Who do you put as an emergency contact on paperwork? Perhaps your spouse, a parent, a sibling, if you’re Dwight Schrute, maybe your boss. That contact represents the person you most trust to handle things in the event of an emergency. It represents a relationship that is likely very important to you. So, what can you do to maintain a healthy relationship?
Relationships require maintenance. It’s possible that this comes second nature to you and your relationship is well maintained with additional effort. For most of us, it is necessary to consider the needs of our relationships and make an effort to care for someone outside of ourselves. So where do we begin on the quest to manage our closest relationships?
Consider Your Needs
When it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship, consider your needs. We all have needs and we want those needs met. We have ways of getting our needs met and not all of those ways are healthy. Take some time to consider, “What are my needs?” Surprisingly, most of us have not asked this crucial question and therefore not realized that some things we consider needs, are kind of silly. Let us take validation, a common need. What if you wanted/needed constant validation and you’re putting pressure on your relationships to give you that validation. It’s possible you don’t even realize you’re doing it and you find yourself getting mad that your loved ones aren’t giving you a “thank you” because you changed the toilet paper roll. If you ask yourself that important question and realize that some of your needs can be a little far-reaching, you can then adjust your expectations.
Ways to Maintain a Healthy Relationship
- Adjust your expectations. You expect certain things out of a relationship, but it is important to be aware of some unrealistic expectations and make some adjustments. Maintaining a healthy relationship requires communicating your expectations and compromising accordingly.
- Meet your needs, by meeting their needs first. Once you know your needs and you’ve possibly adjusted any unrealistic expectations, find out the needs of others. If you work to meet their needs they will want to meet your needs.
- Find balance. All things have their opposite and relationships are no different. Sometimes we give and sometimes we take. Sometimes we need to validate other times we simply need to sit and listen.
Human relationships are incredibly complex. If we make the effort to care for and nurture our relationships, we will find life to be more fulfilling shared with others.
Zachary Duty, CSW
Zach Duty is a native Texan and a graduate of Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation. He went on to complete a master’s in social work at the University of Utah with an emphasis in child welfare. As a therapist, Zach has worked in residential treatment and for the state of Utah through the Division of Juvenile Justice.