wikiHOW Article of the day:

There are reliable tools that can be used to create a healthy relationship, many of which have not been taught in our culture. If you want to have a really healthy relationship, follow these simple guidelines.


Steps

  1. Tell the unarguable truth. Many people are taught to lie to protect someone’s feelings, either their own or their partner’s. Telling a lie creates a disconnect in a relationship, even if your partner never finds out about it. Withholding the truth (an issue that’s come up three times or more without you saying anything) also constitutes telling a lie. Saying “That shirt is ugly” is NOT telling the truth because it’s arguable. Someone else could have a differing opinion and could argue about it. Saying “I don’t care for that shirt.” is inarguable because it’s a personal experience. Here are some examples of telling the unarguable truth: “I felt scared when I saw you talking to her at the party.”, “I feel angry.”, “I think that guy has feelings for me.”
  2. Make and keep clear agreements. For example, if you say you’re going to meet your partner for lunch at noon, be on time, or call if you’re going to be late. If you agree to have a monogamous relationship, keep that agreement and/or tell the truth about any feelings you’re having about someone else BEFORE you act on them. Keeping agreements shows respect for yourself and your partner, as well as creating a sense of trust and safety.
  3. Be responsible (new definition!! Responsible means that you have the ability to respond. It does NOT mean you are to blame.). There is tremendous power in claiming your creation. If you’ve been snippy to your partner, own up to it, and get curious about how you might do it differently next time. If you are unhappy in your relationship, instead of trying to change your partner, get curious about how this situation is similar to others from your past, and how you might create a better relationship for yourself.
  4. Know that relationships are the playground of life. The most important learning takes place within relationships. Each relationship has important information for you to learn and grow. For example, do you often feel “bossed around” in your relationship, or “powerless”? When a relationship isn’t working, there is usually a familiar way that we feel while in it. We are attracted to the partner with whom we can learn the most, and sometimes the lesson is to let go of a relationship that no longer serves us. In order to have a healthy relationship, it is important to learn our own lessons, and share with our partner what we’re learning. A truly healthy relationship will consist of both partners who are interested in learning and expanding a relationship so that it keeps getting better and better.
  5. Appreciate yourself and your partner. In the midst of an argument, it can be difficult to find something to appreciate. Start by generating appreciation in moments of non-stress, and that way when you need to be able to do it during a stressful conversation, it will be easier. One definition of appreciation is to be “sensitively aware of”, so you don’t necessarily have to be sugar-coating anything. Here are some examples of appreciation: “I can see that you feel really sad about this.”, “I appreciate that you are willing to tell me how you feel.”, “I’m appreciating myself for sticking with this issue until it’s resolved and we both feel good about the outcome.”
  6. Lastly, you can either choose to be “Right” or you can have a Relationship. You can’t have both. Most people argue to be “Right” about something. They say “If you loved me, you would…”. They argue to hear the other say “Okay, you’re right.” If you are generally more interested in being right, understand that you will not create a healthy relationship. Having a healthy relationship means that you have your experience, and your partner has his or her experience, and you learn to love and share and learn from those experiences.


Tips

  • If this all sounds a little different to you, it’s likely because you haven’t heard it before. But then ask yourself, how many successful role models have you had for healthy relationships?
  • Be willing to learn from every interaction, to have fun!
  • Portions of this article are based on the works of Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks.
  • Maintain your romance and sexlife. If you have kids, rent a room every now and then.

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