you for it.
Self-actualisation is the final plateau inside your mind. In knowing who you are, your strengths and potential talents, are you really able to separate every issue from the person or situation and overcome it easily. Never make a rash decision impulsively or in anger, and if you should need an external support system to tune out the background noises for you, we’re just a call away.