From 7 Keys to a Healthy and Happy Relationship in Psychology Today by Stephanie Sarkis Ph.D.
- Mutual Respect
If you don’t have this - well, it’s going to be a tough road. This doesn’t mean you agree with everything your partner says or does. It does mean that you have admiration for each other and steady undercurrent of love and trust throughout your relationship. You also have each other’s back.
John Gottman, a pioneer in studying couples and marriage, could tell within minutes whether a couple was in it for the long haul or if they weren’t going to make it - with startling accuracy. How could he tell? If there were any signs of contempt in the couple’s interaction with each other, the relationship usually didn’t make it.
Abuse, whether it is physical, verbal or emotional, defies mutual respect in every way, shape and form. You have to have mutual respect to have a healthy relationship.
- Common Goals and Values
Couples with very different interests can have healthy relationships - what counts is that they share common goals and values. Couples of different religions (or non-religion) and cultural backgrounds can have healthy relationships - what makes a healthy relationship is sharing core beliefs. You may both share the belief that giving back to your community is important. You may both share the belief that extended family members are welcome to live with you at any time. Values and beliefs differ for everyone.
Common goals include intangibles like raising happy and healthy children, and tangibles like saving up for a house. You can work together on setting one-year, five-year, even ten- and twenty-year goals. Working towards something together strengthens your bond.
What did the Buddha say:
Householders, if both husband and wife wish to see one another not only in this present life but also in future lives, they should have the same faith, the same virtuous behavior, the same generosity and the same wisdom. Then they will see one another not only in this present life but also in future lives. AN 4.55