It is said that love is blind. In a way, it's true. When we are in love with somebody, we tend to only look at their positives and are almost blind to all their flaws. It becomes very difficult for us to analyze our relationship or our partner objectively. So how does one know whether the relationship that one is in is perfect? What all constitutes a healthy relationship? Let's try to find out...
Attributes of a Healthy Relationship
To know whether you are in the right relationship or not, you need to be first of all aware of the traits of a healthy relationship.
Communication and Friendship
I read somewhere that a person should always marry someone they love to talk to and are good friends with. As years pass on, the initial physical attraction tends to fail. At this point, only if the partners are good friends and love to communicate with one another, can they keep the spark alive in their relationship. So, one of the most important signs of a good relationship is a strong friendship bond and open communication.
Respect and Trust
Respecting one another's opinions, ways of living, careers, etc. is very essential. If you find your partner constantly criticizing you or is unnecessarily overbearing, it means that he does not respect or appreciate you enough. Besides respect, trust between both the partners is very important too. Commitment and honesty are the two pillars on which a relationship stands.
Love and Intimacy
Deep love for one another and a feeling of belonging is a must in a relationship. If you and your partner see this relationship as something long term, if you both are good and comfortable at expressing love for one another by way of kisses and hugs, if you share the right sexual chemistry and meet each other's physical needs - all these are traits of a good relationship.
Willingness to Give, Change and Support
This is very important. Both the partners should be willing to give a lot of love and support to one another. They should be willing to change, compromise and adjust a bit to meet their partner's needs. Admitting to and correcting one's mistakes, listening patiently to what the other has to say and by being open-minded, any couple can form a healthy relationship.
Life Beyond One Another
Partners in a healthy relationship have a life of their own. They have their own set of friends, interests, works, etc. away from their partner. In a relationship, time with one's partner, "me time" i.e. time alone with oneself as well as time away from one's partner, pursuing things that one likes to do - all are equally important. So if you see yourself as well as your partner, as independent yet loving individuals, you are in a healthy relationship.
Stages of a Healthy Relationship
Although, there is no hard or fast rule that all relationships follow a similar pattern, still, more or less, most relationships go through the following stages.
Knowing Each Other
This is the beginning of most relationships, when both the partners are dating and trying to discover things about one another, which appeal to them. The two are out there spending time and having fun together! At this stage, if the man and the woman want to form a healthy relationship, they should learn how to appreciate and respect one another. By being kind and considerate initially, people in the relationship can lay the foundation of a strong, long term, healthy relationship.
After knowing each other, the next level of a relationship is when both the partners become emotionally connected to one another. They share their dreams, aspirations, happiness and everything else with each other. They trust one another and look forward to spending every waking moment in each other's company. At this stage, both the partners see each other as "unique" and "special" and thus, decide to date each other exclusively.
For any relationship to survive, it is important that both the partners are sexually attracted towards one another. Moving on to getting into a physical relationship is a natural progression for any couple in love, although, ideally, physical intimacy should always be preceded by emotional intimacy. But again, no hard and fast rules here!
When both the partners feel emotionally and physically connected to one another, the next stage is when they look forward to creating a life together. They love each other despite all their short comings. They feel the need to be completely honest and committed to each other.
The last stage is when both the partners work together to form a family i.e. get married. They share responsibilities of running a household, raising children and support each other in achieving their life goals.
These are the stages which all healthy relationships generally follow. If you think that you are in one, you are lucky! However, if you feel that something is lacking in your relationship, then some of the effective tips are - improve communication with your partner, live and let live i.e. give each other space, avoid situations or conversations that lead to unnecessary arguments, be respectful for one another, be a couple yet maintain your individuality and most of all, be completely honest with one another.
If you and your partner follow the above given simple rules, are patient and forgiving, there are no two ways that you can build a harmonious, healthy relationship. On the other hand, if there is any kind of abuse involved - mental, emotional or physical, if there is a continuous friction between you and your partner, if arguments, fights and disagreements have become an every day norm, these are all warning signs that something is wrong in your relationship. In such a case, going in for therapy and counseling is the key to save your relationship.