11 Feb Characteristics of Healthy Relationships
Characteristics of healthy relationships, literally, come in all shapes and sizes! We would be hard-pressed to catalogue all of the traits of a healthy relationship because of the huge variations among people. Maturity, personality, education, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic background impact the subtle – and not so subtle – nuances of meaning with the dynamics of interpersonal relationships.
With all of the possible variations, how can we possibly identify a few key components or characteristics of a healthy relationship?
Focusing now on the unique marriage relationship-the most complex relationship on earth — we can identify four characteristics.
Number One: Communication.
Every relationship thrives on this — especially a marriage relationship! Despite the differing genetic wiring, men and women can learn to speak their ‘spouse’s language.’ Husbands and wives must learn about differing:
- Love languages (See Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages)
- Sets of needs (See Willard Harley’s His Needs Her Needs)
- Roles and responsibilities in God’s design for marriage (See The Bible, Ephesians 5)
- Personality types (See DISC profile)
… Just to name a few things needed to enhance communication
Number Two. Common Core Values.
Although it’s true that opposites attract, it’s only true when referring to personality. Our core values are a reflection of our deepest belief systems and philosophies of life. Ultimately, a married couple with clashing core values is in deep trouble!
Point Number Three. Caring.
Thoughtfulness, kindness, cherishing, self-sacrificial love: all are synonyms for caring. In marriage, with this characteristic absent, the relationship falls apart.
Fundamentally, marriage is a relationship where each party learns to live for the interest of their spouse; they care for one another.
In marriage vows, this characteristic of a healthy relationship is captured in the phraseology “for better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness or in health, forsaking all others, till we are parted by death…”. It is the unconditional love expressed in the marriage vows that provide the rock-solid security for marriage.
The four C’s —communication, core values, caring and commitment —represent a short but accurate list of the traits every marriage requires for longevity and success.