There are many studies available that predict a longer and happier life if you are in a contented relationship. The biggest reason, it seems, is that this kind of relationship brings out the best in us because we feel supported, safe, and valued.
I’m in a healthy, supportive and loving relationship. My partner and I support each other in a number of ways:
- We have a genuine regard for each other. One sure indicator that a relationship is over is if one partner feels contempt for the other. That feeling of contempt means that one is no longer open to seeing their partner in an intimate, connected way. And that means the relationship is over. Mutual regard can’t be forced, but is a bottom-line necessity for a healthy relationship.
- We are genuinely interested in each other’s point of view, whether that point of view is different from each other’s or not. We want to know and appreciate both our similarities and our differences. It’s often the differences that enrich our lives. Without that, we can’t grow.
- We support each other’s growth and development. This means that we feel free to criticize constructively, and to challenge each other. That kind of challenging can only happen when we trust that our partner cares about us and wants the best for us.
- We support each other’s dreams. We know what those dreams are, and we help each other achieve them, rather than judge or compare their dreams to our own.
- We tell each other the truth. No lies, not even white ones. You know when you’re being lied to, and you can trust that your partner does too. Ultimately, telling lies – or not speaking up when you should – undermines mutual trust in one another, and will eventually destroy intimacy.
The February, 2019 issue of Psychology Today has an article titled The Michelangelo Effect that speaks of the positive impact of our intimate friends, especially our partners. Well worth a look.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .