Building Healthy Relationships

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Written by Teena Walker, Our couples therapist.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and keeping in mind that over the past few months studies have shown that the COVID pandemic & the subsequent lockdown has triggered a surge in cases of domestic violence cases, I want to share some hopefully helpful input to reduce tensions felt in relationships, so that relationships flourish rather than diminish. With that said, I’m checking in with couples to know; how are you doing? How are you feeling, and what are some things that you have or have not been implementing to build healthier relationships?

I would like to share some insightful information with you during this October month. We at Vibrant Women Wellness Counseling (VWWC), encourage and empower couples to gain insight and clarity on what a healthy relationship looks like and what it’s not (an unhealthy relationship).

Relationship advice for couples:
Healthy Relationships are based on
Love & Respect for each other

God created both man and woman, to be together, to build healthy relationships, healthy marriages, and to raise healthy families. However, he created men and women for different purposes, and amidst their life’s journey, to have love and respect for each other.

Love for each other may be demonstrated in several ways:

  • By giving your partner positive feedback, and boosting him or her up, you and your partner  will grow together in the relationship that you both decided to carry forward.
  • By engaging in fun activities together to give each other attention, to talk about the relationship, or just to simply realize that you can have fun together. 
  • By affectionately touching each other, couples communicate love, support, and security. 
  • By listening to your partner without judgement or the need to solve their problem, and validating their concerns- by just saying, “I hear you.”
  • By staying away from unrealistic expectations about the relationship.
  • Understand the Love Language your partner uses. How does your partner communicate his or her love and vice versa? Recognizing which love language your partner uses is a great way to improve your communication with each other.

Relationship advice for men:
What a woman wants in a relationship

“The love she most desires, the respect he desperately needs” – Love & Respect

What does a woman want in a relationship? Not all men are able to see the signs that women show inconspicuously. 

I would like to share two acronyms from “Love & Respect: the love she most desires, the respect he desperately needs”, a book written by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, which offers a different approach to a healthy dynamic relationship.

Love & Respect is utilized in couples therapy, marriage and family therapy, and couples and marriage retreats.

The first acronym C-O-U-P-L-E , expresses the love a woman desires from her partner.

  • Closeness (A woman feels close to her man when he makes it a priority to spend time with her, when he expresses affection without sexual intentions, setup date night, and go out of his way to do something special for her.)
  • Openness (A woman feels her man is open when he shares his feelings by communicating about his day and difficulties, giving her his full attention, asks about her feelings, her opinions, and prays with her.)
  • Understanding (A woman feels her man is trying to understand her when he tries to identify with her feelings and not dismiss them, when he listens to her and can repeat back what she said and appreciate her sharing them with him.)
  • Peacemaking (A woman will feel at peace with her man when he tries to keep the relationship “up-to-date,” resolving the unresolved and never saying, “Forget it” when he admits that he is wrong and apologizes, “I am sorry will you forgive me?”)
  • Loyalty (A woman is assured of your loyal dedication when her man is involved in things important to her, when he helps her make decisions, keep commitments, speaks highly of her in front of others.)
  • Esteem (A woman feels esteemed when her man gives her encouragement or praises her with kindness and enthusiasm. When her man notices something different about her hair or clothes, when he values her opinion and makes her feel first in importance).

Relationship advice for women:
What men want in a relationship

The second acronym C-H-A-I-R-S expresses the respect a man desires/needs from his partner.

  • Conquest (A man will feel his woman appreciate his desire to work and achieve when she tells him verbally that she values his work efforts, she does not dishonor or criticize his work to get him to show more love, and expresses her faith in him related to his chosen field.)
  • Hierarchy (A man will feel his woman appreciate his desire to protect and provide when she verbalizes her admiration of him for saving her, she doesn’t mock the idea of “looking up to him” as her protector to prevent him from “looking down on her,” and she doesn’t in word or body language put down his job or how much he makes.)
  • Authority (A man will feel his woman appreciate his authority and leadership when she tells him that she is thankful for his strength and enjoys being able to lean on him at times, when she is gracious if he makes a wrong decision, and when she does not play “head games” with him to make him back down and be a “loving peacemaker.”
  • Insight (A man will feel his woman appreciates his insight and counsel when she counsels him respectfully, when she differs with his ideas (she can be right but wrong at the top of her voice), she recognizes his problem-solving approach as his male brand of empathy, and she sometimes allows him to “fix things” and applaud his solutions.)
  • Relationship (A man will feel his woman value his shoulder-to-shoulder friendship when she responds to his invitation to engage in recreational activities together or she goes along to watch and support him (She does not need to go every time, however going periodically will energize him more than she can imagine.), encouraging him to spend time alone also energizes him to reconnect with her later, and she might consider not denouncing his shoulder-to-shoulder activities with his male friends to get him to spend more face-to-face time with her. Respect his friendships, and he will be more likely to want her to join him shoulder-to-shoulder on other occasions.
  • Sexuality (A man will feel his woman appreciates his desire for sexual intimacy when she does not try to make him open up to her verbally by depriving him of sex, she responds to him sexually more often, and she allows him to identify his sexual temptations without fearing he’ll be unfaithful and without shaming him.)

I hope these acronyms shed some light on relationship aspects that couples need to establish and maintain healthy relationships. What are your thoughts about the areas needed for healthy relationships according to what women want or what men want in relationships? Do you agree or disagree? Do you have any concerns as it relates to your current relationship? Is your relationship with your partner healthy?

How may we at VWWC help you to shift your unhealthy relationships to healthy ones? Share your thoughts with us! #healthyrelationships#love#respect#relationshipclarity#relationshipinsight#relationshipneeds#hisneeds#herneeds

2 Comments on “Building Healthy Relationships”

  1. Hello,

    I have a sister who was in an abusive relationship for many years and I saw her black eyes and bruises and I vowed that that would never be me. I saw how with every punch, slap, kick, and hurtful words how it took a small part of her piece by piece. Years ago prior to meeting my wonderful husband of twenty years I found myself in an abusive relationship. Even though he wasn’t hitting me I thought it was ok that he abused me verbally just as long as he didn’t put his hands on me! Wrong! Sometimes, verbal abuse can be just as bad as physical abuse! The straw that broke the camels back for me was when one day he finally did hit me. He slapped me across my face! That night I vowed that I will not be my sister and believe when he said he would never do it again. My sister’s abuser would say the say thing to her but, it only got worse each time she stayed. That night I left and never looked back. Years after he apologized as he said that I was the best thing that ever happened to him (because I was) but, instead of being mad or wanting revenge I actually thanked him because after I left is when I started to love myself again and I reconnected with God! I became so much stronger because of it because I knew what I was worth and he made me realize that he wasn’t able to afford me! My husband came along at a time when I wasn’t even looking for anyone! I had taken time to focus on me and God! We met in the church at Bible study and he is just a blessing from God! I didn’t think I was capable of being loved the way he loved me because I was so hurt and for a while in the beginning of our relationship I think I made him pay for what happened in my past! But, he didn’t give up on me and have always told me that I was worth the fight! To all the women out there that’s being abused please know that when he says that he will never hit you again that it will happen again! Find the courage to leave and never look back! God bless!!

    1. Wow! Thank you for your very powerful testimony. So glad that you had the courage to leave and are in a seemingly much healthier relationship. Glad your refocusing on yourself and connecting to God gave you the strength to move forward. Thanks for sharing.

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