Within a lifetime, a person will typically have at least a handful of relationships—some good, some not-so-good. It often baffles people why they end up in bad relationships or why their relationships do not last. More often than not, the reason for the failures of relationships is because people do not understand the fundamental elements of a strong, healthy relationship. The fundamental elements of a strong, healthy relationship are commitment, trust, kindness, and communication. If any of these four elements are missing, the relationship will surely suffer and end early. In this expository essay, the author shall define and discuss the four elements of a strong, healthy relationship.
Characteristics of a Healthy and Strong Relationship
In a healthy and strong relationship, both parties feel safe and intimate. It is balanced—both individuals’ needs are met. Furthermore, contrary to relationships often portrayed in movies and even some of the best series on Netflix, individuals do not disappear in a healthy relationship. They do not become co-dependent but interdependent, which means that they maintain their individual identities, interests, friends, and such, and these do not affect the quality of their relationship. But, of course, the hallmark of any relationship is when both individuals’ needs are satisfied. This, therefore, could mean different things for different people.
The Foundation Of A Strong Relationship
No two relationships are the same. Each one differs based on the preferences and personalities of the individuals. However, all strong and healthy relationships have the same foundation, and those are commitment, trust, kindness, and communication.
Commitment one of the major building blocks of any strong relationship because it is each party’s will, or their agreement, to stay together through good and bad times. Commitment goes beyond sexual exclusivity. It encompasses the couple’s solidarity and their promise to stay by each other’s side and continuously make an effort to keep each other happy and their relationship strong.
Trust is a delicate thing in any type of relationship, but more importantly in a romantic relationship. Little lies and small secrets eat away at relationships as much as cheating does. Once broken, it may take time to rebuild, and at times cannot be rebuilt at all. Conversely, trust could be built and made stronger through communication, openness, and vulnerability.
Kindness is a coveted trait in any person. It is also important in maintaining the strength and stability of any relationship. In a long-term study by Gottman and Levenson, they found that couples who are emotionally and physiologically comfortable with each other have lasting relationships (Smith 2014). In another study also discussed in Smith’s article, they found that kindness is important in maintaining satisfaction and stability in marriage (Smith 2014). Couples who act kindly toward each other are generous and appreciative, which leads to a culture of love and intimacy in a relationship.
None of the abovementioned elements would be possible without healthy and open communication between couples. Couples who communicate regularly and openly are more honest with their needs, such as their love languages, and thus trust each other better. They are also able to go through arguments and problems in a healthy manner. Communication allows the relationship to strengthen after a fight or any major or minor problems.
The Four Elements Coming Together
Couples in a strong and healthy relationship should be considered a team. They should work together through problems and support each other in their goals, no different from how students work to succeed in a group project. Couples should feel safe with their partners and be able to talk with them about anything. These things are only possible with commitment, trust, kindness, and communication. With commitment, partners make a promise that they will stay with each other through thick and thin; with trust, they respect each other and their boundaries so that they maintain interdependence; with kindness, they offer a safe space for their partner to talk about their problems and they can be patient with each other’s needs and shortcomings; and finally, with communication, they can resolve any problems that come their way, as well as express their feelings in a healthy manner.
The elements, however, do not come easily such as when a couple “clicks.” Rather, these elements are the result of hard work and commitment to establishing a good relationship with the person one loves.
A strong, healthy relationship is only possible with these four fundamental elements—commitment, trust, kindness, and communication. These elements allow relationships to grow and strengthen. As such, these are the things couples should look and strive for in a relationship if they want it to last.
Smith, E. E. (2014). Masters of love. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/happily-ever-after/372573/.