How To Foster Healthy, Loving Relationships

loving relationshipsWe all need someone in a relationship whose words speak life into us; someone whose praise outweighs their complaints. Healthy relationships are ones that encourage us in defeat, align with us in injustice, comforts us in sadness, and expresses appreciation in the neutral times even when nothing prompts it. Yet, it’s human tendency to underestimate anything that doesn’t cost us anything, so it makes it easy to overlook the people we love most, and the things we are truly grateful for about them.

Think about your relationships for a moment. When was the last time you thought about what you loved most about your children? When was the last time you shared that? Or looked at your spouse with fondness and admiration for what is good about them instead of what isn’t? 

We have been brought into this world to love, value, and appreciate one another so that by our love, we can bring goodness into the world through the small things we do that pour forth into others. Trust me, it has a rippling effect. Loved people go out and love others.

READ: More Than Just a Pretty Face: Fostering Confidence in Kids

So, this week, be part of helping your loved ones discover and cultivate their individual gifts by considering what words of praise you can offer your family — and then when you think it, say it. When you notice it, remind them. When you feel love, express it. Because to give and show love freely is one of the greatest expressions of love we can offer our families. Try things like:

  • I constantly learn from you.”
  • “The way you treat people inspires me.”
  • “You are such a good listener. I always feel heard when I speak to you.”
  • “I appreciate how authentically you show up.”
  • “Your confidence is something I aspire to.”
  • “You make me feel like I belong.”
  • “Your resilience gives me hope.”
  • “I love that you don’t hesitate to apologize when you regret something.”
  • “I really admire your passion.”
  • “You bring out the best in me.”

Or choose your own! What three statements of encouragement could you come up with for someone special in your life who needs it most? Commit to sharing them this week. People truly remember the feeling our words leave in them, even when the specific words are forgotten. It’s what cultivates the silent feeling of worth.

And when it comes to upset, avoid statements like, “Why do you always…?” and try instead, “When this happens, help me understand it. What’s going on for you?” “What do you think you need to better manage that moment?”

Strive to do your best to provide lots of encouragement, understanding, positive reward, and warmth outside moments of correction. Research shows that complaints that surface within a loving relationship with positive sentiment, show far better outcomes than those same complaints in unhappy relationships. So, try to be mindful of building an emotional climate that will help the people in your life feel loved, valued, and worthy, so that not only do their natural gifts flourish, but in moments where correction is needed, they are more likely to reflect and grow, rather than defensively distance themselves from us and the values we desire for them. 

Woman in black sleeveless top and white skirtAbout the Author

Dr. Roxanne Louh, a native of Gainesville, is a New Windowlicensed clinical psychologist in Jacksonville, Florida, where she uses her extensive training in private practice with expertise in a variety of concerns, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, marriage, and parenting issues, and eating disorders, body image awareness, and women’s issues. She strongly believes in the prevention of mental health issues through education and awareness. Dr. Louh has presented to national groups, universities, area high schools, and churches across the country and continues to dedicate much of her time to community-wide presentations, reaching the public through various news media, social media, radio, educational talks, and blogs. An established member of the American Psychological Association, she regularly makes appearances on local news show The Chat and contributes to a blog for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, entitled “Healthy Minds Healthy Souls.” Together, Dr. Louh and her husband, Fr. Nicholas Louh, an Orthodox priest, co-host “Live with the Louhs,” a weekly radio show that airs at 8 p.m. EST on Ancient Faith Radio. She has also co-written a book with her husband entitled Renewing You: A Priest, A Psychologist and A Plan, which addresses eight of the biggest challenges she sees people dealing with and tackles them from both a faith and psychological perspective. Follow Dr. Louh on social media at Instagram New Window@thelouhs or receive her powerful daily inspirational messages by subscribing to Dr. Louh lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Nicholas, and their two children, George and Gabriella.


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