Healthy relationship ingredients: Love without fear. Trust without wondering.
Be there without restrictions. Accept someone without wanting to change them …
Most marriages go through three stages of development (1) romantic love; (2) disillusionment and distraction; and (3) dissolution, adjustment with resignation, or adjustment with contentment.
In the first stage couples tend to be so caught up in passion and physical attraction that issues like sacrifice, selfishness, expectations, and crises are not faced or death with.
Second stage begins when the honeymoon begins to wear off, then these issues begin to influence and impact the relationship. Daily life stressors and other crises often occur that require sacrifices to be made, selfishness to be checked and given up, and expectations to be discarded or modified. Such disillusionments and distractions can lead to less time together, less time spent on the relationship, a reduction in a couple’s sex life, and sexual boredom. When a couple reaches the end of this second stage they often feel disappointed and unfulfilled.
It is at this point a couple moved into the third stage with the following options available to them: (1) They can dissolve the marriage relationship; (2) They can adjust while resigning to the fact that their marriage will not improve and that they will continue to grow apart; or (3) They can work hard on their relationship and experience growth into contentment and satisfaction as tools are gained, issues are worked through and resolved, and increased companionate and altruistic love are developed with a little romantic love added to the mix.
One of the toughest things for couples to understand is that as the relationship develops and moves through these stages, intense and passionate love tends to diminish as it moves gradually into these other styles of love ~ companionate and altruistic love. Every couple must make the decision whether or not they will dissolve the relationship, adjust in the relationship with resignation, or adjust in the relationship with growing contentment and satisfaction. Many marriages could adjust with growing contentment and satisfaction if they would commit to recognizing their marriage needs help. Become aware of strengths and weaknesses, understand the contexts that influence marital adjustment, gain the tools to improve traits that help or hurt the relationship, and commit to a plan for improving the relationship.
Qualities of a Healthy Relationship
- Accept each other’s basic personalities exactly the way they are. Never think you can change someone. However, expect yourselves to change over time as both of you mature together.
- Find and pay attention to what you admire about each other.
- Nurture your feeling of affection for each other.
- Learn and practice skills to really listen and hear each other.
- Learn and practice skills for resolving relationship conflicts.
- Make time together and have some fun. Do not let conflicts or arguments spoil those times.
- Take the time to learn what your partner wants as demonstration of your love.
- Take the time to be affectionate and nurture one another.
- Be a team – a united front. Tackle any problems as a team. Learn and practice skills for solving problems.
- Learn from your mistakes. Learn to forgive.
- Honor your commitment. Do not put yourself in situations where you might be tempted to mess around with someone else.
- Recognize when you need support and know where you can find it.