While there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, it can still be satisfying and enjoyable. Here are some key characteristics of a healthy connection with your partner.
• The relationship is a safe place. You can express yourself freely and honestly. You feel seen, heard, and appreciated. Consistent communication is vital to building a strong relationship.
• You make time for activities together. And, you take time and are encouraged to pursue your own interests and connections with others (friends, family). This keeps your relationship fresh and gives you both the opportunity to grow as individuals even while you continue to grow in the relationship.
• Your words and behaviours align.
• If you're not disagreeing, chances are that you're holding back. Differences in opinions are normal. Having a productive and fair disagreement means avoiding name-calling or put-downs. It also means striving to understand the other. And when you’re wrong you apologize.
• Your relationship is based on accepting and valuing each other for who you are now, not who you or they might become in the future.
• Although sometimes the other person may drive you up the wall, your time together is mostly happy and fun, often in very simple ways.
• You make your decisions together and listen to each other's desires and concerns.
• You are intentional about resolving conflict. When you have issues and concerns, you share them clearly and honestly with each other. Having other people as a sounding board and support is not meant as a crutch to avoid hard conversations.
• You set, honour, and respect boundaries.
• You each show up authentically and treat each other with kindness, care, consideration, empathy, and appreciation.
• Strong relationships are marked by natural reciprocity. There is an overall balance and trade-offs are fair. It's not about keeping score or feeling that you owe the other person. You do things for one another because you genuinely want to. This doesn’t mean that the give-and-take in a relationship is always 100% equal. At times, one person may need more help and support.
• You share compatible goals for the relationship.
• Healthy relationships are built on trust and a commitment to communication without reservations or secrets. Trust is established by how you treat one another which includes being dependable.
• You say and hear these three important phrases : "Thank you," "I’m sorry," "I love you."
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