Everyone strives for a healthy relationship, but what does that really look and feel like? If you grew up in a home where unhealthy relationships were modeled, this may be a difficult question to answer. Relationships are different, and unfortunately, there is no magic formula. There are, however, some key components that most healthy relationships have in common.
Foundations for a healthy relationship
Pursue one another: Let’s face it, life gets busy and can be tiring at times. It is important, however, to acknowledge one another and carve out quality time together. Go on a weekly date or make each other dinner. Making time to have intimate conversations and physical intimacy can show your pursuit of one another, keeping your relationship exciting and feeling like new.
Allow for individuality: Although you maybe in a relationship, it’s important to maintain your true, authentic individuality. Healthy boundaries are good, and so is healthy communication regarding your concerns or differences. People in healthy relationships feel safe to be themselves and feel they are able to make their own choices, while still respecting their partner for their individuality.
Work as a team: Even the healthiest relationships have issues. The difference between a healthy versus an unhealthy relationship is how a couple addresses these issues. Healthy couples understand they should listen to one another when expressing feelings and concerns. They may also try to show empathy without taking things too personally. Most importantly, they keep trying to work things out as a team. Communication can be tough, so if you are struggling as a couple, seeking professional assistance may be a good option to pursue.
Trust one another: Fully trusting another person is difficult. Most people trust their partner until trust is breached. Remember, you have a role in this as well. Little things you do (or don’t do) can contribute to whether or not trust is maintained. Be vulnerable, be transparent, apologize for faults, and remember to communicate with one another. These are important components to a trusting and healthy relationship.
Generosity & gratitude: When you love the person you are with, you give. You may give your time, resources, positive words, and affections to express your appreciation. Healthy couples also receive with gratitude, giving reciprocity to the relationship. Expectations of what generosity looks like may be very different than your partner’s. If your partner invests time into doing something special for you, even if it is different from what you expect, receive their expression of love with gratitude.
In summary, healthy relationships come in all shapes and sizes. After reading this, reflect on your relationship and begin implementing these key components to improve your relationship. Both you and your partner should commit to working together to take the steps towards improvement. However, if you feel you are in an unhealthy relationship, it’s okay to seek professional advice. Marriage/couples psychologists and family counselors can help work on these key components to put you on the path to a healthier relationship.