People are complex individuals with their histories, hopes, and habits. When two individuals come together in any relationship, married or not, they are combining two unique lives to form something complex yet beautiful. The assumptions and beliefs of both of those individuals also come together to influence the relationship. It’s important to honor that with our histories, habits, and assumptions as to what a relationship looks like, might be different, and they often are.
Here are a few markers of a healthy relationship.
- They seek to create opportunities to spend time together, socialize, and otherwise ‘play’ together.
- Healthy couples join together but also still hold to many elements of their individuality and uniqueness. When one brings in new ideas and activities it can help the other grow and experience newness in experience. If you find that you revolutionalize your activities, friends, or are doing things that you don’t enjoy you’ve likely begun to loose too much of the core you. It is important to stretch and be open to your partner’s interests but also to retain your you-ness and keep a sense of what it is you like, what you do, what you value, what you enjoy.
- The relationships that are most healthy are built by those that use supportive communication skills. It is extremely important to be a listener. For many, listening is simply what you ‘do’, and I believe it is not only that but something you are. Your attending and supporting your partner in demeanor and word will be clear as to your ‘being’ in a emotional position of listening.
- Couples that are healthy reach out most of the time (not all the time) with respect and kindness for the other. Respect is radiated through word and deed in many settings, not merely when it is convenient or when in the presence of others.
- Partners in a healthy relationship also work through difficulties and conflicts. Disagreements and arguments are a part of any healthy relationship. In fact, if you are not having these from time to time the relationship is likely unhealthy with one subjugating their will to the other. The primary path to building and supporting the relationship is not to hide or avoid issues, but to work through it in a mutually supportive way for each other.
- Individuals in relationships that are stable and healthy will be able to share their feelings, needs, hopes, fears, and thoughts without fear of criticism or conflict.
- Partners that honor the importance of creating space and time for their partner by balancing giving and receiving will have stronger more stable relationships. These individuals also work to help their partner meet their own needs. Some years ago I overheard a neighbor talking about her husbands upset. She spoke about the girls-night-out with her friends that was happening that weekend. She then related her husband’s upset that she was taking a night out by responding to her that he wants time away and it’s not fair. He spent time away and had his adult-time during work and at other times. She was home with her kids daily and was in need of time away, time to relax with friends. He was not only talking about his own needs, but was unable to see her’s and thus brought up the fairness issue and a conflict. If you have needs, express them to your partner. If you partner asserts themselves listen to them, hear what they are truly saying they need.
Copyright: No part of this article in section or full may be reproduced without permission from the author Justin Stum, MS LMFT. The one and only exception is for educational purposes and only if the contact information below for the author is fully cited here in article. Justin Stum, MS LMFT, 640 E. 700 S. Suite 103, St. George Utah 84770, 435-574-9193 https://www.justinstum.com