Anything that is healthy must of necessity be alive and vigorous so that life and vitality is flowing through it. So a healthy relationship can be defined as one where both of you are fully alive and occupied in life and living; and the joy and vigor of life and living is flowing through each of you and into your relationship. Consequently you are both growing as individuals so that you are conquering limitations and challenges in life and in your relationship with each other and with other people. In contrast an unhealthy relationship would be one where one or both of you are not engaged into life but in their inadequacies or past negative experiences so that there is only negativity coming from one or both of you and it is slowly killing your relationship. So how can you measure the health of your relationship?
1. Growth. Has there been positive progress in the challenges that you have faced in both your lives and in your relationship? Is your intimacy increasing? Are you closer to your partner today than say 5 years ago? Have you become better friends as a couple? Do you admire and appreciate your partner more today than you ever did before? Has your trust in your partner grown? If your answer to all these questions is ‘yes’, then this is a good clue that your relationship is healthy. If on the other hand your answer to most of these questions is ‘no’ then your relationship is not growing and is instead stunted, a sure sign of an unhealthy relationship.
2. Self expression. Are you increasingly free to be yourself in the relationship? Is your partner? Does your relationship continue to provide a safe place for both of you to try out your different gifts and abilities? Do you both encourage the other to enjoy their hobbies even when their hobby doesn’t interest the other? If your answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then this indicates that yours is a healthy relationship. If on the other hand most of your answers are ‘no’ than this is a clear indicator that you are stifling each other and you need to find out what fears you both have that make you want to control or emasculate each other otherwise one of you will reach your limit and break out from the shackles created by the other.
3. Relationship needs. This is rather obvious since you are both in a relationship to primarily to get your relationship needs met (and to meet those of your partner). Are your needs for companionship being met in your relationship? What about those of your partner? Is your friendship with your partner growing? Do you increasingly love hanging out with your partner? Do you enjoy your partner’s presence in your life? Can you discuss anything and everything with your partner? If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions then this is an indicator that your relationship is healthy. If you answered ‘no’ to most of these questions then your relationship needs are not being met in your relationship and you are a prime candidate for infidelity by anyone who comes in and meets some of these needs.
If your relationship is largely unhealthy than it’s actually a heartbreak or break up waiting to happen should someone with a better offer come along. You must evaluate what fears, hurts or dysfunctions are holding each of you back so that you can reverse the decline and begin to heal your relationship.