Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor

We often focus on the problems relationships present and can lose sight of what we are working towards. While many of us can identify conflict, blame, resentment, jealousy, and anger as components of an unhealthy relationship, can you also define a healthy one? People struggle with some of these “ugly” parts of a relationship, but at the end of the day we are all fighting for the healthy and loving relationship we deserve. Identifying what makes a relationship healthy is important in helping all of you value the good parts of your relationship and identify what could use some improvement. Below are 5 essential pillars that are seen in healthy relationships that are important to work towards both on your own or in relationship counseling.

Communication

It has been said that “communication is key” and that statement still stands true. Without communication, you have no foundation to build a healthy relationship on. Open communication gives each partner the opportunity to be vulnerable and listen to the other. A healthy relationship allows the space for difficult conversations and disagreements to be had with minimal avoiding or attacking.

Humility

Having humility in your relationship means you are able to admit fault, take responsibility, and apologize. It isn’t always easy to admit your fault but it aids in the healing process. Fights won’t last as long, things will brush off easier, and you will understand each other better when you both take responsibility for any hurt or added conflict. Through humility comes healing, understanding, and forgiveness.

Trust

Trust is so fragile, yet it gets broken in so many relationships. Trust takes so long to gain because it takes time to fully feel safe. When you trust your partner, you are able to be yourself and communicate transparently. Once trust is established, this means you can depend on each other and be vulnerable without feeling unsafe.

Empathy

The term empathy means you are willing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and consider how they feel. The power of empathy is that you can then begin to understand why your partner may be reacting or feeling a certain way and move towards resolution. It is important to always challenge yourself to listen, see your partner’s side, and try to understand their emotions. Having empathy for each other will bring much more closeness and vulnerability to your relationship.

Respect

At the end of the day, respect each other. The blame, criticism, and aggression only lead to resentment and contempt for each other. Having respect for your partner means you value their words and actions. Respecting them means you accept them for who regardless of their perspectives, beliefs, opinions, needs, emotions, and flaws. Loving them for who they are and refraining from holding these qualities against them communicates respect. Respect one another and your relationship will see a drastic improvement.

If you are having trouble navigating any areas of your relationship listed above and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!