My father was an alcoholic. My mother was depressed. I don’t have anybody in my family that’s married. I’ve been in multiple long-term relationships. Does this sound familiar? So many clients who come into my office have no clue what a healthy relationship looks like because they have never seen one or been in one. So I decided to write a post on healthy relationships.
First of all a healthy relationship feels good to be in. There may be some stress from time to time because life has its ups and downs. But for the most part a healthy relationship brings joy not pain. If you are feeling stressed and depleted, you are not in a healthy relationship. There are people in this world who sap you and people who zap you. If you live with someone who saps you you will feel drained all the time. If you live with someone who zaps you – you feel like coming back for more.
Now this doesn’t mean that if you are married to a sapper you should go out and get divorced to marry a zapper. The problem with that formula is that you never know what you are getting till you are married. The other problem is that you are married, now you must make the best out of what you have. (If you are not married the gate is still open.)
This brings up the point that you have a major role to play in what kind of relationships you develop. If your lover is a sapper there is a high likelihood that you have in some way cultivated the relationship to be that way. If you are a fairly easy going person you will tend to allow your spouse to get away with stuff that doesn’t make you happy. If your spouse is rather cantankerous they are probably quick to let you know when they are not happy. So what do you do? Comply of course. But they don’t have to do the same because you are so easy. This scenario often leads to a very unbalanced unhealthy relationship. It always amazes me how one person rate their marriage a 10 while the other says its a 3. Somebody is getting their way while the other is getting run over.
Nurture a Healthy Relationship
Nurture a healthy relationship by becoming more assertive in expressing what you like and don’t like. Become more comfortable with gentle confrontation and demanding what is rightfully yours to have. Develop skills in negotiation and compromise and relentlessly follow up on agreements made.
Do you wear uncomfortable shoes? Why are you wearing those uncomfortable shoes? Consider wearing more comfortable shoes. If they are the only ones you have maybe there are some things you can do spruce them up a little. Don’t just accept being uncomfortable.
This is how you should view your relationship. If its not comfortable don’t just get used to it. Insist on change. Do some things to spruce up your relationship. I have given a few great ideas in my new book – The Sizzle Mindset: Seven Secrets to Keep the Passion Alive in Your Marriage. Check it out! Get some marriage therapy.
In summary, healthy relationships feel good. If you are stressed and unhappy – you are not in a healthy relationship. Don’t just settle – get up and do something to make it healthy. It make take some work. But what is worth having is worth working for.
This is just the first installment on what a healthy relationship looks like. Stay tuned!