Is this relationship Healthy?
What is a healthy relationship? It’s a good question I think. One I intend to explore over the next few weeks in this post. I say explore not answer, because although I know what the ingredients are for a healthy relationship I also know that in order for YOU to know what is healthy for you it takes some investigation. During the next few weeks as we explore this together I invite you to write me with your own insights into what makes a healthy relationship or your particular questions on the subject. Its always more fun to have a variety of voices heard in order to gain a transformational insight.
We have ways of judging health when it comes to our bodies. Weight-physical ability-things, free of pain, are just a few that come quickly to mind. There are ways of judging the health of trees or plants. We can see when they start to fade, when they have certain diseases or like many of my house plants-when they are dead.
When it comes to relationship health however, the signs of disease are much more subtle and hard to pin down. This is especially true when we are IN a relationship. The clarity on health from that perspective can be downright impossible to see or judge without having some tools and insight to guide you. Having tools and insight into what is healthy are what I have found helps people discover, gauge, and make positive changes in their relationships. It is also very useful to have when embarking on a new relationship. Especially one where the heart is involved!
What sparked my interest in this subject today is an experience I had at my local coffee shop last week. I love sitting in a coffee shop and working on something, while allowing my eyes and ears to wander. I learn so much about the human condition from this vantage point!
I am very intentional in my looking and listening. I follow two of my favorite relationship rules. I don’t make anyone wrong. I listen with a loving intention. On this particular day I witnessed two couples that sat at the table right in front of me having two very different ways of communicating and two very different impacts on me personally as the witness.
The difference that was palpable and the one I am going to begin our exploration with came down to one simple but important relationship aspect –Communication. How we communicate-what we communicate verbally and non-verbally can make the difference between relationship health or relationship hell. This is one area of relationship health that is both tricky and easy to change. Tricky because we tend to have ingrained habits in this area that we don’t’ want to let go of. We fear we will lose our power or control. Easy because we can learn how to speak and listen in new ways and that changes a relationship dramatically even if we are the only one in the relationship making the change.
Many relationship issues are grounded in something true that needs to be seen or something that needs to change. Having issues that need to be addressed is something that happens in ALL relationships. This is not what distinguishes a healthy relationship from an unhealthy one. As a matter of fact I would go so far as to say that a truly healthy relationship always has issues that are known and addressed. The distinguishing factor is in where the “relationship work” is done. It is not true that a good relationship is not work. I hear this from time to time. “ If it were a good relationship it wouldn’t be so much work”. What I believe that statement really means is-in a good relationship it wouldn’t be so tense or there wouldn’t be so much conflict.
So Healthy Relationship Habit Number One:
Openly and lovingly addressing issues instead of:
Stuffing your feelings
Blaming yourself or the other verbally or non verbally
If you learn this one relationship habit I promise you will avoid a lot of pain for yourself and those you love. You will have a good foundation for a happy AND healthy relationship.
Tune in next week as I bring you comments and questions from my readers as well as to find out what these two couples were talking about and how you can learn from my experience.