8 Things Every Healthy Relationship Needs

May 11, 2022

Relationships grow in a healthy manner only as they undergo experiences, and there is no shortcut to experiences. In other words, we only "know" each other to the extent that we have experience with each other. We can know facts about the person we are dating: their friends, job, hobbies, and so forth. But that doesn't mean we "know" them as a person. That kind of "knowing" cannot come from reading a file on someone.

Experience requires time. It is simply impossible to get enough experiences under your belt without spending a lot of time dealing with the relationship. Here are eight necessary time-consuming activities on the road to becoming committed to someone:

  1. Having enough talks to safely open up with each other
  2. Entering each other's worlds of work, hobbies, worship, and service
  3. Meeting and spending time with each other's friends
  4. Understanding each other's strengths and weaknesses
  5. Going over basic values of what is important in life to each other
  6. Getting to know each other's families
  7. Spending time away from each other to think through the relationship, alone and with friends
  8. Learning your best style of disagreement and conflict management

It's hard to imagine doing all these eight steps in a few months, because it can't be done. Yet so many dreamy-eyed couples will say to their friends, "You don't understand. It's as if we've known each other all our lives. We were soul mates from the first meeting." And, while I know people who have met and married quickly, I think their success is due more to their own character than to going through the process the right way.