Healthy Values, Healthy Relationship
Updated: Aug 6, 2019
Relationships take a lot of work and commitment to be successful from both parties involved. In a healthy relationship both parties feel heard, understood, appreciated, and connected. There is a line of open communication, the other persons boundaries are understood and respected. Both partners have a mutual understanding that they are responsible for their own happiness, and that their partner’s job is not to create that happiness for them. I often say that I want a partner who enhances my happiness, I am happy as I am. Happy with who I am overall, but to have a partner with the same values and beliefs in a relationship who is also happy on their own, can create an even healthier, happier relationship and partnership.
Within a healthy relationship you accept the other person fully, for who they are, the good, the bad, and the in-between- their weirdness matches your weirdness and you love their quirks whole heartedly. You should not be trying to change or "fix" the other person. If you feel a need to do so, you may need to step back and do some self-reflection. Nobody wants to be fixed or changed, especially is its unsolicited. Feelings, values, thoughts, and beliefs should be shared openly, and respected. You don't need to agree on everything, but in valuing the other person’s feelings and making them feel heard and understood helps with healthy communication. Both partners are loyal to one another, have a mutual trust and respect for one another, and are willing to work through conflicts together,
1. Clear, Concise, Open Communication
Being able to communicate is important in a relationship starting from the beginning. How else will the other person know what you are hoping for in a relationship, in life, what your boundaries look like, and what truly makes you tick. You should be able to talk to your partner openly and honestly, and not just about the good stuff, but the good, the bad, and everything in-between. Being able to feel heard, understood, and as though the other person is truly engaged and cares about what you are saying, validating your thoughts and feelings without judgment, even if their opinion or view may not be the same. Communication to resolve conflict, vocalize wants, needs, feelings and expectations. Communication is the key to success in all aspects of life.
Being able to feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually safe, secure, and at ease with your partner is important. If you don't feel safe with your partner, you are likely not in the right relationship, and potentially in a harmful and toxic one.
Being able to trust that your partner will be faithful to you, will communicate if something isn't working or is bothering them, and that they won’t do anything to jeopardize your relationship. If you don't trust the person you are with, it's likely not a healthy relationship and may need work. Trust grows as the relationship grows, and in newer relationships this can be something that needs to be worked on, especially if one or both parties have experienced any trauma or issues around trust in previous relationships.
Some couples work best doing everything together, and that's great, however generally this is the exception to the rule. YES! having commonalities and things you do together is also key, however having your own interests, hobbies, and things you enjoy on your own or with your girl/guy friends is also important. Never give up yourself or your identity for anyone else. If you love to hunt, and your partner doesn't, GREAT! Take that thing you love, take that me time, and enjoy it! Maybe you love working out with the sunrise and your partner loves to sleep in. Take that time, use it, enjoy it, and after, maybe you can have your morning coffee together before you both start the day. Doing things together, having things that you love to do together is fantastic, but it's more than okay to have your things that you enjoy that your significant other doesn't participate in. (Side note: They should be supportive of you even if it's not something they choose to participate in.)
Being honest, truthful, and transparent in your communication is key to enabling both parties involved to feel comfortable and to keep each other on the same page. It's important to be able to talk to your partner in a healthy open way, where you can be open and honest without the fear of how they may respond, without fear of judgement. We may not always like what we hear, but within any healthy relationship, if we are told something disappointing, uncomfortable, or hurtful, we are able to respond in a mindful, courteous, and considerate manner. One key example that comes to mind is that healthy communication about what you both need, want, and expect from the relationship, without feeling as though you need to hide your feelings or a part of yourself. A relationship built on lies, stories, and false hopes will ultimately fail. Being honest is tired to good communication, which is critical to maintaining any relationship.
When we feel as though someone is loyal to us, there is an expectation that they have our back. They will support us and stand up for us, this is true with a relationship with peers, coworkers, as well as in intimate relationships. If you say something to someone in confidence, it's expected that your privacy will be protected by the other party. If you can't be loyal to someone, it's likely that you aren't meant to be in a relationship, or perhaps not ready.
Respect is imperative in any relationship. You will know its present in your relationship if the other person values your thoughts, opinions, values, and beliefs. Your partner may support your aspirations, dreams, and goals, compliment you on your hard work, they will give you space if you need it, stick up for you, and avoid pushing or overstepping any boundaries that may be set in the relationship. Something I have learned in my thirty-something years is not to allow anyone else to dismiss, undermine, or take away any part of who you are. There is no relationship worth losing your self-respect over. In a relationship both parties need to be respectful of the other person, their values, opinions, beliefs, and accept them for their best parts and flaws as well.
To show support in a relationship is truly important. Supporting the other person’s dreams, goals, aspirations and accomplishments. Being understanding and empathetic to their feelings. Encourage growth, overall in mind, body, and spirit, human growth is imperative and being a support to your partner will help keep the relationship strong. Offer help, this will look different depending on what the end goal is. If your partner wants to run a marathon, support them getting up to run before work, you don't have to run with them, but helping hold them accountable and being their biggest cheerleader will go a long way. Knowing someone is on your side and has your back helps give you the motivation needed to keep going and achieve whatever it is you are pursuing.
Just as you should have things you enjoy on your own, this relationship is a partnership, so there should be things you both value and do together. If you are thinking about having a family, how does that look? What is expected of each person in that dynamic? how does compromise fit in here? If you cook dinner, are you then expected to do the dishes? Being in a relationship is similar to being on a team, there is no I in team! There should be an equal partnership, whatever that might look like for you in your relationship. Within a relationship you are an equal, and if you aren't being treated as such, thats an issue. A relationship is two individuals coming together as a team to play on the same side, and maintain an equal playing field, so to speak. Agreement to where you want to live, where you want to travel, parenting styles, and the ability to keep that open communication and be willing to compromise fall under a healthy, supportive, and well balanced relationship.
Any relationship is about give and take, and your intimate relationship is no different. If you are always giving and never receiving then you will burn out and become resentful. If you are always taking and never giving, then there is a definite glitch in the system that needs to be fixed. This is something we are taught early on in life, as we begin to make friends at a young age. Who gets to be the dog piece in monopoly, who gets to sit in the front seat of the car, who gets the last scoop of ice cream, and so on. We learn to give and take, and it makes the ebb and flow of things work much better when compromise is involved.
One key factor is having similar interests. You don't have to have everything in common, you don't have to love all the same hobbies, music, foods, or films, however there should be commonalities that you share and can enjoy together. Finding common ground can help develop a relationship faster, give you both something to look forward to doing and enjoying with your partner, along with the fact that finding some common ground and interests can help develop a bond faster.