My own lack of success in the relationship arena is the reason I have paid so much attention to this area of my life.
I was determined to figure out how to create a healthy relationship. I learned a lot around behavior and I’m not sure that I fully understood what health in a relationship really was about or how to create it.
Today there are five steps that I link to a healthy relationship:
- Embrace Conflict: Relationships invariably come with conflict and challenge. How you deal with conflict in a healthy relationship is you embrace it as an opportunity to learn and move through the conflict together. This means everyone is ready, willing and able to become part of the solution. That is indicative of health.
- Active Listening: Active listening is listening with the intent to understand versus listening with the intent to speak. When you really hear what the other person is saying it demonstrates respect, understanding and care for their perspective. People in a healthy relationship listen so well that they can represent the other person’ viewpoint with clarity.
- Demonstrate Understanding: You can make what you hear matter by paraphrasing and demonstrating that you get the other person. This is not about win/lose or right/wrong, it is about understanding the other person. You can do this by questioning to understand, and not to manipulate. When you seek to understand FIRST rather than be understood, you are in a healthy relationship.
- Treat with Equality: People in a healthy relationship treat each other with equality and ensure both perspectives are heard equally. There is no control or manipulation. People may play different roles but essentially all have a voice and that voice is important.
- Be Respectful: When you respect someone, you do not make assumptions, blame, belittle, demean, bad-mouth or torment the other person. All interaction comes from a place of love and respect. You treat that person with the same respect you would like to be treated with. How people demonstrate respect for each other is a key sign of a healthy relationship.
Relationships and human dynamics are constantly evolving. The five steps outlined above can help you in your relationship if applied on a regular basis. They are however skills that often require support through coaching and workshops.
If your relationship is in a place where it does not feel healthy, and conflict is taking a lot out of you, programs offered at the Relationship Centre can help you to get your relationship back on track and eventually to a healthier place.