One of the basic human emotions we experience in life from the time we are born until the day we pass on is love. We see love everywhere, love between a mother and child, siblings, friends, and romantic partners. Although love seems like a simple feeling that is expressed between people, it can become quite complicated. All relationships will have both healthy and unhealthy characteristics, but the goal is to enhance those healthy characteristics while working on resolving the unhealthy. ‘Work’ is the key word here. Healthy relationships require a lot of it, but the rewards are worth it. All forms of relationships are important; however, this blog post will be focusing primarily on romantic relationships.
When building a healthy relationship, care and communication needs to be present for all involved. There needs to be a sense of confidence that partners are willing to give each other the time and attention that is needed. Differences are respected and accommodated, even as those differences change over time. Partners need to be willing to accept influence from one another while respecting individual boundaries. And, of course, a sense of fondness and playfulness is important in the relationship.
When we are not doing the actions that are listed out above, it is easy to fall into unhealthy patterns. Some unhealthy characteristics may include no respect for each other’s privacy or individuality, feeling afraid of a partner’s reactions, physical and verbal abuse, a lack of respect for sexual boundaries, etc. Here is one question I like to determine whether someone is in a healthy relationship or not: Is the relationship bringing more stress or joy to my life? If the answer is more joy, then continue what you are doing and make changes as needed. If the answer is stress, then that is a good indication that something needs to change.
The way to transform an unhealthy relationship into a healthy one involves a lot of communication, understanding, respect, and a common goal. If one person in the relationship is not willing to make healthy changes, then change will not happen. Sometimes, however, people in a relationship may have the desire to improve their relationship but are unsure how to do it. Maybe they need help learning how to communicate, listen, or empathize with one another. If you or someone you know is struggling in their relationship but want to stay together, couples counseling may help.
Sometimes when people hear about couples counseling, or counseling in general, they have an aversion towards it due to the stigma that is attached to it. They don’t want to try counseling because that means they weren’t strong enough or can’t do it on their own. However, counseling may help to make the relationship stronger than it ever was before. If we had a broken arm, we would go to the doctor for treatment. The same can be said for therapy. A healthy relationship may be around the corner if we seek the proper help.