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10 Characteristics of Healthy Relationships

4. See (anticipate) and meet the needs of others.

One of my favorite scenes in Genesis 1 and 2 is where God sees Adam’s need before Adam sees his own need. Adam was perfectly content in his relationship with God. However, God notices it’s not good for Adam to be alone. Adam needs a companion; Adam needs community. To meet this need, God causes a deep sleep in Adam, takes one of his ribs and fashions woman. He then brings the woman, the greatest gift outside life itself, to Adam at which point Adam belts out the very first love song. 

How are you doing in anticipating the needs of those you are in relationship with? Especially in beginning year three of the global pandemic, are you anticipating the physical, emotional, mental, even financial needs of your family, staff, church body, community?

5. Celebrate the goodness of and in others.

At the conclusion of each day, we see God verbally say, “This is good.” However, at the conclusion of day six, after he fashions both man and woman in his image and likeness, he emphatically declares, “It is very good.”

How well do you celebrate others? Their accomplishments? Do you take the time to note the goodness you see in them? Good deeds they do? 

6. Communicate expectations.

God clearly communicates the expectations he has for human beings. He tells them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on earth” (Genesis 1:28). Also, according to Genesis 2:15, Adam was given the responsibility “to work and keep the garden.”

Expectations typically revolve around the reception and execution of one’s role(s) and responsibilities. Years ago, I had a good friend tell me that I couldn’t get upset at people who failed to meet my expectations of them if I hadn’t clearly laid them out. 

Do you have expectations of others? How well do you communicate your expectations to your spouse, children, staff, church members?

7. Communicate healthy boundaries.

Not only did God outline clear expectations for Adam and Eve, but he also communicated clear boundaries for how they were to live in the garden. God gave much freedom to Adam (and Eve); they could eat of any tree in the garden with the exception of one—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, God told them as long as they are living in his garden, breathing his air, and enjoying his creation they will respect this one boundary.  

Boundaries ultimately help to establish the rules of one’s (personal) space. However, once again, people typically don’t communicate with others their personal boundaries. Yet, they get upset with those who cross the boundaries they have never communicated. 

What are your personal boundaries? At home? Work? What are your small group boundaries? Have you shared them with those you are in relationship within those spaces? 

8. Pursue.

When Adam and Even crossed the boundary God established, sinning against him, they experienced deep shame and guilt and went into hiding. Yet, God didn’t leave them in their hiding. God pursued them—gently and graciously. 

Healthy relationships involve pursuers… initiators. In Genesis, the healthy being (God) does the pursuing. Just think, once a sinner is redeemed and reconciled to God, they become a pursuer of God. Therefore, there’s mutual pursuit by both God and man.

How do you pursue those you are in relationship with? Are you sitting around waiting on an invitation, or are you doing the inviting?