Building a Healthy Relationship Outside Romance

Where does a healthy relationship begin?

Do you ever wonder why most articles on healthy relationships focus on coupling, love, sex, and marriage? Why aren’t we encouraged to pursue healthy relationships in all areas of life? Shouldn’t healthy relationships be something we all desire because they will enhance our lives? If you agree with me, then please keep reading and consider establishing healthier relationships based on the power of one.

ONE person – YOU.

Be yourself, because YOU are the best, most precious gift you will bring to any relationship. Your heart, character, style, etc., attracts people to you. So, don’t ever cease to be, to grow, or to become. “No one is you and that is your power.”

ONE moment – NOW.

Stop waiting for things to happen and relationships to start. Be willing to see the myriad of possibilities that are already within your grasp. Consider the host of unique—dare I say wonderful—people who are waiting to be known. Take the initiative and reach out with purpose. You might be amazed by what, and who, you find. “Happiness, not in another place but this place… not for another hour, but this hour.”

ONE life – LIVE.

Give what you value. If it’s love, then find someone to love. No, I’m not saying that you should hug everyone you see. I am saying that there is world of people who could use a kind word, a smile, or a compliment. Start with the simple, and as you get to know people, be creative. Let the things you perceive your life is missing guide your way. “The best way to find yourself… is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

ONE-on-ONE – RISK.

Groups are great, but personal relationships are developed with individuals. Virtual closeness can be a precursor to physical proximity, but it’s not a substitute. If the goal is to be fully known, we have to risk all and appear before people just as we are. Doing this isn’t wrong or awkward, it’s real. Such self-disclosure has the potential to build trust, destroy fear, and remove shame. If we intend to share any part of our lives with another, we must learn to be real.

Here’s a real life example: Via SKYPE, as I emerge victorious from an Overwatch weekend gaming tournament. I appear unusually rumpled, but ecstatic. However, in person, rumpled is quickly overshadowed by ripeness, and ecstasy won’t even be considered until I get a shower. To live in relationship with another person means that you will risk offending and being offended; misunderstanding and being misunderstood. But the rewards of being fully known and wholly loved are worth the risks. “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make.”

ONE result – RELATIONSHIPS.

The relationships that will follow such wholehearted living will be varied, beautiful, complex, simple, gratifying, frustrating, and fulfilling, etc.… as are the individuals involved in them. Many will be reciprocal, some will not. Never abandon the power of ONE – YOU. If you choose to retain your power, relationships won’t define or diminish you, they will enrich you. “Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they’re trying to find someone who’s going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take.”

Iris Proctor
Iris is the director of ArborWoman.