Most people strive to have healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. Whether you are evaluating your romantic partnership, family camaraderie or platonic connections, this checklist can help you identify what's working well as well as areas where you need growth. It can also be a wake-up call that tells you it's time to move on.
Open, honest communication is the hallmark of any healthy relationship. It provides clarity and can help prevent misunderstanding. It also can promote intimacy and fosters empathy with one another. It's important to know the other person sees and hears you, and it's just as vital to let them know you are listening too. You should be able to speak your mind without fear it will end the relationship, and you should know the expectations you have of each other.
Good Conflict Management
Few people actually enjoy fighting with a loved one, but there are ways to handle it that produce happy results. When you need to have a difficult conversation, healthy conflict management skills come in handy. It's a good idea to establish ground rules early on in your relationship, as you may have a different communication style than the other person does and this can lead to miscommunication. If you have a difficult time thinking of rules, consider starting with the basics:
- Stay in the moment. Fight the urge to bring up past grievances. Instead, focus on the specific issue at hand.
- Listen to understand rather than to win. This may be difficult to do in the heat of the moment, but ultimately you will be glad that you know where the other person is coming from.
- Acknowledge both the intention and impact of each other's actions, but recognize that the latter often has a bigger effect.
- Address problems quickly. Don't let an annoyance fester until it turns into a major roadblock to your relationship.
A strong social support system has a positive correlation with good mental health. When a partner or friend gets jealous when you spend time with other people, though, this can put a strain on all the relationships involved. Building trust with the people in your life goes beyond simply believing you will protect each other's privacy. It extends to knowing that neither of you will violate the boundaries of your bond even when you're not together.
You may have many acquaintances in your life but only a small handful of people who truly know you to your core. Intimacy can be emotional, spiritual, physical or a combination of all of them. This closeness should be reciprocal, though. It doesn't work if one person is highly engaged in the relationship and the other is aloof or uninterested. The level of intimacy you experience together should be as equal as possible.
Goal and Growth Support
People who are close are often invested in one another's lives. After all, if your spouse has a particular goal he or she wants to achieve, your own life is likely to be impacted. Supporting other people's growth doesn't mean you are trying to change them. It simply means you recognize that change is inevitable and want them to grow in ways that make them happy.
Finally, a healthy relationship is fun. Do you laugh together and enjoy each other's company? If the answer is no, then it doesn't really matter how great your relationship looks on paper. Even if you are very different, if you like being together, you can always find ways to spend your time that you both enjoy.
When you have a healthy relationship, you may not need a checklist to tell you it's working. If you notice something from this list is missing, though, you have the first step to fixing the issue so that your relationship can grow.