8 Pillars of a Healthy Relationship

Young couple about to kiss.
Young couple about to kiss.

There are many principles in cultivating a healthy relationship. After traveling around the world, interviewing thousands of couples in five different continents, I discovered the eight pillars of a hot, healthy, happy and harmonious relationship. They are as follows:

Comprehension -- Being able to focus on understanding your partner is one of the key elements to a fruitful and satisfying relationship. It is that capability of being open to your partner's point of view and to seek to understand the situation from your lover's perspective. Comprehension is a two way street and couples who understand the importance of understand as much as being understood is one of the main factors to a successful partnership.

Respect -- Respecting your partner as well as being respected by your partner in words and actions is another key component to a long-term healthy partnership. The act of regularly acknowledging and admiring your partner in both private and social settings clearly communicates the value and importance your partner processes in your heart and mind. In those instances your partner will be filled with appreciation and will set into motion a culture of reciprocity and mutual respect. Accepting and valuing your partner's input, needs and feelings, despite your differences, is also a powerful demonstration of love and respect.

Trust -- Being honest and transparent with one another creates predictability and safety in the relationship. It opens up a space where both of you can confide in one another. In order to develop trust, you and your partner's words and actions need to be congruent, you need to demonstrate reliability and dependability by following through on your commitments. And lastly, that your actions have your partner's best interest at heart.

Friendship -- Being a good friend to your partner means being kind to one another in words and actions. Oftentimes friends share common interests and activities that are fulfilling and mutually enjoyable. Enjoying your partner's company as well as being willing to allow your partner to do activities independently allows there to be a balance between quality time together and freedom, connection and self-sufficiency.

Communication -- Open communication with one another is when you can discuss difficult topics and resolve conflict with one another effectively. Instead of avoiding issues or attacking one another issues are addressed in a calm and productive manner. Partners are able to express one another's feelings, needs and opinions as well as actively listening and being receptive to one another point of view.

Humility -- Being able to be humble, acknowledge fault or say, "I'm sorry" when necessary creates an opening for love, understanding and healing to occur in the relationship. To genuinely acknowledge when you have made a mistake or hurt your partner demonstrates humility. And secondly, to be willingness to forgive, let things go and be able to move forward creates an element of flexibility and fluidity in the partnership as it evolves and grows over time through the mountains and molehills of the relationship.

Wisdom -- Being able to enter into a balanced state of mind allows you to discern between the moments you need to let things go and the situations that require you to stand your ground. Having a balanced emotional and rational state of mind and a clear head allows you to become in tune with your inner wisdom and internal guidance system. Being still, patient and intentional about the words and actions you take allows you to be conscious and communicate clearly.

Generosity -- Relationships are about a healthy balance of giving and receiving. Having the willingness to give without any guarantees and being wholehearted in your love and investment in the relationship sets the tone for generosity, happiness and satisfaction. When this exchange flows fluidly and regularly back and forth in the partnership it create a positive exchange of energy and reciprocity in the relationship.

Andrea Cairella is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and owner of TruePotentialCounseling.com based in Long Beach, CA. She works with adults and children and specializes in couples issues, trauma, addiction, anxiety and self-esteem and is the creator of Create A Relationship You Love ™ an online psycho-educational program for couples.