“I’m lucky in having found the perfect partner to spend my life with”
– Sara Peretsky
A healthy, strong relationship is something everyone seeks. Although, some people appear to be content in a shallow or poor relationship, the truth is that relationships are enormously important for health and there are tons of studies on the biological processes that account for the link between relationships and health. The quality of our personal relationships also has a large impact on our physical health.
There are a few types of intimate relationships that shape our personal life. These being close friends, romantic partners and family. However, the success of any form of relationship depends on what we as individuals are prepared to invest in them. In other words we cannot expect to have a successful relationship if we are not willing to put some effort into the formation.
Unfortunately, meaningful relationships are becoming more and more rare. We are looking at relationships in the wrong perspectives. We think connections are accomplishments. Were not seeking what they truly are by only valuing what they appear to be. Therefore, we must learn to dive deeper into the meaning behind relationships in order to feel more of a connection. Furthermore, we need to learn to create meaning in each connection we establish because meaning is not something that is found. We decide what everything means. Meaning is not an external thing; it comes from our awareness and choice. Also we must become less self obsessed as a society in general and instead become more aware of who we are because in all honesty most of us have no clue who we are. It’s sad to say, the rising generations are becoming disconnected in a highly connected world. What I find funny is that the immense connection we have to the world has led to a very deep disconnection to what is around us. We forget to look at whats around us, it could be nature other people, animals… whatever. The bulk of our communication nowadays is through a phone or any form of screen. There are times when we are in a real conversation and we have this strong urge to check our phones. This ultimately, leads to distraction from the conversation in front of us. In my opinion this needs to change and I have faith it will as more people become aware of this rising issue of disconnection.
Anyways, the important question is how can we create a strong and healthy relationship? What is a healthy relationship? Well there are differing ways to define a relationship but there are some key points that form a healthy relationship.
This is the most important ingredient for creating a healthy relationship. When you do not take responsibility for your own feelings, you tend to give the responsibility of your happiness, emotional safety and self-worth to your partner. This emotional dependency on your partner can cause many unhealthy side affects including:
- Jealousy when your partner spends time with other people.
- Feeling’s of emptiness, loneliness or boredom when your partner is not around
- Partners validation means more than your own
The only one responsible for all your emotional states, the good and the bad is you. I know it’s easy to think your emotional state is governed by what occurs externally and think, “Well so and so did… and now I feel so blah blah blah….”. However, your thoughts hold the power of your emotional state. The reason external circumstances seem to dictate our emotional state is because they influence them. The influence is bold for a reason, influence does not shape it only offers and alternate choice. If you want to feel good in a negative environment all you need to do is find positive aspects of the moment or think of something that brings happiness. This can be hard at times and you won’t always be able to stay cheerful in a bad circumstance. Although, the more you practice controlling your emotional state, the less you will be influenced by external circumstances. When you realize that your feelings are your responsibility, you can take the step out of emotional dependency. This will make a huge difference within you and all of your relationships. Thus allowing your relationship to thrive.
Relationship advice is everywhere in books, blog posts, and magazines to name a few. Often you hear communication is key and the bulk of the information you will get is on communication. Respect however is normally not given very much attention even though respect is paramount in successful happy relationships.
What does it mean to respect your partner? Well it means a combination of appreciation, admiration and recognition. Respect, like emotional responsibility begins with the self. Before we can truly respect others we must respect ourselves. If you love yourself it is even better. Now, some may say or believe that to love yourself is a form of selfishness but I think this is completely false. When we love and respect ourselves we treat others with respect and we receive the same respect in return.
If you find yourself in a relationship where kindness, acceptance, compassion and empathy is prevalent give yourself and your partner a pat on the back. This is a sign your relationship has mutual respect and happiness is abundant which is a beautiful thing. I will personally say, Great work on your relationship!
Research has proven that people who feel connected to others live longer, healthier lives. Creating and maintaining healthy relationships is essential to our well-being yet not always easy. Sometimes, we must place boundaries with people. This can often times be a difficult task.
What is a healthy boundary? How do we set boundaries? And lastly, how do we communicate them?
A boundary is simply an agreement you make with your self and your partner regarding your well-being. A relationship cannot be healthy without both partners communicating their boundaries clearly and of course with respect. These boundaries don’t come naturally or easily.
Here are some healthy boundaries you could discuss:
- What you share with each other
- How often you’ll communicate
- What you will and won’t do for each other
- How you’ll have sex
- How you will commit to each other
- What you can call each other
“To set boundaries in relationships it is vital to recognize your feeling’s. We have to differentiate ourselves from the other person.”
Steps to setting boundaries:
- Recognize and acknowledge your own feeling’s
- Pinpoint boundaries being crossed
- Recognize how to inform your boundary
- Take some time
Now, how do we take the final step and voice our boundaries? Well to start, do it clearly, calmly, firmly and respectfully. Do not cause a whole bunch of unneeded drama. If your partner becomes frustrated know it is their problem. What may help in the conversation is asking your partner about boundaries they many want to create.
Every couple will come to a point where conflict occurs. The important thing is how you and your partner decide to handle the conflict.
Successful couples have the ability to learn from their conflicts as as let go and forgive each other.
Conflicts arise from different needs. Everyone needs to feel understood, nurtured and supported. These needs are met in differing ways.
Therefore, to resolve any conflict you must listen for what is felt as well as what is said. When you truly listen, there is a deeper connection to your own needs as well as your partners. Furthermore, make conflict resolution your main motive as opposed to winning. Also don’t allow the past to interfere and instead focus on the present. Conflicts can use up a lot of emotional energy and time so it is wise to consider the worth of your current battle. Lastly, you must be willing to forgive. Without forgiveness there is no resolution. As you learn to resolve more conflicts in a healthy manner your relationship will grow deeper and stronger as you and your partner learn more about each other.
“A lean compromise is better than a fat lawsuit.” – George Herbert
If you want mutual understanding and a solution to whatever issue may be arising in your relationship than compromising is a must. It allows you and your partner to balance each others needs. Furthermore, it forms the building blocks which make up the foundations of a relationship.
No one person in a relationship should hold more power over decisions. Both partners should have equal say and there should be equal respect present.
It is perfectly fine if one person has more say on a specific matter. Such as, one person has more control over finances while the other has more of a say in parenting. However, in general everything together should be around 50 – 50
What else do you think makes a successful relationship?