Key Ingredient to a Healthy RelationshipHave you ever tried to bake cookies, a cake, or brownies and accidentally left out the sugar? It tastes awful. In fact, it is downright inedible.

There is a key ingredient that every healthy relationship has. What is it? Every healthy relationship has two people who respect each other’s boundaries. Without respecting each other, a relationship cannot be healthy.

But in an unhealthy relationship, one or both people are treated badly because it is based on control. When one person tries to control another, it’s more like a parent-child relationship than a friendship, dating relationship, or marriage.

Are you in an unhealthy, controlling relationship?

To find out, here are some questions to ask:

  • Does your partner tell you what to think, who to spend time with, or what to wear?
  • Does your partner try to control, manipulate, belittle, or disrespect you?
  • Does your partner isolate you from your friends, family, hobbies, and interests?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, see a New Life Counselor or Coach to determine your next step.

Does the Bible say how to stand against evil in a relationship? Yes! In Romans, Paul wrote, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Romans 12:9, King James Version).

There may be two reasons why you are in a relationship where evil is allowed, and boundaries are not respected. First, you may need to set better boundaries. You teach people how to treat you by what you will and will not allow, so saying no is necessary. Second, if you are setting boundaries, it may be that your partner will disrespect them no matter what. You must follow through with the consequences. It may be as simple as stepping out of the room—or as severe as cutting off the relationship—if your partner doesn’t respect your boundaries.

Here are some reasonable expectations to set for a healthy relationship:

  • You should expect to be treated well.
  • You should expect your partner to respect your boundaries.
  • You should respect your partner’s boundaries.

When you and your partner respect each other and each other’s boundaries, your relationship will have all the ingredients it needs to thrive.

By Steve Arterburn

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