Healthy relationships are characterized by respect, sharing and trust. They are based on the belief that both partners are equal, that the power and control in the relationship are equally shared.
Some of the characteristics of a healthy relationship are:
Respect – listening to one another, valuing each other’s opinions, and listening in a non-judgmental manner. Respect also involves attempting to understand and affirm the other’s emotions.
Trust and support – supporting each other’s goals in life, and respecting each other’s right to his/her own feelings, opinions, friends, activities and interest. It means valuing each other as an individual.
Honesty and accountability – communicating openly and truthfully, admitting mistakes or being wrong, and accepting responsibility for one’s self.
Shared responsibility – making family/relationship decisions together, mutually agreeing on a distribution of work which is fair to both partners. If parents, the couple shares parental responsibilities and acts as positive, non-violent role models for the children.
Economic partnership – in marriage or cohabitation, making financial decisions together, and making sure both partners benefit from financial arrangements.
Negotiation and fairness – being willing to compromise, accepting change, and seeking mutually satisfying solutions to conflict.
Non-threatening behavior – talking and acting in a way that promotes both partners’ feelings of safety in the relationship. Both should feel comfortable and safe in expressing him/herself and in engaging in activities.