Something crucial to have before and throughout your marriage with your spouse is a healthy relationship. Dr. John Van Epp has written about the importance of being a healthy person in a healthy relationship. He has been able to research and study what it takes to be in a great relationship and how to change if you aren’t.
First off, he says, “Healthy people make healthy choices.” He doesn’t mean that you can’t eat the dessert, but he does mean that your actions and thoughts stem from your past and present. Everything you have experienced and do now affect your relationship and marriage. He also said that, “Being a healthy individual is the prerequisite to being a healthy partner.” Being a good person, trying to better yourself, striving to be more than what you are now are all things that help you become healthy. If you are well balanced you are doing yourself, and your spouse, a service. “Being healthy is not just enough; you need to get healthy and smart about your relationship,” goes along with his idea of being a healthy individual for the sake of your marriage. This also goes along with the head and heart knowledge that we discussed in a previous article. If you feel that you need to better yourself in your marriage, start with figuring out what it is that you want to do better in. Are your lacking understanding and information about your spouse? Have you stopped being emotionally dependent on your spouse? Try and find what you can do to be a healthier person for yourself, and for your marriage.
A big part of an unhealthy marriage comes from unhealthy needs. What’s the difference between healthy and unhealthy needs you ask? Van Epp says, “Unhealthy [emotional] needs are normal needs taken to extremes.” Can you think of any normal needs that you might have turned into extreme needs? Van Epp gave a few examples of what this might look like including love turning into dependency, giving turning into enabling and codependency, and trusting turning into becoming naïve. These needs become dangerous after a while and can develop into relationship problems down the road. Although needs happen naturally and every human experiences them, we are able and have the power to control them.
Van Epp explains that needs become hazardous in our marriages. He says, “However, when a need is repeatedly neglected, a different pattern emerges. The need intensifies into a demand. If this emotional demand I unfulfilled, then it continues to increase until it becomes an absolute necessity.” You might be thinking that having these negative needs in your life can be critical to your marriage. It’s true. You will not have a healthy marriage that will last. But there is nothing to fear as long as you have a desire to change. And change is possible!
From his research he has put together four things that coincide with one another that results in change. The first one is having an insight into yourself. Are you able to see the mistakes you have made and are willing to admit to them? New information is second. What information have you found to help you out? Third is motivation. What is going to motivate you to be a healthier person for yourself and your spouse? And fourth is time. Changing and progress takes time and that’s is exactly what you need to give yourself. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see results. If you don’t see results after a long period of time, are you trying your best? Have you pinpointed what you need to be working on?
Van Epp has discussed and explained what a healthy and unhealthy relationship is. He has helped make it easier for you to figure out where you and your spouse are at individually and together!