Although there is no single framework for achieving a healthy relationship, most involve a number of shared attributes that relate to bringing the individuals together while at the same time respecting each other’s differences. For the purposes of this article, it is understood to mean that a healthy relationship is an enduring relationship, one that stands the test of time and is characterized by the happiness of all partners involved.
What distinguishes a relationship from a simple acquaintance is that there must be a high level of commitment between those involved. If one individual is more devoted to the relationship than the other, this is not healthy as it often speaks to a hierarchical dynamic in which one member is privileged over the other. While in some cultures relationships last for decades even while one member of the relationship wields more power than the other, this is not a healthy relationship as it often leads to unhappiness for the subordinated individual.
The balanced power dynamic also pertains to the intellectual dynamic between the two. For instance, it is often obstructive for one member of the relationship to feel as though they are significantly more intelligent than the other as this can create a professorial dynamic that can lead to feelings of inferiority in the other individual. Both partners should have a high level of respect for the intelligence of the other, knowing both that they can trust the insight and advice of their partner and that their spouse’s advice will be offered with each of their best interests in mind.
Both members of the relationship should value the other’s company, and possess an appreciation for the shared experience that characterizes a relationship. In this vein, it is often useful for the individuals to possess similar interests as this can bring them closer together. For the most part, they should each feel that being in the company of their partner punctuates an experience. At the same time, it is often healthy for them to possess hobbies that are not shared as this can give them personal space when needed and make them appreciate each other’s company all the more. However, these hobbies should be communicated and a partner should be open about disclosing their activities with their spouse.
Since a healthy relationship is an enduring relationship, both partners should have an appreciation for the other that does not derive only from physical attraction. While it is nice if they are physically attracted to each other (and this is often what brings them together before becoming acquainted) this should not be the foundation for the relationship as it is superficial and people’s appearances change over time. People should possess an understanding that while their physical makeup is not always in their control, one can always control their sensibility and personality, rather than appearance, should represent the foundation for the relationship. Using these principles, a couple can develop a relationship that is happy, enduring, and therefore healthy.