The Keys to Relational Wellness

            When we talk about wellness, I feel like the first thoughts that always come to my mind are physical wellness and emotional/mental wellness, but somehow relational wellness falls to the wayside. I truly believe that relational wellness is a key aspect in holistic health, and especially is a main factor in mental and emotional wellness. So what are the things we need to be aware of in relationships that will keep us living happy and healthy lives? I believe it is communication, mutual respect and appreciation, encouragement and support, time, and of course, love.

            I think one of the main issues in relationships is failure to actually discuss or acknowledge issues. Too often, couples are afraid to create tension and bottle up the things that bother them. This is a much worse tactic because then those things that are easily fixable continue to happen and create bitterness and come out inappropriately in a rude manner or at the wrong time. If something is bothering you, politely tell your partner in private and if they really care about you and your relationship, they will make an effort to stop. Also, since relationships are two-sided, if your partner comes to you with an issue be sure to listen well rather than trying to justify and defend yourself and try to stop (or start) doing what they ask of you.

            Mutual respect and appreciation is also crucial in a healthy relationships. Respecting your partner goes beyond being proud of who they are and what they do; it’s honoring and respecting their current needs. If they are really tired and stressed from a long day and work and they just want to sit on the couch and watch TV, it’s not the best time to ask them to fix the garbage disposal. On the flip side of that, being appreciative for the things your partner does; even the small things like not asking to fix the garbage disposal when they see you’re super tired, should be acknowledged. Everyone likes knowing that their effort is seen and enjoyed. Obviously you may not catch everything your partner needs or does, but do your best to do things for them and thank them when you notice something.

            Along with being acknowledged and respected is being encouraged and supported. I feel like this is a bigger deal than people make it out to be. There’s no better feeling than the person you love noticing something you did and saying, “You did amazing! I’m so proud of you!” But before the awesome achievement is the push to do something good for them. Sometimes it’s really scary to go out and try something new, and a caring partner will push you to do what’s best for you (even when it’s not always ideal for the relationship). Helping your partner unlock all their potential and celebrating their achievements is a crucial part in a thriving relationship.

            Another difficult aspect of relationships is balancing them. It can be difficult to balance significant other with friends and parents, and not to mention other external aspects of life such as school, work, social time, relaxation, etc. In all relationships, not just dating, we all need to be aware that the people we love are complex people who wear many hats. We all have a lot more going on than just one person. That said, healthy relationships will always make the effort. Despite the schedules and deadlines, they will always find a way to show you you are always the most important.

            Clearly the top key to success in all relationships is love. True love is selfless; it puts others first. It hopes for the best in all things. It is kind and gentle spirited, and it does not hold grudges. Love is never ending, you and those you love should never give up on each other. Love is having your first thought in the morning be, “I hope they slept well and have a great day.” Love does always make a grand gesture, but it is always doing the small things to reassure and keep the fire burning. We need love more than any other physical thing, it fills us up and gives us power to keep going.

            I think the last myth in relational wellness is that it’s only for committed couples. Relational wellness is key for all people, even single people. Singles need to be okay in singleness, remember, you are enough. You don’t need anyone else to complete you. And you certainly don’t need someone to see your value before you see it yourself. We all have relationships: parent relationships, friendships, etc. The key in all relationships is communication, support and acknowledgement, time, and selfless love.


*All graphics courtesy of