Sometimes we want to have a relationship so bad that we don’t stop to think if it is the right one, let alone a healthy one. Our needling desire to have someone in our lives so easily trumps the need to examine and scrutinize what we are really getting into. Our mental checklist for a partner is lacking. Our standards have been compromised. We’re just lovesick, meaning practically any one will do and that’s okay with you. You’re just happy you found someone and after diving in headfirst, you’re determined to make it work. Or not. This feeling of rushing into commitment is fast becoming the hallmark of our times. But hastiness could potentially cause us more harm in the future.
It’s like buying a car before you inspect it. At first you’re just happy to be driving, but at any given moment, your brakes could give out and in a blink of an eye, you’re a crumpled up pile of twisted metal on the side of an uncaring highway. Bleak analogies aside, the point of this article is to reeducate yourself on healthy relationship goals, like intimacy, respect, security, good communication and a sense of being valued.
In the below TED Talk, relationship expert, Joanne Davila points out that most of us are not critically thinking about the essential building blocks of relationships. She wants to remind us of what should be really important to us. She argues that by not being self-aware or cognizant of your partner’s needs is what leads to incessant fighting, contempt, criticism and even violence.
Davila promotes three basic qualities that everyone should have in order to foster a healthy relationship and they are:
- Insight – This is about having awareness of what your emotional needs are, how you react to situations, what you really want out of a relationship and how to respectfully communicate these things to your partner in a constructive way.
- Mutuality – This is the quiet understanding that both you and your partner have needs that both need to be fairly met. Mutuality lets you factor both your needs with your decisions.
- Emtional Regulation – This is the ability to recognize how your emotional response affects your partner and how they also affect you.
While Joanne Davila provides pre-marriage counseling to couples about to tie the knot, she strongly points out the fact that this is often too late if the couple is already toxic! No amount of warm-fuzzy therapy is going to reverse all of the bad habits and passive-aggressive infighting. Instead, Davila encourages couples to figure out what their issues are from the beginning with the aforementioned qualities in mind. It all starts with honesty and a willingness on both parties to discuss the big matters even when things appear to be hunky dory from beginning.
Take a look under the hood before you set out on your life’s road trip. The best preparation for good work tomorrow is always doing good work today.
Check out the TED talk for a more in-depth look into nurturing and maintaining healthy relationships.