I was reading an article about 10 types of guys that you shouldn't want to marry that had some funny moments in it and it got me to thinking about revisiting some signs of a healthy relationship. Indeed, there are a lot of people who simply want to be *in a relationship* but "healthy" does not appear to be on the list of their criteria. That said, this list below is one that I found to be cool...and relevant (I'm just going to put excerpts in. You can read the entire piece here).
1) Respect your partner. One sign of a healthy relationship is mutual respect between partners. Respecting your partner means allowing her to have her own opinions and activities, no matter what you may think of them.
2) You trust each other. A relationship without trust is no relationship at all.
3) You can be honest. Without honesty, there can be no trust in a healthy relationship. Don't lie to your partner, no matter how small or harmless it seems.
4) Spend time apart. A couple in a healthy relationship will feel completely comfort taking time to themselves every so often.
5) You feel safe saying "no." Understanding your partner's boundaries and having a partner who understands your boundaries is an important aspect of a healthy relationship.
6) You can express your thoughts without fear of judgment. Good communication is essential to any healthy relationship.
7) Accept the give and take of the relationship. A healthy relationship is not all about you.
8) Be there for the other person. Life gets rough some times, which may be why people seek out relationships with others.
9) Don't negatively influence the other person. Some relationships lead to the downfall of both partners, either because both wind up using alcohol or drugs or engaging in a life of crime. If you sense that your partner has some serious issues, ones that you cannot help fix, get [him] help, but don't follow [his] lead.
10) Feel confident and secure in yourself. Good self esteem is a part of any healthy relationship.
OK, the *entire list* is worth pondering (Proverbs 4:26) over, yet it was #9 that really caught my attention. IN A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP YOU ARE NOT NEGATIVELY INFLUENCED BY THE OTHER PERSON.
You know, there are a lot of people who write in to me to talk about how they want to make their relationship work even though the guy has no relationship with Elohim (the Godhead) and/or they are in a sexual relationship (outside of marriage) and/or he isn't personally responsible or accountable for the choices that he makes and/or he doesn't provide the kind of nurturing that is needed and/or he causes them to feel bad about themselves and question their self-worth and value...the list goes on and on. And yet, being that the one of the roles of husband is to *be a leader* and being that a part of being a leader means *being influential*, can we not see that when we are in a relationship with someone with those kinds of characteristics, it's not a sign to "try and make it work" but actually a *huge red flag* that it probably needs to come to an end? (At least for a season-Ecclesiastes 3)
Influence, by its very definition, is "the action or process of producing effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of another or others". The people you choose to have in your "inner temple" have the ability to affect how you act, behave and think. There are people I personally know who spent years abstinent, got in a relationship with a guy and now they're out of their purity streak (Hebrews 13:4). There are people I personally know who had clear career ambitions, got in a relationship and now, *as single women*, they've put their plans on hold for what "he" wants (married people "become one" not dating couples-Genesis 2:24-25). There are people I personally know who had a pretty consistent relationship with God, got in a relationship and now it's like "I fit God in when I'm not with 'my man'." (Exodus 20:3)
Being that "God is love" (I John 4:6&16)...being that GOD IS LOVE, let's revisit the nature of God for a moment:
"He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He."--- Deuteronomy 32:4(NKJV)
Being in a healthy relationship is being in a loving relationship and a loving relationship should *influence you* to be more like God. It should influence you to want to perfect flawed areas, to operate from a place of justice, to focus on biblical truth (John 8:31-32)...to live righteously and upright. Living righteously is about "acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous". One definition of virtuous is "chaste". Proverbs 31:10(NKJV) says "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies."
A healthy dating relationship will progress to a state of courting a woman yet during that time, her virtue will remain in tact because a *healthy man* will see that the woman he is dating has a worth above rubies and he will want to preserve that until he has *God's blessing* (Matthew 19:6) to have her.
So, if you're in a relationship right now, take a moment to think about how the influence is affecting you. Is it *affecting* you for the better or *infecting* you for the worse? Because if he's not influencing you to be more like God, he's not loving you the way God wants him to and that's definitely something to think about...and reconsider.