My husband and I have a healthy relationship. I mean that in a general sense. If someone asked me if I’m a healthy person, I would tell them yes. That doesn’t mean I don’t catch a cold sometimes, but I work to stay healthy so that I can handle a little cold like it’s nbd (no big deal). Likewise, saying I have a healthy relationship with my husband doesn’t mean we don’t fight sometimes. It means we work to stay healthy so we can handle a little fight like it’s nbd.
You might know the book The Four Agreements. Well, my husband and I also have our four agreements.
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Agreement 1: We give 100/100, not 50/50.
There’s a common phrase in relationships that goes something like “it has to be 50/50”. I get the idea. 50 + 50 = 100%. My husband and I have a different version, which is that we each give 100%. What that means is that we each trust that the other person is always giving everything they have. If one of us is exhausted, the other one of us knows that this person is still doing their best with what they have to give that day. This leads me to the next agreement.
Agreement 2: We don’t keep score.
In our house, I have no idea who emptied the dishwasher last or how many times my husband walked the dog versus me. We just do what needs to get done when it needs to get done. Frankly, I have too much going on in my head as it is that I don’t care to add a running tally of chores. It goes back to the same trust I mentioned earlier. We’re both doing our best at all times.
Agreement 3: We know each other’s love languages…and we fight fair.
My husband and I both love the book The 5 Love Languages and buy it for everyone as a wedding gift. It was mind blowing for us because our love languages are completely different. My husband had to learn how to speak my love language and vice versa. It’s not always easy, but it’s about making sure the other person knows they’re loved.
On the flip side, we’ve learned over the years how to fight fair. My husband needs time to process things before resolving a conflict whereas I need it resolved right now. He’s had to learn to say he needs time, while reminding me that he loves me. I’ve had to learn to be patient and not expect him to do things my way. And that brings me to the last agreement.
Agreement 4: We respect each other to no end.
I grew up around relationships where partners made jokes at each other’s expense all the time. As I got older and started dating, I was in relationships like that too. I once read an article featuring a newly married couple, and the journalist remarked over how they never made fun of one another. Something shifted in me while reading that. I want someone to have my back no matter what, no matter when.
My husband and I don’t disrespect one another. Not to each other and not in public. And for me, part of showing respect is also being very open about how much I love him, not using him as the butt of a joke to show off how witty I am. Or worse, as a passive aggressive way of saying that I’m unhappy about something.
The above agreements work for my marriage, but they apply to my other close relationships too. If you have any healthy relationship agreements in your life, feel free to share in the comments below.