Relationships are central to our lives and our survival. There is no doubt about that, human beings cannot survive alone. We need friends, families, spouses, and co-workers in our lives all the time and we are constantly creating new relationships or ending relationships for one reason or another. Sometimes we are in the “right relationship” with others and other times we are in unhealthy, dysfunctional, or abusive relationships at home or at work/ school/ university, or the community at large. So, what is the “right relationship” and how do we know we are in it? How can we become more conscious and intentional about our relationships?
Faith Fuller, co-founder of the Center for Right Relationship CRR Global and co-creator of ORSC (Organization and Relationship Systems Coaching,) says that being in the right relationship means “bringing the best of yourself to any relationship situation.” That requires an awareness of what your best self is in that particular situation and asking yourself “What does the situation need?” Sometimes it can mean that you just support your partner in a certain situation without bringing up painful topics. Other times it can mean that you bring up confrontative issues so that the relationship can grow.
The relationship is certainly a messy business because it is constantly changing and flowing. However, there are some key points that stand out as indicators of being in the right relationship:
- Letting people know that you love them and that you appreciate them and let them know what it is that you appreciate about them.
- Showing people that you care about them, even when you have a difficult issue to discuss with them. You can begin with something positive like showing appreciation for their hard work or everything they do for the family or team, then bring up the issue and end with positivity such as thanking them or giving them more appreciation. Sandwich is the hard issue between two pieces of positivity.
- Always say you’re sorry when you need to. Some people have a hard time apologizing because it feels like they are admitting that they’re wrong, and even though that is a very noble thing to do, apologizing isn’t just about admitting that you were wrong. Apologizing is about acknowledging the pain that a certain experience might have caused your partner or co-worker, as well as acknowledging the impact you had on them in that experience.
- Figure out what’s right for you while recognizing that it might not be right for them, and can you meet each other halfway?
- Honor each other’s dreams: When Dr. John Gottman, the man who is described as America’s foremost relationship expert, was asked if he could boil down all of his studies and his life’s work into one piece of advice that he could give to couples, what would that be? He said, “honor each other’s dreams.” Do you know your partner’s dream? Who’s dreams are being honored? Who’re dreams are being postponed? What’s the pattern?
Who is compromising? Sometimes both partners’ needs are not synchronized, what can be done about that? It’s a constant struggle to honor each others’ dreams.
- Honor where your partner is in the relationship. Are they in the dreaming phase or in consensus reality, more involved in the details of everyday life? Ask about their wants, needs, desires, values, and fears. This will help you deepen your connection with each other.
- Sometimes right relationship means a right to divorce. How to end the relationship with honor and respect. When you are a better person outside the relationship than when you are in it then it might be time to consider ending the relationship.
- The right relationship can also be in relationship with oneself. What does it mean to be in the right relationship with yourself?
Ten Signs of A Healthy Couples’ Relationship:
In general, the relationship should be the “safe place” for each partner, This safety can be felt and lived by both partners when the following traits exist:
- Comfortable Pace: The relationship moves at a speed that feels enjoyable for each person.
- Honesty: You can be truthful and candid without fearing how the other person will respond.
- Respect: You value one another’s beliefs and opinions, and love one another for who you are as a person.
- Kindness: You are caring and empathetic to one another, and provide comfort and support.
- Healthy Conflict: Openly and respectfully discussing issues and confronting disagreements non-judgmentally.
- Trust: Confidence that your partner won’t do anything to hurt you or ruin the relationship.
- Independence: You have space to be yourself outside of the relationship.
- Equality: The relationship feels balanced and everyone puts the same effort into the success of the relationship.
- Taking Responsibility: Owning your own actions and words.
- Fun: You enjoy spending time together and bringing out the best in each other.
Ten Signs of A Healthy Team:
- A clear, shared vision and common purpose: the team members are clear about why they do what they do and where they are going.
- Well-defined core values: it’s important to take time to brainstorm and boil down the most important values that the team holds and refer to them constantly.
- Avoiding team toxins: those toxins are blame and criticism, stonewalling, defensiveness, and contempt.
- An environment of collaboration and engagement: There is an atmosphere of freedom where differences of opinion can be shared and every voice is welcomed.
- Trust: When there is trust, the result is creativity, new ideas, and ultimately, an environment conducive to high performance.
- A growth mindset: the sense of constant improvement and a goal to find ways to get better each day.
- Life-work balance: team members have time to relax, recharge and spend time with their loved ones.
- Healthy conflict resolution: all teams will have conflicts that are a part of growth and change. Healthy teams invest in training and coaching to create healthy protocols for conflict resolution.
- Commitment and accountability: healthy teams are not only committed to their goals and values but also establish a system for accountability.
- Attention to results: not just materialistic or financial results, but all the goals that the team or organization set for themselves.
- Relationship Matters Podcast with Katy Churchman: Season 1, Episode 1.
- Lencioni, Patrick. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Times Group Books. 2013.