Best Kept Secrets To A Healthy Relationship

Isaac A. Orr

How To Facilitate Our Emotions In Relationships

Want to know a secret? Healthy relationships are attainable. Not a secret you say? Well then why is it that not many people talk about healthy relationships or how to grow them?

Rarely do we have a “perfect partner” just drop into our lives, but the truth is the idea of a perfect partner is a myth.  The real goal should be cultivating healthy relationships.  The secret to a healthy relationship is strong character, genuinely caring for the other person, common goals, and mutual commitment. “Perfect” relationships take real work; and what some would call perfect is really just another way to say healthy.

Secret 1: In order to achieve a healthy, rewarding relationship, we need to set realistic expectations.

What Is A Healthy Relationship? [1] labels healthy characteristics as:

  • Mutual Respect: Valuing who the other person is and understanding each other's boundaries.
  • Trust: Feeling confident that both people can relate on one another to be honest and have each other's back.
  • Honesty: Being truthful to help build and strengthen relationships.
  • Compromise: Acknowledge different points of view. Both people are willing to give and take and neither person always gets their way.
  • Individuality: Neither person compromises who the are, or bases their identity on the other person. Both people continue seeing their friends and doing the things they love. Both are supportive of each other pursuing new things and making new friends.
  • Good Communication: Speaking Honestly and open. If one person needs to sort out their feelings first, the other person respects that.
  • Anger Control: Dealing with anger by cooling off instead of lashing out -- Take deep breaths, count to ten, or take a walk. Once calm, both people talk about it together.
  • Fighting Fair: Coming up with possible solutions by sticking to the subject and avoiding insults. Both people can take a short break from each other if the discussion gets too heated.
  • Problem Solving: Working together to identify new solutions by breaking a problem into small parts. Talking through the situation and taking it one step at a time.
  • Understanding: Taking time to recognize what the other person might be feeling.
  • Self-Confidence: Having confidence in yourself can help your relationships with others. It allows you to be calm and comfortable enough to allow others to express their opinions freely.
  • Being a Role Model: Embodying what respect means to inspire each other, friends, and family to behave in a respectful way.
  • Ensuring a Healthy Physical Relationship: If you and your partner decide to engage in any kind of physical activity, be sure it is something you are both comfortable with. Neither of you should feel pressured or forced to engage in any activity outside your comfort zone -- or without consent.

Secret 2: The most important part of growing a healthy relationship is communication.

Letting your partner know how you feel, what expectations and needs you have, and the reasons why will help you both understand each other better.

How do you keep a relationship growing?

Secret 3: Seek to understand one another and leave room for growth. 

Even in healthy relationships, arguments happen. How we approach arguments is very important to the longevity and health of the relationship. When arguing, most of the time, disagreements get hung up when both partners feel they are not being understood. They may feel their partner is being selfish and not caring towards them. This is where Secret 3 helps immensely. Knowing your partner’s intent, especially in an argument, will help give you a realistic reminder of the reason they are fighting. 

When disagreements happen, it can seem like selfishness raising its ugly head, but most of the time, the feelings behind the argument occur because of something else. Other reasons include,

  • They think something is unfair
  • They don't think something is the best for you
  • They don'twant to see you get hurt
  • They don't want to disappoint
  • They have different expectations due to lack of communication 

Secret 4: Set realistic expectations.

But wait. That was Secret 1. Yes. Yes it was. I am repeating it, because now we introduce the mindset that can help us with this secret.

If you,

  • (Secret 1) Set your initial Expectations knowing this relationship will take some time and effort
  • (Secret 2) Remember, communication is key
  • (Secret 3) Seek to understand the reasons your partner says and does things
  • (Secret 4) Reset your expectations based on the information you obtain

you will find the foundation of building a healthy relationship.

Find more info in our Best Resources tab at Ready Set ASPIRE.

[1] Taken From Adapted from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2005). Choose respect community action kit: Helping preteens and teens build healthy relationships. Retrieved from is external) (PDF, 60 pages)

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