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Alexus Kenese Phoenix


Stawski
UWRT 1102
22 March 2015
Five Components of a Healthy Relationship
While no relationship is perfect, there are essential components necessary to establish and
maintain a healthy relationship. Grasping each concept and applying these components aid in the
prosperity of the relationship. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, a relationship is
defined as The way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward,
and deal with each other. While many believe the term relationship refers to strictly romance,
there are several other types as well. Relationships can be broken down into four divisions:
Friendship, Family, Romantic, and Professional. Studies show that healthy social relationships of
any kind positively affect the physical and mental health of individuals. On the contrary, socially
isolated individuals are proven to be physically and mentally less healthy than those who are
socially involved. Each division of relationships has its own special characteristics, however,
while the characteristics may differ, the foundation does not. By mastering the concepts of trust,
honesty, communication, respect, and acceptance, relationships are proven more likely to
succeed. Those concepts are what we call the essential components of a healthy relationship.
Therefore, demonstrating the positive components of a healthy relationship contributes to the
overall success of the relationship and longevity of the individual.

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I.

Trust and Honesty


Trust is the most important ingredient in developing a healthy relationship. Trust builds

the bridge for every other component to prosper. It is the one aspect that coexists with every
other component. Without trust, there can be no relationship, which is why it aids in developing
the relationship rather than just maintaining it. In the article Assessments of Trust in Intimate
Relationships and the Self-Perception Process, published in The Journal of Social Psychology,
authors examine three distinct categories of expectations that trust often proceeds through. These
three categories are sequential and begin with the concept of predictability. Relationships where
individuals repeatedly fulfill their obligations and demonstrate consistent behavior are said to be
predictable, and may move forward to the concept of dependability. This concept is focused
around the character traits each individual displays in a relationship, and measures how reliable
each party will be. Successful completion of phase two, dependability, advances to the final
phase, faith. Faith develops when, and only when, both parties in a relationship are confident in
their future together. When each of the three phases are completed, trust may then form in a
relationship. A relationship with trust strengthens the emotional, physical, and mental bonds and
serves as a form of security. When individuals are secure in a relationship they are less likely to
wander or worry, which in return help to eliminate potential stressors of a relationship.
One potential stressor that has the ability to arise in a relationship is dishonesty. The
component of honesty in a relationship generally involves applying the concept of discretion.
Everything should be told in a way that avoids causing conflict or offense. Dishonesty can lead
to lack of trust, secrets, and ultimately the downfall of any relationship. Honesty provides not
only security, but safety in a relationship and aids in building the bridge of trust. According to the
article If You Dont Have Honesty In a Relationship, Then There Is No Relationship, studies

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show that almost 80 percent of African American teenage girls tested feel as though honesty is
the central characteristic in a relationship. Being honest improves the quality of the relationship
and allows for the bond of trust to become stronger. As trust becomes stronger, the relationship
becomes more comfortable for everyone involved. Ultimately, a lie hurts more than the truth ever
can. Lies lead to betrayal, assumptions, and accusations. Honesty becomes easier to practice
when proper communication skills are exercised.
II.

Communication
The most important aspect of communication is not simply talking, but listening.

Listening, processing, and taking the time to understand the view point of one another is
important in any relationship. Individuals who listen and grasp the feelings and beliefs of their
partner are practicing healthy communication skills. It is important to understand that while there
may be differences in opinions, taking the time to hear one another out shows discipline, respect,
and strengthens the component of trust in a relationship. Proper communication allows
individuals to exchange interests, work cohesively, and support one another. In the article
Relationships and Communication, hosted by BetterHealth.gov, communication is broken
down into two prominent divisions: Verbal and Non-verbal, When we communicate, we can say
a lot without speaking. Our body posture, tone of voice and the expressions on our face all
convey a message. If our feelings dont fit with our words, it is often the non-verbal
communication that gets heard and believed. Notice whether your body language reflects what
you are saying. It is important that both divisions work together in order to effectively relate a
message or feeling.
The first division, Verbal Communication, can often be misinterpreted if not received
properly. Often times, the second division, Non-verbal communication, says more than words

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can. When attempting to exercise communication skills, individuals must ensure that what they
are saying and the way they are saying it coincides with one another to avoid confusion on the
receiving end. As the foundation continues, effective communication stems from honesty, while
both work together to strengthen trust in a relationship. After mastering the previous three
components of a healthy relationship, an individual must work towards building upon the
components of respect and acceptance.
III.

Respect and Acceptance


Both components, respect and acceptance, work together to form healthy relationships.

One cannot be shown without the other being displayed as well. Mutual respect is key in
developing an equal balance of power in a relationship. Respect is not simply about receiving,
but giving as well. Compromise and consideration are both important factors in the component
of respect and aid in the preservation of relationships. Lack of respect proves to be detrimental in
many ways, one being it damages trust. Statistics from LoveisRespect.org state, One in three
adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating
partner. Abuse is not limited to romantic relationships, however. Physical, sexual, emotional
and/or verbal abuse can be displayed in friendships, by family, or in a professional sense. Lack of
respect in a relationship strengthens the risk of abuse and can have significant damage on the
relationship and individual. In order to fully grasp and apply the concept of respect, one must
first accept the individual they wish to be in a relationship with, whether it be a close friend,
romantic encounter, family member, or someone in the workplace.
Acceptance in a relationship can come in variations, including physical, emotional, and
mental acceptance. In the article, Through the Eyes of the Beholder: The Mediating Role of
Relationship Acceptance in the Impact of Partner Behavior, authors South, Doss, and

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Christensen analyze the concept of emotional acceptance within a romantic relationship. The
authors work together to display the concept of emotional acceptance through the lens of
Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy. This tool relates behavioral patterns in a relationship to
how accepting each party will be. According to the article, the more open spouses are to
accepting their mates behavioral patterns, the more satisfied they will be in the relationship.
However, in order to accept these behavioral patterns, understanding is needed. Each partner
must be able to understand why the other behaves in the manner that they do, then accept them
for that exact reason.
South, Doss, and Christensen conduct a study which analyze three concepts in hopes to
determine the specific role acceptance plays in a relationship. The findings suggest that
acceptance and satisfaction are related to one another, but have distinct qualities that manage to
keep them separated. Authors believe that acceptance is a stepping stone of emotional support
and must be developed in a relationship for negative and positive behaviors. Without acceptance,
relationships have a greater chance of failing and becoming dysfunctional. These detrimental
consequences can not only have an adverse effect on the adults involved, but also any other
parties, such as children.
IV.

Health Effects

Demonstrating the positive components of a healthy relationships have effects that go


beyond the relationship, but affect the individual as well. There are several health benefits of
positive social relationships. Research shows that positive relationships impact the health and
well-being of those involved. Individuals who are married are said to live longer than those who
are unmarried. Individuals who sustain healthy relationships with family members are said to be
happier than those with dysfunctional families. Individuals who maintain positive friendships are

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said to have more fun. While those are all just speculations, statistics do defend each of these
claims.
Authors D. Umberson and J.K. Montez describe to which extent social relationships
affect the mental and physical health of individuals and relates this to health behaviors and
mortality risks in the article Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy.
Studies conducted in the article show that short and long term health effects can begin to be
influenced as early as childhood and have the ability to shape human interaction throughout the
duration of an individuals life. The influences discussed in the article are behavioral,
psychosocial, and physiological. Regarding the behavioral influence, social ties are emphasized.
These factors in the environment are believed to control several habits of health. These social ties
are responsible for the decisions individuals make, the norms they follow, and morals they heed
to. The interrelation of social factors, thoughts, and behaviors also aid in maintaining a healthy
lifestyle. Support systems reduce blood pressure and relieve stress. Social ties also improve
personal control, which in return may cause individuals to feel compelled to make better
decisions. Similar to the psychosocial influence, interactions with individuals who show support
have the ability to significantly lower cardiovascular levels, reduce stress, and encourage better
lifestyle choices.
Social relationships that are misused, abused, and built on a foundation lacking the essential
components are more likely to have adverse effects in each of the above categories. Social
relationships have the ability to cause emotional, mental and physical damage to individuals if
not cared for properly. The article Social Relationships and Health, written by House, Landis,
and Umberson detail how the lives of socially isolated individuals are significantly less healthy.
People that lack social interactions are more likely to commit suicide, receive tuberculosis, have

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an accident, and/or develop psychiatric disorders, which could all result in premature death.
According to research presented in the article, health risks are increased due to lack of social
interaction, Several recent review articles provide consistent and compelling evidence linking a
low quantity or quality of social ties with a host of conditions, including development and
progression of cardiovascular disease, recurrent myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis,
autonomic dysregulation, high blood pressure, cancer and delayed cancer recovery, and slower
wound healing. The authors link social support to relationships and in return, the overall health
of individuals. The maintenance of an individuals social relationships and interactions acts as a
bridge between the overall quality of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The overall quality of relationships can be assumed to make life longer and better. The way

to maintain the high quality of these relationships is to practice the essential components of a
healthy relationship in all day to day interactions. Building the foundation of a relationship
through trust, honesty, communication, respect, and acceptance make it significantly easier for
individuals to sustain positive relationships. These positive relationships will then provide
individuals with a healthy outlet and improve their health. It pays to be social in more ways than
one and individuals who choose to remain isolated are only robbing themselves of opportunities
and outlets of love and support.

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Work Cited
"Dating Abuse Statistics." LoveisRespect.org, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.loveisrespect.org/is-this-abuse/dating-violence-statistics>.
Debnam, KJ, DE Howard, and MA Garza. ""If You Don't Have Honesty in a Relationship, Then
There Is No Relationship": African American Girls' Characterization of Healthy Dating
Relationships, a Qualitative Study." The Journal of Primary Prevention. 35.6 (2014):
397-407. Print.
House, James S., Karl R. Landis, and Debra Umberson. "Social relationships and health."
Science 241.4865 (1988): 540-545.
"Relationships and Communication - Better Health Channel." Better Health Channel. Better
Health Channel, June 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2015.
<http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Relationships_and_com
munication>.
South, Susan C, Brian D. Doss, and Andrew Christensen. "Through the Eyes of the Beholder: the
Mediating Role of Relationship Acceptance in the Impact of Partner Behavior." Family
Relations. 59.5 (2010): 611-622. Print.
Umberson, D, and JK Montez. "Social Relationships and Health: a Flashpoint for Health Policy."
Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 51 (2010): 54-66. Print.
Zak, AM, JA Gold, RM Ryckman, and E Lenney. "Assessments of Trust in Intimate

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Relationships and the Self-Perception Process." The Journal of Social Psychology. 138.2
(1998): 217-28. Print.