SIGNS YOU ARE IN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
Of course, you want to be in a healthy relationship. Who would knowingly want to be in an un-healthy relationship?! But how do you know if a relationship is healthy? How do you determine the state of your union? Here are some signs that your relationship is healthy and happy:
- You trust each other. You are at ease with each other and not anxious about what your partner is doing or who they are with when you are apart. There is not suspicion about where and how they are spending money. You know they will honor you in their actions and conversations even when you are not around.
- Your relationship is a safe zone. This is closely related to number 1. You can be yourself with your partner and not have to pretend that you are someone that you are not. You can speak your mind. You both can speak the truth to each other, even when it is not pleasant to hear. Your deepest and most sacred thoughts and feelings can be shared, knowing that you will not be judged and that they will be held in confidence. The relationship is not just about them and what they want and need. There is reciprocity so that both of you are seen and heard and cared for.
- You love and accept yourself and each other. If you don’t like yourself and/or your partner when you are with them, that is a warning sign! If you either or both of you feel that you have to change in order to be loved, then you are not in a healthy relationship. Loving and accepting yourself empowers you to love and accept your mate just as they are now as well.
- Empathy is mutual. You can put yourself in your partner’s shoes. You can celebrate their victories and share in their disappointments. There is genuine caring and compassion between the two of you.
- You are both affectionate and aware. Verbal and physical affection are expressed daily, not just on Valentine’s Day or birthdays. There is an awareness of the other’s needs and genuine interest in the other person.
- Your partner is your “go-to” person. When you are struggling with a decision, when you have good news to share, when you have dreams and goals you want to achieve, when you are hurting or disappointed – your partner is the first person that you go to. Parents, family and friends are important, but your partner takes priority over all of them if your relationship is to be healthy.
- There is mutual respect. You view one another as equals. Although you are different, you each have value. Both of your thoughts, feelings and needs should be considered. You listen to each other without interruption and validate (value) each other, even when you disagree. There is no room for name-calling or personal attacks.
- Kindness, patience and gratitude are evident. Of all the people in the world to show kindness to, your mate should be at the top of the list. Kindness is love in action. And one of the greatest kindnesses that you can express is patience. The more that you understand your mate, the easier it is to be patient with them. Make the effort to understand them. Impatience is a sign of selfishness and self-centeredness. Expressing gratitude for your mate and your relationship is the best way to maintain a positive attitude and enjoy the good things that they bring to your life.
- Openness and honesty are crucial. Being closed down and/or dishonest about actions or feelings will only breed mistrust and bring division between you and your partner.
- You have personal space and boundaries. The healthiest couples are those in which each person as a strong sense of who they are and maintain their personal space with appropriate boundaries. If you feel that you have “lost” yourself and find yourself feeling angry and taken advantage of by your mate, then this is an area in which you will want to get help.
- Forgiveness is offered and extended. You and your partner both accept responsibility for hurtful things that you have said or done. You apologize quickly if you are the offender. If you are the offended partner, you forgive quickly as well. However, this does not mean that trust is automatically restored or that the behavior will be acceptable in the future. Consequences should be clear if the offensive behavior continues.
- There is clear communication. Though the last on this list, communication is the #1 mark of a healthy relationship. Couples who can communicate well can work through every relationship issue that arises. If you are struggling in your relationship this is the place to begin. A few sessions with a counselor or relationship coach can help you and your partner to hear, understand and validate each other so that you can then attack the problems or issues and not each other!