Updated: Feb 26, 2021
The Four Aspects of Healthy Relationships
Sometimes our relationships get into funks. They aren’t going as well as we would like and we can’t work out why. Today's post will help you get clarity on the four aspects of healthy relationships. I've included some questions to help you see what might be missing in your relationships. These questions work for most types of relationships, whether romantic, friendship, or familial. I suggest getting your journal or a piece of paper and writing out your answers and thoughts. Writing helps us get clarity and accountability.
1. Love – well, all levels of affection really!
When was the last time you went out of your way to communicate your affection for this person?
How does this person love to receive love? Do they appreciate spending time together, kind words of affirmation, thoughtful gifts, physical affection, or acts of service/help?
What does this person mean to you? Have you told them that recently? How might you tell them?
When was the last time they showed you affection? Have you thanked them? Do they know the ways you like to receive love?
2. Trust – this is the most fragile of the four
Can you rely on this person? What can you rely on them for? What can’t you rely on them for?
Would this person keep your confidence if you told them something sensitive?
How have you built trust in this relationship? Have you been reliable? Have you kept their confidence?
How can you improve your consistency, loyalty, honesty, or reliability with this person? Is there something realistic you need to ask them for that will strengthen your trust in them?
3. Understanding – the most time consuming
Does this person take the time to understand you? When you speak to them does it feel like they are really listening? Do they offer quick advice or dismiss your experiences?
When you are with this person do you feel like opening up? Do you stick to the same safe topics as always?
How well do you listen to this person? Do you respond thoughtfully and with empathy? Do you ask questions to show that you care and want to know more? How much time do you have for this person?
How might you expand the topics of conversation with this person? Do you want to share more or listen more? Or both?
4. Respect – often this is the most neglected
When you are with this person, do you feel that they are interested in you? That they have an affirming, appreciative posture towards you?
Does this person remember important dates/people/things about you? Would they recommend or recognise you for your strengths or interests? Do they affirm you?
Have you shown this person that you prize/admire/appreciate them? What is it about them that you respect? How do you show that?
How might you improve your thoughtfulness or thankfulness of them? How might you affirm their strengths?
There is plenty there to think about and work on! Choose one aspect to build over the next week:
I am aiming to build [love/trust/understanding/respect] with [name of person] by [what you will do].
Relationships are meaningful. They can drag us down or lift us up. They are messy and require patience and grace. They are definitely worth our attention and care.