Love is a truly incredible thing, and it sure makes the world go round. A relationship that’s filled with joy, love, and happiness is something nearly everyone desires. Unfortunately for many people, this is not the reality on the ground. We sometimes get into or stay in relationships that are not healthy. This might be because we are blinded by emotions – so much that the logical part of our brain has no room to be heard. But all the same, unhealthy relationships aren’t good for you today, tomorrow, or any other day for that matter. This article highlights the key ingredients of a healthy loving relationship. It can be seen as a compass against which you can gauge the ‘healthiness’ of your relationship.
1. No attempt to control or ‘fix’ each other
If one of the parties in a loving relationship is a chronic procrastinator while the other works as hard as a bee, the hardworking person doesn’t try to push the other in a healthy loving relationship. Each person understands that there are differences that need to be respected. For that reason, no person tries to force the significant other to change this or that. The reality is that nobody really wants to be fixed, changed or controlled (more so when that’s unsolicited). If an individual truly has decided to change, they’ll ask for help on their own terms. Change never happens through force or nagging.
Healthy loving relationships are balanced. This means that for decisions made as a couple, no one has more decision-making power than the other. Both partners have equally say and equal control over what decisions they make. They respect each other as unique human beings.
3. Sense of individual responsibility
In any healthy loving relationship, both partners know that they are responsible for their own individual happiness. They aren’t fooled by the assumption that their significant other should be the source of all love, happiness, and fulfillment in their lives. Each partner understands that they should take charge of their own well-being and happiness. They are there for themselves first – but do not shy away from supporting and helping each other out.
4. Proper conflict resolution
How couples address conflicts plays a very important role towards determining which direction the relationship heads. In a healthy loving relationship, conflict are dealt with head-on and then dropped. Just because there’s a conflict isn’t to say that it’s time to pack and move on. Ideally, conflicts should be seen as an opportunity to grow and learn. Both sides should openly reveal their feelings and honest views, in a respectful manner. Conflict should be a natural part of life, and both partners address conflicts earlier rather than repressing them and waiting to bring them back up later.
5. Honest expressions
Partners in a healthy relationship are able to express feelings – both positive and negative – genuinely. They accept and respect each other’s feelings. They express one other’s true feelings to avoid potential conflicts later on.
In a healthy loving relationship, both partners are willing to put the relationship before self. They make it a point to consider their partners before making a decision. They just don’t go ahead and plan vacations on their own, without bringing it up with their significant other. They make room for their loved one and are open to working together as a unit.
7. Agree to disagree
Partners in a healthy loving relationship agree to disagree. Differing viewpoints aren’t a source of conflict. They appreciate the fact that having differences in beliefs and opinions doesn’t have to mess things up.
8. Appreciate true value of the relationship
In a happy loving relationship, both partners are loyal to each other and appreciate the value of the relationship. That means they are loyal to each other and are very willing to mitigate conflicts. They commit to the growth and lessons while working together as a couple, and overcome challenges as a team.
9. Be together
Partners in a healthy relationship want to be together just for the sake of it. Some people remain in relationships because they need some kind of security (financial, emotional, physical, etc). But in a healthy loving relationship, the partners want to be together so they can live a genuine life with the other person. Security isn’t a key motivation for the relationship’s existence. The motivation is much bigger than that.
Put simply, relationships work much better when both parties are friendly with each other. This cushions the bumpy ride that people often experience in their relationships. That perhaps explains why people who are very friendly attract others who want to pursue long-lasting relationships. Partners in a great relationship will cheer up, smile, and have kind words to say to others.
People who lack patience will often fail their partners. Patience is a critical ingredient for a healthy and happy loving relationship. Partners who are doing great will be more patient with their significant others. Research has demonstrated that marriages that go through a great deal of turmoil, and then make it through, end up very strong. That perhaps just illustrates the point that patience wins. In contrast, partners who give up on relationships too early or because their loved one isn’t perfect often get the same deal (or worse) after they move on.
12. Grown up
Partners in a meaningful loving relationship have grown up. This doesn’t mean that they are able to act like adults; it means that they have recognized and resolved early childhood losses and traumas. They understand how such happenings affect their current behaviors, and are willing to spend the time to reflect on their past. They have broken ties with old patterns and identities and experienced a psychological shift from boy to man or girl to woman. And since they have grown up, they are less likely to enact childhood experiences in their current relationships. They understand that they have evolved as a person, and aren’t looking for a significant other to compensate for their weaknesses and shortcomings.
There are many other ingredients of healthy loving relationships, but the ones above are some of the most important. Take a step back and evaluate your relationship. Think about what characteristics you are already great at as a couple. What do you need to work on?