5. Lead with Integrity… Healthy relationships work best when the parties can rely on each other to be responsible, reliable, and committed to keeping their word and commitment to the other person’s best good. Each party must feel that the other person seeks to keep their commitments and promotes actions that show value for “we” and “our” more than personal fixations on “I” and “me”. Healthy relationships have an invisible win/win term to the agreement. Now the question is, how are you leading?
6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate… Talk, listen, understand, and check your assumptions. You can’t have a healthy relationship if you’re always choosing to fly solo with your thoughts, needs, desires, dreams, and concerns. Do what is necessary to effectively let your partner know where you are so they can take the journey of your life with you. If you don’t say, they won’t know. If you don’t listen, you can’t hear. If you don’t seek to understand, you will miss out on seeing who your partner really is. And, if you don’t check your assumptions, you may assume the wrong thing and miss a chance to connect.
7. Choose Intimacy… I once heard a person say if you’re not together, your not together. On the surface, it was easy to think they were just talking about sex, but it was that and then some. They were speaking of Intimacy – closeness, connection, admiration, and friendship. More specifically, they were referring to a staple in healthy relationships, the ability to connect on a heart level, the kind that makes a person feel necessary and seen – “they see me and I’m good in their eyes”. Intimacy supports you turning toward each other for comfort and assurance versus turning away from each other when times get rough. And, taking nothing away from the value of sex, touch, pleasing, and being sexually pleased by your partner, any relationship can have sex as a part of it. However, healthy and fulfilling relationships have intimacy which often results in sex being more plentiful, exciting, enjoyable, and meaningful.
8. Embrace Accountability… A healthy relationship will require each person to be accountable to the needs of the relationship. Additionally, there is also a need for another type of accountability, one that is outside of the relationship. Often seen as accountability through mentors, friends, family members, therapists, and/or clergy, it is a critical asset to growing and building a healthy relationship. Often these are people who both parties have agreed are on the side of the relationship, not on the side of one of the parties in the relationship. Ultimately, they are people you give permission to ask you the tough questions, challenge any dishonesty, and remind you of the relationship goals beyond your personal ego. Chosen wisely, they will often have the wisdom and fortitude to tell you when you are wrong and hold you to doing the right thing. These truth bearers are often in the wings behind every healthy relationship advocating for its success and highest good.
9. Be a Team Player… As the saying goes “Two pair of hands lighten the load”. In order to be a team, you have to be a team player… Laugh, play, strategize and strive to support and champion one another as you grow. Encourage each other’s efforts and willingly wear the team jersey that says, “we’re in this together and I’ve got your back”. Be flexible as you figure out the best direction and paths to take as a couple. Also, recognize that teammates have differences but they can never let conflict divide and conquer. In a nutshell, fight fair, agree to disagree, and know when to stop and move on. Healthy relationships don’t metaphorically fight to the death, use words as intentional weapons, or have negative intentions towards each other. Even in conflict, neither person is deemed the enemy and mutual respect is always warranted.
Taking each day by storm, it’s a choice to be a soft place for the other and partner every step of the way.
Dr. Nicole LaBeach is a Success Strategist who uses her life, relationship and career coaching skills to help celebrities, athletes, business professionals and everyday people get behind the driver’s seat of their own lives.