If you go to a bookstore, chances are, you can get lost in the self-help section. It can be overwhelming simply perusing through the many relationship books. Somehow each book promises to share the secrets to the perfect life, snagging the perfect man, and ultimately having the perfect relationship. Well, let’s get something out in the open right now− there is no perfect life, no perfect relationship and definitely no perfect man. (Hopefully you already knew that.) There are, however, a couple constants that exist in every healthy, happy relationship:

• Both partners in the relationship respect and trust each other. In other words, you like what you see in this man. He has the qualities that you respect in your friends and family, and the ones that you aspire to possess for yourself. Most of the time (they all have their moments), you are proud of him and proud to be with him. He feels the exact same way about you.

• Both partners allow each other to be individuals first, a couple second. Your man and you have your own interests and identity. You are not dependent on him for your identity and vice versa. You are two emotionally healthy individuals that come together to be a great couple. He brings out the best in you and you bring out the best in him. He pushes you to be your best and accomplish your goals in life and you do the same for him.

• This is your best friend and the one you want to share the best of life with, and the one you run to when things go bad. This is how you develop intimacy- sharing the good, the scary, and the bad. He knows the real you and you know him inside and out. This is called being your “authentic self’ with each other. You can count on each other to be there- no matter the situation.

Now, here girlfriends, is the real important one

• You are both very aware when you are not getting your needs met in the relationship. You are able to articulate what you need to be happy to your partner without attacking and game playing. This is a difficult one for a lot of women. Women often struggle being able to communicate their needs for a variety of reasons; feeling they don’t deserve better, fear of rejection or just not understanding self. Some women expect the man to “figure it out” and when he can’t, they are angry.

There are many many more ingredients to a happy and healthy relationship but these build a strong foundation. If these are in place, there is a very good chance that the relationship can grow and thrive!!

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