A healthy, positive relationship can look many different ways, as each couple is unique in their needs, desires and ways of interacting with each other. Though each duo has it’s own special dynamic, I do believe there are a few key signs that point toward a whole and happy long-term love.
By Jenna Wolf/ The Tennessean
Relationships are what make the world go around — and there’s no relationship more treasured than a romance. There are many types of romantic relationships to be had in one lifetime: long ones, short ones, happy ones, sad ones, toxic ones and healthy ones.
Here are five signs of a healthy romantic relationship:
Open lines of communication: One sign of relational health is when two people have worked together to create a safe place for the other to express their authentic needs and desires without fear of shame or rejection.
This means that each individual must cultivate the capacity to understand their own needs and then be able to communicate them clearly (and kindly) with a partner — while also being able to listen and stay kind when another expresses their needs to them.
Often, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to the hard stuff of life. Healthy relationships are designed to bring us together, and language is how we voice what we feel on the inside to the people outside of us. No one is a mind reader.
Telling the truth, expressing your needs kindly and creating safe communication is a fundamental relationship skill worth practicing. Stay patient with yourself and others as this is not something that happens overnight.
Kindness is the sap of love: the juice, the nutrients, the expression of a deep emotion. To love someone means to care for them like we would care for ourselves. When we touch them, they feel no pain, we tell them how handsome or beautiful they are, we listen to them and hold their hand when they are afraid. Kindness must exist continuously for there to be a lasting and healthy relationship. It really is that simple.
A sacred intimacy practice: The act of sacred intimacy is so much bigger than a nudie evening romp. Though a quality sex life is important, the art of cultivating a spiritual connection is more important.
We are multi-dimensional beings, with physical, emotional and spiritual parts to us. How we connect to each other on the subtle level is equally as important to our physical connection.
A sacred intimacy practice is something spiritual (and possibly physical) that you share with your partner. It could mean going to church, mosque or temple together; practicing yoga or meditating together; looking quietly into each other’s eyes for several moments at a time; a gratitude tradition before meals; talking openly about feelings and desires.
Whatever it is, keep the flames of your relationship alive and well by connecting with the divine love that lives beyond the physical body and inside the heart.
Healthy space: Though in hot pursuit of a mind/body merging relationship with someone you love, it is important to remember that you are still a unique individual.
You have your own thoughts, feelings, needs and desires — and you must always honour your inherent separateness. Over time couples that get too intertwined find an innate need to reclaim their individuality. This is often very traumatic to the relationship. Avoid this by leaving enough wiggle room for things like going on a hike by yourself, hanging solo with your best friend on Friday eve or sleeping in the other room when you need more rest.
Maintain the space you need that makes you the incredible person your partner fell in love with. Don’t forget to allow your partner this same freedom.
When it ends, it ends well
At some point, all relationships come to an end.
The finale of a romance — how it ends and how both people respond — is a direct reflection of the overall health of the relationship.
Though seemingly painful to ponder, a healthy romance should never fear the end, because within it there has been open communication, kindness, spiritual connection and healthy space. Love is not hard, but it does take our active attention. To experience great love, we must learn how to interact with each other in a sincerely loving way.
And what does true love do? It heals us.