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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What Makes A Healthy Relationship?

It's almost Valentine's Day, and the time to celebrate love. But love isn't the only thing that makes up a happy and enduring relationship. Statistics show that almost 1/2 of all marriages end in divorce. This staggering statistic illustrates that the art of finding and maintaining healthy relationships might be an elusive commodity.

What is the most commonly forgotten element of a healthy relationship? Surpassingly, the answer is quite simple. You must learn to love yourself before you can love someone else. Anytime you are not connected with yourself, or find yourself “lost” in a relationship, you can be assured of unhappiness.

People say that healthy relationships have boundaries, what does that mean? Healthy relationships have elements of separateness and individuality. Partners know where they start and their partner begins. Healthy partners realize that they are free to disagree, have different opinions, and create relationship which are free from smothering, invasive behaviors, controlling, and power struggles.

Wondering if your relationship falls into the “healthy” category? Here are some of the key elements of a healthy relationship.
o Relationship that encourages individuality. Healthy relationships encourage partners to have their own interests, friends, and can have time of separation without fear of abandonment
o A relationship that invites growth. Healthy relationships are ever changing and bring new ideas, concepts, friendships, sharing new interests, and learning. If the growth stops, the relationship will become stagnant, boring, and distant.
o A relationship that nurtures open and honest communication. A healthy relationship is built on communication and building a deeper understanding of each other throughout a lifetime.
o A relationship in which it is safe to express feelings of all types in an appropriate manner. Healthy relationships allow space to discuss your fears, your hurt, your grief, anger, and disappointment in a non-threatening way.
o A relationship that builds self-esteem. Healthy relationships make us feel good about ourselves, and are not a place to tear down the other person.
o A relationship built on commitment to resolution. Healthy relationships find ways to negotiate, compromise, and handle conflicts and adversity.
o A relationship that encourages trust and respect. Without these key elements an enduring relationship won't make it to many more Valentine's Days.

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