There are many views about what to look for in a relationship. Ten inter-related characteristics are commonly found in healthy, mindful relationships. These feed off of each other, supporting and strengthening the relationship. To what extent does your relationship reflect these ten “commandments”?
1) Thou Shall Have and Provide Comfort
One “must-have” in a healthy relationship is being comfortable and finding it easy to be with the other person. Yes, relationships take effort, but if you find yourself “working at it” continuously, something’s wrong. This is especially true the longer you’re together. In the beginning, we may have our missteps as we get to know our partner. In a healthy relationship, we don’t have to plan our every word or strategize how to avoid a hot button. We should have no fear being authentic and transparent with our partner.
2) Thou Shall Establish Trust
Healthy relationships are based on trust, and trust is built gradually over time, by having a variety of experiences. While honesty is always required, openness expands as trust deepens. Trust flourishes when each partner shows their trustworthiness, behaving with integrity, consistency and follow through. You’ll find that conflict and drama are minimized when trust is strong; a sure sign of a healthy relationship.
3) Thou Shall Always Respect
Love and attraction may be the glues that bond a couple, but respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship. You don’t have to agree with each other politically or spiritually or use a common approach to problem-solving. It is essential, however, that you honor each other’s point of view and recognize one another’s worth. The esteem and admiration you feel for your partner energizes your love, keeping it fresh and vibrant.
4) Thou Shall Retain Ownership
Related to trust and respect, we have taking ownership for ourselves. When a relationship thrives, each person owns their feelings and behavior. Do you feel safe to admit you made a mistake? Does your beloved apologize when appropriate? Once it’s dealt with, are you each able to let the issue go?
5) Thou Shall Cultivate Solutions
Healthy relationships are solution-oriented. The individuals focus on fixing problems, not assigning blame. Based in love and respect, the partners appreciate one another’s priorities and perspectives, and being happy takes precedence over being right. Can you and your partner agree to disagree? Are you able to resolve issues and come away with a deeper understanding of one another?
6) Thou Shall Have and Be Fun
Fun and laughter are threaded through the tapestry of a healthy relationship: in the things the individuals enjoy doing together, the humor they mutually find in situations and their ability to laugh at themselves. Does the thought of your beloved make you smile? Do you have your playful, childlike times together? When you something strikes you funny, are you eager to share it with your partner? Humor, like trust, is another way conflict is kept at bay.
7) Thou Shall Establish Balance
In a healthy relationship, couples have a balance of give and take. While the “we” is important, the “me” can’t be overlooked. There is no room for a martyr in a healthy relationship. When you and your beloved make decisions, are your choices balanced? When a compromise is not an option, do you reach a decision with each person’s priorities and preferences in mind?
8) Thou Shall Maintain an Identity
Another indicator of a healthy relationship is when partners maintain their separate identities and are comfortable spending time apart. They have mutual friends as well as individual relationships. Have you and your beloved continued to do things you enjoyed before you were together? Do you have a genuine curiosity in the other’s background and interests?
9) Thou Shalt Not Shy Away from Expression
Both the individuals and the couples thrive and grow when a relationship is healthy. The parties encourage one another to grow, develop, thrive, and be successful. They not afraid of out-shining each other, because there is no competition between them. Are you and your partner are welcome to express at your highest potential, because that’s what you and your partner desire for each other? Are you free from the need to hold back when faced with the opportunity to shine, exhibiting strengths your partner may not possess?
10) Thou Shall Establish a Mutual Alignment
Finally, relationships are strong and vital when the individuals’ goals and values are aligned. Working together toward a common vision strengthens the couple’s bond, and alignment of values makes it easier to for them to support one another. For the most part, do you and your partner hold the same things dear? Are you motivated and inspired by similar things?
Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to have a healthy relationship. Keep these ten commandments in mind and incorporate as many of them as you can into your life. Like attracts like, after all.