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Keys to healthy relationships

With Cupid shooting their arrow for Valentine’s Day, tips for healthy relationships are good targets to hit. Despite the loving intentions, matters can twist sideways in a heartbeat if not well-managed.

“We have seen a lot of people in the counselling room. People are talking about the difficulties of maintaining a healthy relationship,” says Marcus Cheung, manager of counselling initiatives with the Calgary Counselling Centre.

He’s both inside and outside the counselling room, the work is ongoing to support clients and their significant partners.

Cheung identifies qualities of healthy relationships as people feeling safe and having the ability to share openly about how they feel. He includes effective communication, saying, “One of the reasons people seek counselling is they want to communicate better. Also, respect – even when there is a difference in opinions. Then, trust, actively listening without judgment and being able to validate and empathize even though you may not agree.

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To retrieve and rebuild the love, Cheung suggests thinking about the day you first got together and recalling the reasons that brought you together in the first place. What you envisioned and the life you wanted to build together. Along with the starting points of the relationship. Then remind yourselves to focus on the positives even as you acknowledge the challenges being faced.

The counsellor notes people tend to forget the reasons for their relationship especially when they are in the heat of the moment and focussed on a particular issue, but come back to basics. Also, if things are really off the rails, seek professional help.

Another strategy Cheung mentions is taking an agreed time alone.” That people can spend time alone and consider that as a healthy part of their relationship. But then time together. It’s how you balance them,” says Cheung.

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