The best partner will compliment you and bring out your finer qualities. That said, if your expectations are for an effortless relationship, you might be at risk for throwing in the towel at the earliest sign of any discord. Think of how many good relationships have been discarded before they matured, dismissing a life partner while searching for a soul mate.
The idea of a soul mate is romantic but unrealistic because healthy relationships are developed and don’t just appear. Author Lisa Arends writes: “A fulfilling relationship occurs when both partners are open and vulnerable, creating an environment of mutual understanding, and intimacy. It takes time – often lots of time – and effort to reach this point.”
In some ways our belief in a sole mate can hold us back from sustaining a healthy relationship and may even cause some people to postpone or abandon the option of tying the knot. After all, there is no such thing as a perfect partner. Nonetheless, you might want to ask yourself this question: Is there something about the way that he or she treats me that makes me a bigger and better person? If the answer is no, ask yourself: Am I settling for less than I deserve in the relationship?
The Ingredients of a Healthy Relationship
What are the ingredients to a healthy relationship? According relationship expert, Dr. John Gottman, cultivating gentleness and kindness toward your partner are key aspects to a successful partnership.
In The Relationship Cure, Gottman writes: “It’s not that these couples don’t get mad or disagree. It’s that when they disagree, they’re able to stay connected and engaged with each other. Rather than becoming defensive and hurtful, they pepper their disputes with flashes of affection, intense interest, and mutual respect.”
If you are questioning if your partner is right for you, consider the following: Know that no relationship is conflict free, but you are worthy of having a relationship that makes you happy. If you aren’t there yet, embrace where you are now. What is it that holds you back from achieving a satisfying relationship? And once you have it, what will you do when you get there?
Are you wondering if you are wasting your time in a relationship that is wrong for you? It’s understandable that you’d have a need for certainty before continuing to pursue a relationship with new love interest. Here are some signs that can help you decide if your relationship is worth pursuing or continuing.
Here are 10 signs that your relationship is healthy:
- You admire your partner for who he or she is as a person. You like and respect who they are and how they carry themselves through the world. If you can’t respect the way a person lives their life, let alone admire them, it’s hard to keep any relationship going.
- You feel comfortable being vulnerable with your partner and can express your thoughts, feelings, and wishes as they arise (without sweeping them under the rug).
- Your partner is trustworthy. They call when they say they will and follow through on promises. It’s impossible to build trust in someone who does not keep their agreements.
- He or she listens to you. They ask you questions about the things that interest you and ask you questions about your hobbies, friends, and family.
- Your partner is affectionate. They’re comfortable holding hands and showing other signs of physical affection in private and in public.
- Your partner makes time for you on a regular basis. He or she makes you a priority because they value your relationship. Even when they are swamped, they make time for you. This includes sending regular text messages or making phone calls to show they’re thinking of you.
- Your partner accepts and appreciates you for who you are and doesn’t try to change you. Studies show that couples’ who show gratitude for each other and tolerance for each other’s differences, create a safe harbor with one another that enables them to better weather the storms of a committed relationship.
- Your partner is your cheerleader. He or she makes space for your feelings and doesn’t make you feel badly for being in a bad mood or having a tough day. The encourage you and give you a shoulder to lean on when you feel down or discouraged.
- He or she makes you feel good about yourself. A partner who truly cares about you is a boost to your self-esteem. They value you and give you positive reinforcement such as compliments.
- Your partner talks about your future together so you can create a shared vision of your relationship. Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t include you in his or her future plans with a sense of excitement. Author Howard J. Markman Ph.D. writes:” Couples can choose to protect their relationship by setting aside time to enjoy each other, renewing their sense of closeness and togetherness.”
There is recent evidence that the secret to a happy and lasting relationship is having a true friendship. Look for qualities you admire in your partner and remind yourself of these admirable qualities regularly. It’s always a good idea to assume the best of your mate and to strive to be their best friend.
Follow Terry Gaspard on Facebook, Twitter, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parent’s Breakup and Enjoy a Happy Relationship was published by Sourcebooks.
I’d love to hear from you and answer your questions about relationships, divorce, marriag and remarriage. Please ask a question here. Thanks! Terry