Setting Relationship Rules For a Healthy Partnership

Relationship Rules
21 Jun 2023
10 min read
14 Healthy Relationship Rules for You and Your Partner

When it comes to creating effective relationship rules, there are many more factors that go into it than just the fact that “They want this, you want that”. Let’s take a look at how you can set healthy relationship rules, as well as a few examples of relationship rules that you may be able to implement in your lives.

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How to Set Healthy Relationship Rules: 3 Principles

When it comes to setting healthy relationship rules, everyone involved needs to understand that there are certain things that need to be discussed. After all, every successful relationship relies on being able to communicate openly. Here are just a few things that you can do when learning about setting relationship rules in hopes of having a healthy and happy relationship.

1. Discuss Healthy Boundaries

We all have our limits in the aspects of everyday life. By discussing your boundaries, as well as healthy ways to handle them, you and your partner will reach one of the first hurdles of establishing ground rules in your relationship.

The difference between healthy and unhealthy boundaries is in how they are handled. If your boyfriend plays video games too much, an unhealthy method of handling this is to ban all video games from every relationship you may have. It may remove the issue but it doesn’t exactly fix it – after all, video games are likely only a small portion of the problem.

A healthier way to minimize the issue is to ask him to only play for a couple of hours and to make sure he gets to bed at a reasonable time. Or, if the games are making him unable to finish his share of the chores, establish that boundary and request that he only plays when all the work is finished. With these limits, you can actually fix the issues caused by the things you have problems with you. You will not only encourage a better relationship with each other but also find ways to fill the needs that you have.

Remember, there is a thin line between a boundary and a demand. Make sure you maintain it.

2. Discuss the Wants and Needs That You Both Have

Another complication comes when one person wants to set limits, but bristles when their partner has limits of their own. Unfortunately, this leads to a situation when a boundary set by one may hurt or inconvenience another.

This is why discussion is so important. If you want a fulfilling relationship, the rules need to establish the wants and needs that you and your partner both have. Of course, these needs don’t just fall into the category of physical intimacy or romance. The idea is to respect the wants and needs of both people.

Establishing the needs of not only your partner but your own as well is one of the basic rules to developing a strong relationship.

3. Make a Plan For Everything

When making rules, sometimes you have to think of what may happen within reason of course. In fact, some couples even have rules and plans for breakup in order to keep it as amicable as possible.

Just like with boundaries, plan and make rules for what should happen if things like cheating, a job or career change or a loss of employment happen.

Related reading: How to Reconnect After a Relationship Break: 16 Tips to Function as a Couple Again

Healthy relationship rules to be happy

16 Relationship Rules for You and Your Partner

Relationships fall into many different categories, ranging from a romantic type to a platonic relationship. Let’s take a look at how some of these rules can help make your long term relationship with your romantic partner even better.

1. Divide Bills Based on Income

Financial imbalance is one of the things that can make any long lasting relationship turn sour easily. We’ve all heard the advice that you should split everything 50/50, but this really only works when each individual in the relationship makes the same amount of money.

When the bills are $2500/month, it may seem fair in context to have each person pay $1,250 each. But when one person makes $4000/month, while the other makes only $2000/month, the amount of money left over for the person making less seems unfair.

However, if each person deposits half of their monthly pay in a joint account not only are the bills paid, but there is more money in the account for other expenses, as well as more money in the pocket of the person making less. This leads to financial independence for both parties and less resentment and stress over finances.

2. Divide House Work Evenly

Just like finances, housework can also create feelings of resentment between people. After all, it seems unfair that when you want to spend quality time together, one person is picking up the house, while the other is trying to put their feet up.

Divide the housework as evenly as possible – and if you finish your work before your partner, take the time to help them with their portion of the work. Even if you get done sooner because you worked faster than they did, it may look like you just had less work to do than they did.

By taking the time to help them, you prove that you are both in a fruitful alliance with each other and that you are willing to ensure that you both get to spend as much quality time together as possible.

Related reading: Rules of Open Relationships

3. Keep Your Communication Channel Always Open

One of the best relationship rules to have is to always be open with communicating with your partner. Even if you fight, making sure that you can always come to each other when things are tough is a great way to keep your partner happy.

4. Have a Healthy Argument

It’s commonly said that couples who love each other tend to fight a lot, but this is entirely untrue. A couple who loves each other shouldn’t be afraid to disagree and argue on occasion.

Remember that just because you are a couple, this doesn’t mean that you have to agree on everything. In fact, some relationship counselors tend to be more concerned about couples who don’t argue as it is usually a sign that they are not communicating at all.

If you want to keep a strong relationship, don’t be afraid to argue with each other. It happens in most relationships, and you should be able to feel safe enough in your relationship to have an argument.

5. Respect Each Other

If you ask a family therapist what a good relationship needs, they will almost always list respect as part of what they believe that it needs.

This is because one of the most fundamental relationship rules is to ensure that each person in a relationship is happy and feels safe. By choosing to show respect for your partner, you make a point and encourage a healthy bond.

6. Do Things That Help You Bond

When it comes to relationship rules, always set aside time to do things that help you bond with each other. With the commonly busy schedules, these days it can be hard for relationships to prosper.

Go on a date night, take a class together, or communicate and find out more about your partners life, friends, and family.

7. Celebrate the Special Days

One of the best relationship rules we have seen is to always celebrate the days that are special to you and your partner. Even if these days aren’t exactly important to anyone but you and your partners, we find that it is one of the right rules to always have put in place.

Celebrate the most fun day you had with each other by making it a tradition. Celebrate the first time you had sex by showing each other sexual intimacy. Just because these days aren’t very significant to others, this doesn’t mean that it should be significant to you.

Relationship rules you should set for yourself

Relationship Rules for You

When it comes to creating relationship rules, it’s important to acknowledge what you can control about yourself and not just what you and your partner can both contribute to the relationship.

Here are a few relationship rules for you to follow that your partner may also be following without you even realizing it.

8. Never Question the Intent of Your Significant Other or the Nature of the Relationship Itself

This is actually the first rule that many people set for their relationships. It can be very easy to fall into a self-destructive pattern of thoughts.

After all, you see one thing that doesn’t seem to line up perfectly with everything else and you may end up questioning the relationship you have with your partner as well as the life you built together.

You may even convince yourself that your partner doesn’t actually love you and that this true love is just one of your partners devious ploys. Unless you have clear evidence and you are certain you are not misunderstanding things, you should not question the relationship that you are in.

9. Be Honest and Truthful to Build Trust

A great way to develop trust is to be someone who is trustworthy. Relationships rely heavily on both you and your partner being honest with each other. Therefore taking the time to create a sense of honesty and trustworthiness will lead to a healthier relationship.

10. Don’t Ruminate Over the Past Issues

To forgive and forget is always easier said than done. In fact, in most cases, it is downright impossible to do just that. Instead, you can use communication to actually talk with your partner about what is wrong, as well as ways to get the issue under control and even accept it at some level.

11. Show Interest in Your Partner’s Hobbies Activities

By taking the time to support your partner through their hobbies you get to spend time with them. Also, you show them a different type of romantic intimacy and create a supporting environment for them.

12. Appreciate the Good Things in Your Partner

Always take some time to show how much you appreciate your partner. All their perfections, all the good times and tough times. By placing an honest focus on how much happiness they give you you remind yourself of how good they are to you.

Related reading: A Guide on How to Be a Better Boyfriend
How to Be a Good Girlfriend: Master the Skill

13. Never Shy Away from Positive Criticism

When it comes to relationship rules, this tends to be the one that many people tend to struggle with. After all, when we are criticized we tend to get defensive and refuse to listen.

However, when you are in a relationship, you need to carefully listen to and consider to concerns and criticism of those around you. Let your partner talk with you and listen to them in order to make them away that you believe that their fear or their hurt feelings matter.

Listening is not an admission of doing something wrong. It is merely giving your partner a sense of security.

14. Accept the Imperfections

One of the best relationship rules is to accept the imperfections of your partner. Remember that in relationships the two people who get together are going to be different and there is no such thing in life as someone who is perfect.

Take them as they are. Do not fear, but instead support them as they grow and change.

15. Don’t Be Afraid of Me Time

Spending time and giving each other support is great, but it’s important to not forget that you are both still your own person with your own friends, family, and individual interests that matter to you.

When it comes to setting relationship rules, it needs to be said that it is ok for you and your partner to have their own life outside of the relationship. Make sure you’re both able to focus on just yourselves or on other relationships you may have.

16. Create a Safe Space

When it comes to setting healthy relationship rules for you and your partner, a safe space can help in many ways. Remember a safe space can be a place that’s just for sex, where the rules don’t exist, and anywhere in between. As long you have a safe space your relationship will be able to prosper.

Summing Up: 2 Things You Should Not Do in a Relationship

When it comes to relationships, there are a few things you should be careful to not do. Don’t do them when in a relationship.

1. Sugarcoat Your Complaint with a Compliment

Remember that honesty is very important in all relationships. When you have a complaint or concern, you should never minimize it at all. If you have an issue with something in the relationship, don’t be afraid to say so.

2. Compare Your Relationship to That of Others

Every relationship is different, and you will not always see the issues below the surface when it comes to another person’s relationship. You don’t see the sex, the fighting, or anything else that happens even if the relationship seems perfect on a surface level.

When it comes to a relationship and setting rules for it, there are many factors you need to consider. By taking into account these factors and figuring out a list of rules that you and your partner can follow, you develop a stronger and healthier relationship.

Relationships Author
Geoffrey Williams
After taking a required Intro to Psychology course as an undergrad, I have never looked back. Since my doctoral program, I have specialized in adult relationship therapy. Through my studies and clinicals, I wrote several articles for professional journals and currently in the midst of writing a book.
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