#3 A give and take mentality which includes respect for each other. What do you give to the relationships that you belong to and what do you take from them? In order to have balance, each partner needs to be prepared to do both periodically. In a parent/child relationship, a parent gives guidance, nurturing and structure while the child gives back, (hopefully) respect and a desire to be taught. The heavier load of giving occurs by the parent in the early stages of that relationship for sure but eventually the child is in the position of giving more help and love to the parent due to the parent's aging at some point.
We need to "take" in a relationship as well. When we are hurt or suffering in some way, we want to be able to count on the fact that our partner is willing to give to us and that it is OK to take. Would we do the same for them? In a marital relationship, you will constantly come across times when you are able to give and when you need to take. Please don't keep score in this area, though, as that creates resentment. It's not about the number of times each was asked to give, but in most instances, was your partner willing to give whatever they had at the time?
Be aware of an improper balance of power, though, such as your partner constantly taking advantage of your good nature. This could border on an abusive relationship. If you suspect you may be in an abusive relationship, please seek guidance immediately from a local support system.
#4 Both individuals can be themselves, with no need to "play pretend." This one is pretty simple. Can you b
e yourself when you are around this person? If you have some quirks, are you able to embrace them in front of the other person? Siblings tend to be the best at "letting it all hang out" and just being who they want to be.
With a couple, it should be the same way. In the beginning there tends to be a desire to be reserved and maybe even a little shy as you put your best foot forward, but once you really begin to get to know that person, can you truly be your goofy self in front of them? I hope so. If not, then it's probably not the right relationship for you.
#5 A genuine "want" to be in the relationship, not a "need" to be in the relationship. The dictionary states that a 'want' is a desire to possess or do something, while a 'need' is required because it is essential or very important. It is much easier to be in a relationship when you retain the power to decide whether or not to be in it.
Once that 'want' turns into a 'need' it is much harder to make that decision and you may get caught up in an unhealthy situation. I have seen many couples stay in a marriage because they need financial support or they would not know how to raise the kids, all because they allowed the relationship to become a "need". By nurturing the relationship and keeping it balanced, with both partners knowing all responsibilities, they stay in the 'want' category, not in the 'need' category.
#6 Both individuals share the power appropriately. Here, we want to be sure that everyone possesses the appropriate power for the relationship to be healthy. For example, in a parent/child relationship, we want to be sure the parent has the power to make decisions and be protective over the child. Believe it or not, in some households, the children possess the power and run the home, rather than the parents. This is not healthy, nor is it good for a child to take on overwhelming responsibility at a young age. This can be adjusted, but it takes much effort to do so.
In a marital relationship, both individuals should retain balanced power for most decisions, especially important ones. Do not purchase a home, just because your spouse likes it. If you do not like it, exert your ability to have some power and express your opinion. If you do not, you may resent the home, and your spouse, for years to come. Holding out for the right choice may take longer, but it will allow a balance of overall power in the relationship.
That is the end of my guidelines but also keep these things in mind. While in a long-term relationship of any kind, be sure to have frequent discussions with each other and evaluate how things are going, especially if you value the relationship and something seems "off". Being open and honest can save the relationship. Something may not be quite right, but it may be due to outside influences, not because of something you have done. If you feel hurt by the other person, be sure to schedule some time to talk about what you are feeling. You have a right to feel the way you feel, but so does the other person.
Keeping these guidelines handy so you can evaluate your relationships periodically may save you from investing in people with little or no satisfaction. If you are experiencing challenges regarding these guidelines, connect with me through my website and I would be more than happy to help you sort things out.