8 Contrasts Between Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

8 Contrasts Between Healthy & Unhealthy Relationships

  1. Reality vs. Fantasy. Healthy relationships are based in reality.  Each person is aware of his own strengths and weaknesses.  There is no need to hide or to try to fool the other.  Each person is also aware of the other’[s strengths and weaknesses.  There is no need to pretend that problems don’t exist or to tiptoe around “unmentionable” areas.  If the partner is weak in some area, he or she accepts it and helps accommodate or strengthen it.  Unhealthy relationships, by contrast, are based on fantasy.  What could be or should be replaces what is.  The elements of unreality become the focus.  The relationship is built on a foundation that isn’t really there.
  2. Completing vs. Finding Completion. In a healthy relationship, each person finds joy in sharing in the other person’s growth, in playing a role in “completing” the other.  In an unhealthy relationship the focus is on completing oneself.  This selfish dynamic is at the heart of codependency.  Too many people fling half a person into a relationship, expecting that they will be completed by the other person.  It never works.  No one can ever meet such expectations.  It is only a matter of time until substitutes are sought-either in the form of other relationships or in the form of dysfunctional and addictive behaviors.
  3. Friendship vs. Victimization. A healthy relationship can be described as two good friends becoming better friends.  The strongest and most successful relationships-even the most passionate and romantic marriages-have this kind of true friendship at the base.  Where this base of true friendship is absent, the relationship is shallow and susceptible to being marked by victimization.
  4. Sacrifice vs. Demand for Sacrifice. Few of the magazines that clutter the check-out counters of grocery stores publish articles extolling the joys of sacrifice.  But no relationship can grow without it.  Unfortunately, most of us are more accustomed to demanding sacrifice from our partner than to sacrificing ourselves.  It’s one thing to love another when the going is easy.  But character and depth are wrought in a relationship when love requires the surrender of preference and privilege.  Nothing strengths a relationship like sacrifice.  Indeed, it often seems that the greater the sacrifice, the more thorough the death to self, the greater the potential for the relationship.  Our relationship with God requires sacrifice.  His relationship with us required nothing less than the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ.  Building a relationship-or restoring one that has been ravaged by the effects of addiction-depends on the willingness of both parties to sacrifice for each other, without demanding anything in return.
  5. Forgiveness vs. Resentment. Forgiveness is a miraculous gift between two people.  A relationship flourishes when we are willing to