Healthy relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people
who truly want to work together to create something meaningful.
What does it take to create and nurture a healthy relationship? That’s a question Angel and I get asked by readers and coaching clients on a daily basis. After a decade of coaching individuals and couples and researching how people build healthy, lasting relationships, we have learned a lot about what it takes.
Whether you’re working to improve your marriage, a dating relationship, or a friendship, there are lots of little things you can do to keep your relationship on track. And since we’ve recently covered some of these healthy relationship strategies here and here, today I want to take a look at the flipside – what people in healthy relationships don’t do:
They don’t rush the present state of their relationships to get to better times ahead. – The thing about obsessing about a happy ending is that you forget to enjoy the journey along the way. Right now is life… don’t miss it! You need to enjoy the company you care to keep, today, while you’re still guaranteed a chance to do so.
They don’t expect their relationships to solve all their problems. – While a healthy relationship can certainly bring joy, it’s not anyone else’s job to fill in your empty inner space. That’s your job and yours alone; and until you accept responsibility for your emptiness, pain, or boredom, problems will inevitably ensue and persist in the relationship.
They don’t expect their relationships to be easy. – Long-tern relationships are amazing, but rarely easy. Resisting the hard times and seeing them as immediate evidence that something is wrong or that you’re with the wrong person only aggravates the difficulties. By contrast, finding the willingness to view the challenges as an opportunity to learn will give you the energy and strength you need to continue to move forward and grow your relationship to the next level.
They don’t let fear overpower their love and trust. – You never lose by loving; you lose by holding back. No relationship is impossible until you refuse to give it a chance. Love means giving someone the chance to hurt you, but trusting them not to. Without this trust, a relationship cannot survive. You cannot just believe what you fear from others; you have to believe in the good faith of others. If you are ever going to have someone trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too. (Read The Mastery of Love.)
They don’t keep secrets. – Trust is the foundation of a relationship, and when trust is broken it takes time and willingness on the part of both people involved to repair it and heal. All too often, I’ll hear a coaching client say something like, “I didn’t tell her but I didn’t lie about it, either.” This statement is a contradiction, as omissions are lies. If you’re covering up your tracks in any way, it’s only a matter of time before the truth is revealed and trust in the relationship is broken. Speak the truth, no matter what the consequences. Being honest is the only way to be at peace with yourself and others.
They don’t fake their feelings. – Do not contrive to be a loving person: work to be a real person instead. Being real is being loving.
They don’t hide who they are. – There’s nothing better for your happiness and your relationships than for you to be at your best, showing everyone in every way who you are and what you stand for.
Passionate writers, admirers of the human spirit, and full time students of life, Marc and Angel Chernoff enjoy sharing inspirational advice and practical tips for life on their popular personal development blog, “Marc and Angel Hack Life.” Currently the site contains over 600 articles on happiness, productivity, emotional intelligence, relationships, and general self-improvement, and has attracted over 100 million page views and 100 thousand subscribers since its inception in 2006.