Strategic Living

How to Recognize Healthy Relationships

In self-defense classes we spend a LOT of time examining bad and abusive relationships. What a bummer! Just as important is looking at what makes a GOOD and HEALTHY and FULFILLING relationship. Not just in February, when Cupids and greeting-card sentiments abound, but all year long. People in healthy relationships know that conflict happens, and expect it is handled in a non-abusive manner.

Fun Factoids:

  • People in healthy relationships are happier.
  • People in healthy relationships are healthier. From colds to heart disease, people in healthy relationships get sick less often.
  • People in healthy relationships report better job satisfaction and get along better with co-workers.

Recognizing Healthy Relationships

Trust and Honesty: You feel safe expressing your thoughts and feelings with your partner. Each accepts responsibility for their own actions and feelings. Each owns up when they're wrong.

Accepting and Supportive: You and your partner accept each other's goals, dreams, and plans. You respect each others' feelings, friends, activities, and opinions.

Partnership: You and your partner value each other's contributions to the relationship. You strive for a fair balance of effort put into your relationship. You each have access to financial resources.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: As Aretha sang, this is the essential key. Respect is when you listen to your partner, and affirm and support each other. Dr. John Gottman (University of Washington) has identified the opposite of respect -- contempt -- as the most poisonous emotion in a relationship.

If You Believe Someone You Care About is in a Healthy Relationship:

Bask in their company, and hope that some of their happiness positively influences you.

If you or someone you care about is in an abusive relationship, visit our Resources page.

Go to the Love Is Respect website and take one or four of their quizzes on relationship health. Much better than Cosmo pop quizzes!

Download this How to ID Healthy Relationships PDF.


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