Last week, I told you about an interview with a radio station where they were asking me questions about relationships.
The interview was very popular so I have decided to use the questions they asked along with my answers in a series on relationships. Here is the next question.
At which stage does one notice that they are not in a healthy relationship and which steps should they take? Relationships are complicated and never a one size fits all answer, but there are a few signs that I think are pretty universal to any relationship which is moving away from a healthy relationship towards unhealthiness.
1) Lack of Trust - When one of you starts to really doubt the other person - whether for real reasons or imagined reasons - the relationship is not headed in the right direction. Trust is key to genuine intimacy. Actually, let me explain what I mean by real or imagined reasons. One of the people might start to hide their cell phone conversations and the other assumes there is someone else in the picture and an affair is happening.
Maybe the person starts coming home late or you catch the person lying about where they have been. Those are REAL reasons to lose trust. But, there are also imagined reasons. I was talking to a married woman the other day who had simply dressed up for work and her husband got jealous and began accusing her and demanding to know who she was getting pretty for at work! I can assure you I know this lady, and she is not having any affair. That is what I mean by imaginary - BUT real or imaginary - that lack of trust messes with the intimacy of a relationship.
When you second guess every action or word, it will block emotional intimacy and cause many fights. Even if you don’t say something, every time you think about the other person in a negative light because you don’t trust them, it is building up inside of you and will erupt at some point.
2) Another simple way to note when a relationship is starting to change is when one starts to pull away. People who love each other enjoy spending time together. It is NATURAL as the love wears down to stop working on the relationship and prioritisng other things over spending time together. However, if that happens for too long the relationship will be moving away from being healthy. The only way to grow in any relationship is to spend time together. In the absence of sharing your hopes, dreams, plans, and
3) Then of course, there are the obvious ways to notice if a relationship is moving from being healthy to unhealthy- if there is ANY emotional, physical, financial, or sexual abuse - that is NOT healthy!
Are there steps to take if you notice your relationship is moving in an unhealthy direction? Are there practical steps a couple can take to get their relationship back on track? Let me give a plug here for a how to have a healthy relationship book my husband and I wrote. It is called Making Marriage Fun! You can contact me on our Facebook page Talking with the Thabas if you want to find out how to get a copy. It is a VERY DETAILED book explaining exactly what a couple can do to make their relationship healthy. It includes role plays for almost anything you might think of that contribute towards fights. It includes questions you can ask each other to really work on your relationship. It is detailed, and we have heard thousands of testimonies of those who have used the principles and have even stopped planned divorces and testified that there is no longer gender-based violence (GBV) in the home once they applied the principles they learned in the book. :) The book will help you improve your communication skills, conflict resolution skills, how to deal with in-laws, substance abuse, how to stop GBV, how to speak each other’s love language and meet each other’s needs, etc. My husband and I have been married for 17 years. We are not perfect by any stretch. We have our fights and arguments here and there, but I can tell you we are happy! We want to share these practical tips of what has worked for us to help more couples enjoy their relationships to the fullest! Let your marriage be a blessing to you, not a burden.
*Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, family building facilitator, author and the Producer of a hit TV show offering practical advice to strengthen families and improve marriages! Episodes of her show can be downloaded from her website – www.ashleythaba.com.You can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books, Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants, on her website. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook at: Talking with the Thabas