Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships (Part 3 of 4).

So what is your definition of healthy? Not just a healthy relationship but what does healthy look like for you? Do you and can you view life and various topics or areas of life as being healthy or unhealthy? In your mind, what are the characteristics and descriptions of what is healthy and what is not healthy?

As a way to discuss this topic, let me turn to the field of gardening and horticulture to discuss what is healthy. Let’s say you go to your favorite nursery or garden center and you buy either a house plant or maybe a plant you want to place on your back porch. You look around at the nursery and you decide to choose a plant that looks healthy and good and you envision this plant at your house. The leaves, the flowers, the fruit, the branches all look healthy so you purchase it.

But now the challenge is to keep it healthy. In general, all plants need four main things to help them stay healthy. First of all, plants need a good soil for the roots to grow in. Healthy plants need healthy soil, either potting soil, or some other type of dirt, amendments, peat moss, sand, etc.

Second, all plants need some sort of light. Some plants need full sun, to half sun to full shade. If you take your plant and hide it under some big pot or place it in your garage with no light, the likelihood of your plant growing are slim to none. But when you give a plant the needed and necessary light according to what that plant needs, you will have healthy plants.

Third, all plants need water. If a plant does not get water, the plant will not be healthy. Some plants need a little and some need a lot but when you determine how much water your plant needs, it will be healthy. Finally, all plants need pruning. Every now and then, you need to get the pruning shears and cut away or cut out some branches that are not growing and not contributing to the plant being healthy.

But the most important part of a healthy plant is that it grows and it produces a flower or fruit. Most of the time, you buy a plant for its flower or fruit and all healthy plants show evidence it is healthy due to these benefits. When the right combination of ingredients and growth happens, your plant will be and continue to give you delight and pleasure due to it being healthy.

In the same way, healthy relationships need four things. People and relationships need love, respect, freedom, trust. It is easy to define healthy sometimes when these four things are not true. When there is no love, respect, freedom or trust, you will experience an unhealthy relationship. But when two people are in agreement surrounding these four needs as a foundation for a healthy relationship, the relationship will grow and it will produce fruit.

Healthy things grow and produce fruit. And healthy relationships grow over time and the fruit is the intimacy, closeness and positive happy feeling you have as a result of building your relationship on healthy needs. Just like all plants need regular maintenance and attention, all healthy relationship need attention, investment, and regular maintenance to grow. As a result, healthy relationships will produce growth and fruit for both people to enjoy and experience.