How to have healthy relationships
Is she or he the one? Is she really a good friend? Do you know the 4 steps towards a healthy relationship? Listen in to find out how to have honest healthy relationships.
I’m sure all of us has had both good and bad relationships. I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, I’m also talking about friendships too. When someone betrays our trust, is unkind, unfaithful and does other negative things to us and that someone was supposed to be our friend, it can really hurt! That experience can cause us to be mistrustful of others and may even hurt our self – esteem. It’s even worse if it happens a lot. What type of friends, boyfriends, girlfriends are we choosing? Real friendships take time and work on both sides. We need to look at character traits of potential friends and boyfriends.
There are different levels of relationships. The first level is casual and involves observation. You know of them and are learning more about them. You may work with them, are in the same classes at school, in the same car pool, etc. Usually in group settings. This level is where you are observing their characteristics. Are they funny, kind, calm? How is their work ethic? Are they always in a bad mood? Are they honest, compassionate, have self – control, joyful, faithful (see Galatians 5:22-23, fruits of the spirit). Are they heavy drug and alcohol users? Are they late all the time? Would you introduce them to your family?
These questions will be answered over time. Observe their actions, weaknesses, strong points before getting close. If their character is a concern just stay in the casual level don’t compromise your character and heart by getting closer. Guard your heart.
The second level you start to get close and like one another. This level is where you are starting to earn each others trust. This level is where you start to learn about their values and their feelings.
Some questions to ask are: What is their passion? What do they value? Are they jealous of your other friends? What are their priorities? Do they anger easily? What are their goals/ dreams? How is their relationship with their family? Do they have a lot of exes? (if dating) Are they controlling? Are you starting to see negative patterns? And other questions like these.
Again, if their values and feelings are negative or hurtful to you or others, stop the relationship now. It may hurt a little, but if you continue it will hurt more. If this is the start to a romantic relationship, please don’t have sex with them yet. Sex is defined as any act that causes arousal, not just intercourse. Having sex involves hormones that causes bonding and makes it even harder to leave that person. I will talk more about sex and bonding in a later blog.
In the third level you and your close friend earned each other’s trust by showing who you really are and are accepting of it. Are their feelings clear to you? Do they allow you to be real and honest? Can you talk to them about their strengths and weaknesses and they don’t get upset? Will they accept help? Will you? This is also the serious dating stage; however, I still caution not to have any sexual relations. It is best to wait until marriage because of the emotional and physical consequences that can happen with premarital sex. I know some may not like to hear it, but as I cautioned on my home page brace yourself the truth can hurt! I say this to help not harm you.
Fourth level is mature and affectionate. This is reached after spending lots of time together and getting to know each other. You have earned the trust of the other and are willing to work through conflicts in a healthy, mature way. You have a love for them and have a healthy bond. (Yes this can be done without having sex!)
Having healthy relationships is important to living an abundant life. We are meant to be around others, to help, laugh, share and grow with each other, it will make your quality of life better. Remember there will be some ups and downs in relationships, no one is perfect, we use those experiences to help our friends out with their weaknesses.
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Christina Leeman MPH, CHES, writer and educator emboldens Christian women to live lives worthy of God.
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