How to Measure Healthy Relationships

Many are confused on what makes healthy relationships. 

Most couples enter counseling with a lot of uncertainty. One is usually dragged in by the other. One says, We need help. The other says, We’re doing fine. . . We can work this out on our own. . .We’re not as bad off as you think.

As a relationship therapist, I recommend couples counseling before it gets to the we’re-not-as-bad-as-you-think argument. Most come in when it’s the last ditch effort to save the relationship.

Easy for a relationship therapist to say. When you’re IN the relationship, it’s difficult to know who’s more accurate than the other.

Tigers and Turtles choose each other

TigerPhotoIt’s common for one spouse to minimize and the other to maximize. I call it the “Turtle/Tiger” syndrome.

Turtles typically hide in their shells and avoid conflict or accuse their partners of blowing things out of proportion.

Tigers roar and persist until they are heard. Many times they DO see things worse than they are. Turtles DO see things “not as bad” as they really are.

We measure other things.  

Have you taken pride in managing your money well, then later found out a check bounced? Have you balanced the checkbook and then discovered you were spending more on eating out than you realized?

Have you believed you were eating well, then were surprised the scales registered 10 pounds more than expected? Have you written down everything you ate and saw you were taking in many more calories than you were actually burning?


The Partnership Pattern chart

A great way to balance the check book of your marriage or relationship is keeping track of behaviors for a month at a time.

No need to write down what you eat here. All you have to do is observe, experience, and check off measurable items that are going on now in your relationship.

It can bring awareness about our own behaviors. Most folks don’t realize how they inadvertently ask for the negative behaviors they get from their spouse.

It’s true that you can’t control another person’s behaviors or attitudes. But you can invite the respect and love you long for.

Ideally, it’s great for both Tigers AND Turtles to participate.

But if the Turtle in your life is still hiding, you Tigers will have a great outlet for awareness of yourself and the relationship patterns. The idea is to check off what you experienced most in the relationship that day. Do it every day for one month and get a clear picture of what you need, whether it’s an enrichment weekend or crisis intervention.

Know where your relationship stands.  Sign up for your free Partnership Pattern chart.