Characteristic #11 of a Healthy Relationship

11. Equality

Third post in a row! I’m on a roll! PS: I am not a relationship expert, doctor, or counselor. This is a review of a class I took in college. Please read the series introduction for further background.

The 11th characteristic of a healthy relationship is simply one word: equality. This one word holds so much weight in any relationship. To me, equality means that each person within the relationship is seen as equal to the other. No person means more, or less, to another in the relationship. They are each the same to each other. Their feelings matter the same to one another (which should actually matter a lot!). And they are on the same team, so to speak.

This is something that my boyfriend and I are currently working on in our relationship. It’s no secret to him or my family that I can get defensive during an argument or disagreement (no matter the cause or subject matter) and then it becomes almost like a battle between each of us standing our ground and being stubborn together. Not to mention my typical feeling during a disagreement–feeling as if it’s me against the world, or so I’m told. So, with all of these personality traits combined, our disagreements turn into a battle. Once we both get over it and apologize to each other, I have found myself saying more than once, “We are supposed to be a team. Not against each other, but with each other.” We don’t disagree or argue often, but when we do, it’s upsetting to me that I automatically go into defense mode and cause an even worse fight.

So, with that said, equality is something we are working on, big time. We need to see each other as part of the same team. We need to not view each other as battle opponents or in the “versus” one another mode, but with each other. And though I am strong-willed (again, not a surprise to those that know me), I have to remember that as the man, he will become to head of the household and I still have to submit to him as my husband.

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:24)

Further, the Bible also points out how a man should treat his wife.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life. (1 Peter 3:7)

A relationship contains two people. Two people with different personalities. Two people that were brought up differently. Two people with different feelings. And two people who should be thought of as equal to one another. Neither person is more important than the other, nor are the feelings of one person less than that of the other.

Do you think your relationship has equality? Why or why not?


4 thoughts on “Characteristic #11 of a Healthy Relationship

  1. We are equal in value, but distinct in role! In order for him to be able to lead as effectively as God designed we have to empower him in our submission and willingness to put aside our own opinions sometimes. As my pastor says – sometimes being submissive means ducking so God can punch your husband in the face. 🙂 But we also have to be willing to examine our own hearts about the situation and be merciful when he is wrong, and let ourselves be humbled and apologetic when we are wrong.

  2. Agree with Mari! it is more equal than unequal if you follow this model. Each person has to yield to the other but ultimately, it is the husband who has the final say and has to live with his decision. His decision is supposed to also reflect the wishes and ideas of his wife so it really is more equal in that way too…and he is then responsible for the outcome of his decision!
    It is good to see yourselves on the same team–most of the time, one of the persons is aiming to “win” and therefore, it turns into a battle. Not good!

  3. I definitely agree that this is one of the hardest characteristcs to master! I have to work hard on this one and so does Jeff. For me, I think it has a lot to do with being the oldest child in my family so I tend towards thinking I am always right! I know exactly what you mean about knowing you’re escalating a small fight into a big battle even though you hate that you’re doing it. I find that mastering this characteristic just takes a lot of conscious thought about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it AS you say it.

  4. Very good points! Have you heard of the book “How We Love”? My dad has read it and bought it for all of my sisters and I to read. It’s the required reading for our boyfriends before they marry us haha! Really really good book though about how each person’s past affects the way they react in arguments and situations with your significant other. It teaches how you can find a meeting place to work together and be that team you were speaking of!

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