Updated: Aug 5, 2019
At some point, most of us have imagined or envisioned the type of relationship we would like to have, whether that was growing up watching your parents and other people around you in relationships, as a teenager watching television of dating scenes or even as an adult in search for a partner or companionship. Flowers, date nights and extravagant trips are all so wonderful but that does not define the health of your relationship. Just because one partner is the breadwinner and you are a stay at home mom or dad also is not indicative of the healthiness of a relationship.
In knowing that we all have varying perspectives of what love is, the question is who or how do we define what a healthy relationship is? First, can we all agree that to have a healthy relationship there has to be communication? Communication is when both parties feel open and supported to discussion despite differences of opinions. For communication to he be effective, each person must be willing to respectfully listen. This does not mean that you will always agree, because how boring can that become? The couple may have different opinions, views, and even beliefs but just having the awareness to acknowledge the differences without criticism, talking down to each other, yelling and shouting to get your view heard.
In certain situations there is a degree of compromising that may need to happen to feel supported. Again, this is in no way saying to compromise your integrity, belief system or anything like that. This type of compromise is communicating I hear you, I may not agree with you but you are heard. Truly, that is what most people want anyway is to feel heard and especially by their significant other.
Brace yourself as this is a HUGE one! Trying to change someone so they may fit into your mold. So many times I have heard and experienced someone saying "I thought I could change them, I can make them better". Well, that is just not fair!!! That is not fair to them or you. Do you know the amount of energy and time it takes to try and change someone? Yes, someone may change but it may not be them it could be you, and it may not always be for the better.
This does not mean that your partner or can not learn or experience growth from you and vise Versa. Absolutely, in a relationship, it is essential to growing as individuals and as a couple. However, that is different from going into a relationship with the intent to strip the person of who they are to make them into what you want them to be or what you think is best. This is a form of control appearing to be helpful and out of love. Well, this is not being respectful of your partner's individuality.
Your partner had a life before your relationship and some of those people, places, and things they once enjoyed still matter. If you find yourself feeling isolated from the people, places, and things that were apart of you before you met this person and they have somehow slowly diminished and no longer exist, you may want to reflect and have a healthy conversation with your partner.
Another HUGE one is smothering... we all deserve our personal space. That feels so unnatural to have someone literally around every time you breathe. This all ties back into trust in the relationship which loops into honesty. All of those core parts are fundamental in establishing a healthy relationship. Being honest does not mean that you have to tell them everything. Just simply applying the golden rule- of treating others how you would like to be treated. This same rule applies in a relationship. If you are engaging or doing something that you would not feel good about your partner doing then you are not being honest and fair to your partner.
EQUALITY!!! I can not emphasize this one enough... EQUALITY!!! We live in a society that has perpetuated male dominance. This is not fair and quite frankly it is outdated and draining!!! To establish and maintain a healhty relationship, each partner must feel they matter. It is not okay just because you are born male to stay out playing barbies until 3 a.m. or play hide and go seek or whatever you may do at that time in the morning. These are double standards and they are just unfair to your partner. Also, taking turns with the chores in the house and the children she may have had a long day too. It does not matter that her job may not be physical and yours may be. Her job may require mental work and if your brain is tired then your body responds to being tired also.
This discussion could be endless but I will stop here with some food for thought; and always remember you matter, your partner matter and if your relationship truly matters then having a healthy one matters.
- All my very best,