7 Pillars of Healthy Love
Authors like Walter Riso or Jorge Bucay tell us about the huge importance of a couple showing gratitude for the gestures of care and affection they make toward each other. Not taking them as a given and recognizing them will help in creating, experiencing, and enjoying a full, healthy love.
It can sometimes seem like a mission impossible to find the right person. And for them to think we’re the right person too. So, when it does happen, we feel a huge excitement. So much that the little annoying things in life seem like they matter less. It’s like they’ve become even smaller in view of such luck.
On the other hand, it’s also common to see the world through rose colored glasses during the first stages of a relationship. A tone as fantastic as it is dangerous, since it can end up blinding us and stopping us from seeing the relationship isn’t as healthy as it should be. So, it’s important for a love to be healthy from the beginning.
Taking on Responsibilities
There are responsibilities in every relationship. If something’s not working between two people, it’s both of their problem and both of them have a part of the solution in their hands. Not necessarily in equal parts, of course.
In this sense, it’s also not about thinking we’re responsible for everything that happens, or not accepting any wrongdoing. The issue is really more in finding a balance with the commitments each person makes and can achieve. In this sense, a smart couple will know how to share these responsibilities so both their strong points will shine out.
To share these responsibilities, communication plays a fundamental role. Especially when we’re talking about taking on commitments or reaching agreements. Finally, when the time comes to take on responsibilities, another important point is to realistically look at what we can do and what we can’t. Maybe we can’t buy a really expensive gift, but maybe we could make one by hand. Maybe we can’t go pick the other person up from work, but we can take them there.
We’re talking about a process, with various sub-processes, of constant growth. A process that will take hold in the couple if their love is healthy. And also in an individual way for both of the people who shape it.
We all have an idea–before, during, and after a relationship starts–of what our partner should be like. Just like how we have an idea of how our friends or family members should be. Plus, most of us, when we have a partner, tend to compare them to their “ideal lookalike” and do everything we can so they’ll line up more with that.
In this distance, the one between the ideal partner and the real one, there tend to be attitudes, thoughts, or actions from the other person that annoy us. Well then, for the partnership to work we’re going to have to accept a good bit of what’s in this box. With some things we can reach agreements, but with others we’ll either have to accept them or find a new partner.
In this sense, both people having adjusted their levels of tolerance for the reality they share will be fundamental for healthy love to keep growing. On the other hand, enacting the changes in a smart way, without falling into the temptation to manipulate the other, will help the couple’s growth in the same way.
So, when they’re learned behaviors, like not picking up their plate from the table, or other household chores, we can have a conversation with our partner and ask them to change their behavior or decide not to do anything and accept the situation. Or, if it’s something that forms part of their personality, like for example, that our partner is more timid than us, we should accept them that way. What we should never accept are any of those behaviors that assault our own integrity. Like beatings and insults, just like in any other kind of relationship.
Healthy love is more of an issue of quality than quantity. Loving a lot doesn’t mean loving well. Loving well implies respect, trust, honesty, mutual support, living in a relationship with a balance between giving and receiving, maintaining separate identities, and good communication.
7 Pillars to Base Healthy Love On
“Stay with a love that
gives you answers not problems.
Safety not fear.
Trust not doubt”.
Summing up, a healthy couple’s relationship mutually gives and receives:
Respect is the ability to see and accept the person as they are. Being conscious of their uniqueness. It’s wanting to see how they develop in line with their own desires and paths, and now in line with our plans.
Trust in a couple means not having to verify everything the other person does and says. It’s feeling like we can trust the other person to share the good moments just as much as the bad ones.
It’s important to be sincere with ourselves about our feelings, and to be honest with the other person. There can be no affective exchange without self-inspection. This means being sure our own preferences, desires, dreams, wishes, and demands are reasonable and don’t violate our partner’s rights.
It’s important to show mutual support. Being able to differentiate our needs from the other person’s and letting them grow personally and professionally.
“True love is nothing more than the unavoidable desire to help the other person be who they are.”
5. Equality (balance between giving and receiving)
Both members of the couple have a responsibility over the relationship and should care for it. Reciprocity is the basis of a fair love, of a healthy love. When we give love, we expect love. Because affective relationships are fueled by exchange. It’s not greed, but actually reciprocal generosity: we’re more together.
“All this about how romantic love expects nothing in exchange is something submissive people invented: if you give, you want to receive. It’s normal, it’s recoprocity.”
6. Personal Identity
It’s important to maintain separate identities within the couple. Where each member can maintain their own identity and all that stuff that makes them who they are. Practicing responsible individualism, where each person keeps their self-love alive in the relationship they’ve chosen. Caring for the other person, but also for ourselves. We’ll be complete beings.
“To fall in love is to love coincidences, and to love is to fall in love with differences.”
7. Good Communication
Communication is key in any relationship. In a romantic one, one where we’re trying to achieve a healthy love, it’s absolutely necessary to keep up good communication when it comes to telling a story. But also with negotiation or gratitude.
A couple is formed by two people who should make decisions together and won’t always share the same point of view. For them to reach agreements it’s necessary to have conversations calmly and with trust.
Maybe these seven pillars won’t guarantee the future of a couple. But they will create the certainty that, while the love is there, it’ll be healthy, dignified, fun, and a source of growth and inspiration for the people sharing it. What could be better than watching over them?