How Healthy Is My Relationship?
One way to know if your relationship is healthy is by asking yourself if these key qualities of a healthy relationship align with your relationship. These qualities not only apply to romantic relationships, but can be applied to friendships and families as well.
- Trust. Trust is many times the first quality that needs to be established before any more of the relationship can build. To know if your relationship has trust, we first need to look at what trust is. The Cambridge dictionary defines trust as believing that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable. Trusting someone is a big step. Knowing they are safe and want the best for you is essential to a healthy relationship. Trust is not something that can be established overnight. Trust should be built on honest, open conversations with each other. This doesn’t mean you need to give everything you have to this person. Trust is also built on boundaries and having respect for each other’s boundaries. This trust needs to go both ways. Of course, trust can be broken but this leads to another key quality.
- Forgiveness. A lot of times forgiveness seems like an act that is for someone else. But in reality, forgiveness can be a freeing and amazing act for yourself too. The amazing thing about forgiveness is it allows you to be free from whatever hurt someone caused you. True forgiveness is releasing someone in your heart. What they did no longer has the right to cause pain and bitterness. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not reconciliation. It is recognizing the other person did something wrong and steps need to be taken to reestablish the trust once built. Even if trust isn’t completely back to where it used to be, forgiveness is not holding bitterness against that person who hurt you and treating them with love and kindness.
- Kindness. Kindness seems simple but sometimes can be very hard to give, especially in times when others need it the most. One reason kindness is hard is because it is a selfless act. Acting in true kindness means you are giving and not looking to receive anything in return. Kindness involves a lot of grace; grace for others knowing that you also have you own faults and are going to fail them just as they have failed you. A lot of times grace is shown in kindness. Kindness can be shown in many ways from small acts, big gestures, or simply forgiving.
- Patience. Being patient with others is one way you can show them love. To be patient with someone, you need to have love and respect for that person. Being patient with someone can keep you from saying or doing something you may regret. Sometimes patience means biting your tongue and waiting, waiting for the other person to make the change you’ve been waiting on. When waiting on someone, it’s easy to pick out their bad qualities and criticize everything they do. Instead, it’s important to let go of any resentment you have in your heart and be thankful the qualities in them you appreciate the most.
- Support. Relationships that support each other push each other to be better. Whether this is spiritually, career focused, or physically. A relationship that is supportive doesn’t condemn when someone fails, but encourages and fights with that person to keep going. Supportive relationships build each other up, not tear each other down. Supporting someone can mean helping your partner see their goals and encouraging them even when it seems impossible. Sometimes supporting each other can bring about a tangible response such as running errands, cooking a meal, or providing childcare to help them reach their goal.
It is impossible for a relationship to be perfect, but a healthy relationship does not consist of many things. When you care about someone deeply, it is sometimes hard to see how they may be hurting you. There are some qualities of a relationship that are red flags and point to an abusive relationship. Some of these signs include:
- Telling you that you never do anything right.
- Showing extreme jealousy of your friends or time spend away from them.
- Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with friends, family, or peers.
- Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you, especially in front of other people.
- Preventing you from making your own decisions.
- Controlling finances.
- Pressuring you to have sex or perform sexual acts you’re not comfortable with.
- Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol.
- Intimidating you through threatening looks or acts.
- Insulting your parenting or threatening to harm or take away your children or pets.
- Intimidating you with weapons.
- Destroying your belongings.
If you are experiencing even one of these behaviors, it is important to get help. If you are in immediate danger, you can call the National domestic violence hotline at 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or text START to 88788.