Lesson 4 of 7 - optimize your relationships

Requisites for a
Healthy Relationship

Do You Have
 Enough  of Them?

By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

The Web address of this article is https://sfhelp.org/relate/keys/requisites.htm

Updated  02-20-2015

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      This is one of a series of articles on Lesson 4 - optimize your relationships. These articles build on Lessons 1 - 3, and prepare you for Lesson 5 (evolve a nourishing family) and Lesson 6 (learn to practice effective parenting).

      This brief YouTube video previews what you'll find below. The video refers to eight self-improvement lessons in this Web site. I've reduced that to seven.

      From over 50 adult years on Earth and 36 years' experience as a family-systems and trauma-recovery therapist, I propose necessary ingredients for mutually-satisfying relationships. Use it as a checklist to assess the quality of key relationships in your life - including with a Higher Power, and among the dynamic subselves that make up your personality.

      This article assumes you're familiar with...

  • the intro this Web site and the to basic premises underlying it

  • self-improvement Lessons 1-3

  • these Q&A items on relationships; and...

  • nine barriers to satisfying interpersonal relationships.

 Relationships 101

      We humans are social critters. Well-nurtured adults and kids instinctively form minor to primary bonds - emotional attachments - with other living things, starting with early caregivers. A relationship exists when the existence, presence (or absence), attitudes, and behaviors of one person "significantly" affect the life-quality of another person.

      Interpersonal relationships form spontaneously between people to fill each person's array of primary needs.  

      Your relationships are governed by your and your partner's personalities, needs, priorities, and circumstances. They range between...

  • chosen to required - e.g. relationships with neighbors and co-workers;

  • nurturing (need-filling and growth-promoting) to toxic (wounding);

  • symmetrical (balanced) to unsymmetrical;

  • genuine to pseudo (pretended);

  • independent to interdependent to dependent to codependent (addictive);

  • primary to secondary to superficial;

  • intimate to platonic to impersonal;

  • temporary to long-term; and..

  • proactive (intentional, conscious) to reactive (passive, unconscious).

      All relationships have common and unique requisites, depending on the mix of these factors. If you become aware of the factors that shape the quality of your key relationships (below), you can (a) choose more compatible people, and (b) identify and negotiate missing relationship ingredients with receptive partners. You can also (c) teach your kids this priceless knowledge!


      See how you feel about these proposals:

      Each partner can control or acquire some relationship-requisites (below) and not others. All four sets of factors must be present "often enough," as judged by each partner. for an enduring, mutually-satisfying relationship.

table of contents      A core requisite for any healthy relationship is that each person's personality is often led by their resident true Self. Most personal and social "problems" strongly suggest that the people involved are dominated by false selves, and don't know that or how to reduce it. The Lesson-1 Web pages and related guidebook Who's Really Running Your Life? offer perspective, answers, options, and resources.

      Most core relationship ingredients (below) come from a high-nurturance childhood. Once aware of them, adults guided by their true Selves can cultivate these factors in their homes and family.

      Courtship neediness, idealisms, and excitement are apt to distort your clear, subjective assessment of these relationship ingredients with a prospective partner and their family. Over half of typical marrying Americans eventually decide that they committed to the wrong people, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time.

      The presence or absence of the factors below form a rough indicator of the potential wholistic health of your relationship with each child and adult in your life. They also provide a way of identifying specific factors that could improve your relationships over time.

      Once aware, motivated, Self-led, and self-responsible, your family members, friends, and co-workers can help each other identify and develop missing or weak relationship ingredients. How open is each adult and older child in your family to doing that now? 

   Ingredients of a High-nurturance Relationship

       Read this diagram from the bottom up. Check each item you feel you and/or a relationship partner have enough of or are intentionally working toward. This is about what is, not about anyone being good or bad, or right or wrong!

      Option - think of an important relationship with an adult or child in your life, and see how many of these ingredients you two people have or had. self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 4 here offer more perspective and ideas on how to achieve mutually-satisfying relationships with yourself, other people, and a Higher Power.  

Steady mutual honesty and trusts


"Enough" shared interests


Stable self and mutual respect


Compatible-enough core beliefs, values, and priorities


Enough time to communicate, share, and problem-solve together


Ability to flex between focusing on my needs, your needs, and our needs


Effective-communication knowledge and skills.


Realistic optimisms vs. idealism or pessimism

 Genuine empathy for others

Enough current securities, including social supports

An emerging life purpose

The courage to risk and "fail"

Basic social knowledge and skills

Clear identity and personal boundaries

Genuine inner permission to grieve life losses

 Genuine ability to bond with others

 Enough Self-trust

 Genuine self-respect, self-love, and integrity

Self and spiritual awarenesses

starbullet.gif A harmonious inner family of subselves (personality) usually led by your true Self



Realistic optimisms vs. idealism or pessimism

Genuine empathy for others

Enough current securities, including social supports

An emerging life purpose

Courage to risk and "fail"

Basic social knowledge and skills

Clear identity and personal boundaries

Genuine inner permission to grieve life losses

Genuine ability to bond with others

Enough Self trust

Genuine self respect. self-love, and integrity

Self and spiritual awarenesses

starbullet.gif A harmonious inner family of subselves (personality), usually led by your true Self


REQUITE 1) A safe, stable environment

No natural and/or human disasters now or likely, and enough physical comforts consistently available now and the near future

      Note your reaction to seeing all these ingredients at once. Does this raise your appreciation for how rare mutually-fulfilling relationships are?

      Reality Check: Reflect on your most satisfying relationships. Were most or all of these four sets of ingredients consistently present? Now think of past or present relationships that cause you and/or someone significant stress. How many of these ingredients were missing "too much, too often" in your opinion?

  • Note which of these factors you can control, and which you can't.

  • How does this four-factor concept compare with how you've always thought of a "healthy relationship"?

  • Keep your version of this concept in mind as your family members and friends react to significant relationship problems they encounter

Notes / Thoughts





   Some things I need to do now are...




      This Lesson-4 article proposes key premises about a high-nurturance (mutually satisfying) relationship between any two people. It builds on these premises to propose four sets of requisites that motivated partners can evolve and help each other maintain over time.

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or   ''someone else''?

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