You Can't Have A Healthy Relationship Without These 3 Things

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You Can't Have A Healthy Relationship Without These 3 Things

We’ve been together more than a year, but it took a while to really be confident I was in love. I wanted to be, but I didn’t want to rush it or just say it, I wanted it to be for real. I wanted to get it right the first time.

This isn’t a blog about being in love, as what I’ve learned really applies to any relationship including work, friendship, and parenting.

My biggest fear in falling in love, was falling out of love. The guy I’m with is pretty much my exact opposite, which is always fun in the beginning, as they say, "opposites attract," but do they really stay together? The jury is still out since it’s been only a year, but I have recognized a couple of key elements that give me the hint that we’re on the right track, even though we’re total opposites.

3 things healthy relationships are built on:

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1. Shared Values.

Just because we’re opposites in personality, skills and upbringing doesn’t mean we don’t have mutual values that we care about and live by. In fact, this is a huge factor in our relationship. Shared values mean we’re going in the same direction, we’re chasing after similar things. Here are a couple just to name a few:

1. Understanding — we are committed to trying to understand other perspectives before we try to prove we are right. Exercising humility, patience and listening is crucial to really understanding others.

2. Curiosity — we both know that there is a vast amount we don’t know, that we could know. We are constantly learning through books, podcasts and speakers and sharing that knowledge with each other.

3. Peace — we both value peace over everything. Both inner peace and inter-peace. And, we’ve learned that only comes from managing expectations upfront and talking about difficult things before they become difficult.

4. Challenge — we chase challenge, the bigger the better. Whether in our health and fitness, our careers or traveling the world. The bigger the challenge the more giddy we get. We’re out to change the world.

So, you’re probably thinking… these 2 aren’t really opposites, they seem to share a lot in common. Well, shared values don’t mean that we approach things the same way. In fact, that’s were our opposite-ness shines bright. Which could be blinding — or could be illuminating, it’s all in the way you see things.

2. Complimentary Skills. 

This is a nice way of saying, he does things one way, and I do them another. We are opposites in many ways, however, if you see it as opposite, you’ll find yourself in opposition. I don’t resist or fight against his way…I don’t oppose it. Remember, two of our shared values are understanding and peace, which means I take the time to appreciate and understand why and how he does things different (and often times better) than me.

He’s a detailed thinker — I’m a big picture thinker. He does things 110% — I do things 80%. He never rushes — I’m always trying to beat the clock.

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Now, here’s the really challenging part of the equation. You can have shared values and complimentary skills and yet still not make it in a relationship. The last element is really the most important. It’s the one that you have to protect with everything you got. When they say relationships take work, this is the work they are talking about, because values are innate and skills are developed before you meet someone…but this one is up to you. It’s your choice.

3. Respect. 

Before you roll your eyes, or move on too quickly, please really consider how important this one factor is in any relationship. Starting with yourself. Do you respect yourself? How do you expect others to respect you if you don’t respect yourself and have clear boundaries…boundaries which you communicate up front, before lines get crossed.

While I do believe that respect is earned, it’s also given. You can cultivate a culture of respect in your relationship that works both ways, and if it doesn’t… the relationship won’t work for long (in my opinion).

Remember this holds true for relationships at work, with your boss, friends and even children at times. Respect is paid forward, even when emotions may run high, always choose respect and you’ll avoid drama, mis-understanding and creating cracks in the relationship.

If you chase peace and seek understanding, you’ll be demonstrating respect in so many ways.

I love being in love. But what I love more than love, is being in a relationship with someone that deeply respects me. To me, that is the ultimate reflection of love. It’s the glue that holds shared values and complimentary skills together when from the outside it seems crazy that 2 people who are so opposite could thrive in a relationship. But so far…so great.

Think about your own relationships. Do you have shared values? Are your skills and experience opposite or complimentary? And more than anything, is respect the foundation that everything else is built on? I challenge you to really dig in and ask the difficult questions. True freedom comes from facing the truth. You can start today.

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Lisa Cumes is a self-professed architect of change, whether in fitness, love, parenting or business. Her hashtags in life is #neverstopstarting which means the journey for her never ends. She blogs about life, love and how to make money working from home. You can read her blogs on Medium or chase her down on her website.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.