Is there a “Right One?” – 6 Indicators of a Healthy Relationship

Danny Silk

Many romantic movies are based on the fantasy of meeting “the one.” As fun as it may be to watch this fantasy played out, in real life it’s pretty problematic. For one, the idea that we all have to find our  “soul mate” in this world of billions of people is totally daunting. Talk about pressure! For another, the focus on “finding the one” can distract us from the things that are actually essential to lasting romance. The truth is this:

Lasting romance is the fruit of a healthy covenant relationship. And the foundation of a healthy covenant marriage is a lifelong commitment of chosen love.

Rather than finding the “one,” you should be preparing to choose the “one.”  This means  you should be a powerful person seeking another powerful person.  Powerful people can manage their life and choices, and in turn know how to manage their half of the relationship. When two people have proven to one another that they are powerful, then they will actually believe one another when they say “I do.”

So, what are the indicators that you’re in a healthy relationship headed toward marriage?  Here are 6 ways to know that your relationship is powerful enough to handle the commitment of “I do.”

1. A Desire to grow

Emotionally healthy relationships operate upon the common goal of personal growth. Each person is responsible for their own growth and development. They have humility, seek out learning about themselves, and are able to adapt to meet the needs of others. Someone with a growth mentality has a desire to become the best possible version of themselves so they can share that version with others.

2. Pursuit of the relationship

Someone who is ready to be in a committed relationship will pursue the other person. The amount of time spent calling, texting, making plans, learning about the other person, and following up conversations with action should be equally split between two people. One might initiate interest, but in order for the relationship to grow into a commitment, there needs to be equal pursuit and investment.

3. Personal responsibility

Powerful people know how to manage their own life and choices. They will do what they say they are going to do. When they make a commitment, they do not break it. They are the kind of people that let their “yes be yes, and their no be no.”

4. Ability to be vulnerable

Being vulnerable means you are able to let others in to see your heart. Without vulnerability, there can be no intimacy. In a healthy relationship, both people know how to be vulnerable and protect one another’s vulnerability.  Too much vulnerability too soon, before trust is established, isn’t healthy, and can create the need for boundaries. But as two people grow toward committed love, there should be greater levels of trust and vulnerability.

5. Emotional healing

Every person was born into a different set of circumstances. Some have had healthy models of communication and relationship, while others had anything but good examples. A key to being ready for a lifelong commitment is dealing with past hurts and emotional woundings. In order to best manage their own life and choices, powerful people take stock of any unhealthy behavior patterns in their life, ask questions about how these may be connected to their past, address  the root causes of these patterns, and  take a course of action that leads to new behavior patterns.

6. Valuing the connection

Someone who values the connection in a relationship will seek to resolve any issues that might cause disconnection. You cannot transfer love back and forth in a relationship when there is no connection. Two people might have different ways of dealing with disconnection. One person might need some space to internally process, and the other might want to immediately verbally process. It is important to value what each person might need to work through a disconnect, but the goal is always to find a way to reconnect.

Every person is on their own path of growth and maturity. To be in a healthy marriage, it requires two powerful people making daily decisions toward connection and covenant. Looking for the “right one” starts with being the right one for someone else. Once you are able to manage your own life and choices, the ability to find someone else who can also manage theirs becomes much easier. Remember, the goal is always to be able to say,

“You won’t ever have to manage my half of this relationship.”




PS) Do you have another topic of relational intelligence you’d like to know more about, or a question about dating or marriage? Send us your questions in the comments.

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  1. This article is a breath of fresh air! Most often I read articles that say not to get involved in a relationship with someone that does this, or that. And it’s daunting because people all have issues and when I evaluate truthfully I also fit the criteria for who not to marry sometimes. But this article the way I understand it is that the focus is not on specific issues a person has but on a willingness and desire to grow. And taking steps toward growth…

  2. Great stuff!
    I’d also like to hear more on dating again after divorce. I’m becoming that powerful person who is ready to seek relationship again and not even sure where to begin to look. Online dating is such a messy place, full of men that don’t hold the same values as I choose to have in my life. Any advice for dating as a divorced 40 something?

  3. Hi a topic I would love more on is what to do in a marriage where husband is addicted to alcohol but high functioning in all areas apart from with his wife and also disrespectful to the wife. Thank you .

  4. Thank you for sending this message out to grow us up in real love and to counteract the pervasive messages of the world. The world/media reflects everyone’s hopes to be faithfully loved and cherished! But you have nailed the path to a marriage that can deliver that in reality! Thank you. Please, would you be willing to elaborate on the covenant relationship of marriage and what you sometimes refer to as covenant friendships? Thank you!!

  5. This is a very good and honest read! My question is, what you feel while and able to say " I am powerful person on my own, but still find it hard to find someone?

  6. Danny, thank you for your teachings.
    Please address this issue of what wife should do, when husband does not go to work, but prefers sitting at home, till he finds his ideal job. The husband has become so passive and is not even concerned that he has to work, so his children could get better life and the wife will be under less stress. He;s in a way chosen to self destruct by not trying to grow or seek counsel or take care off his health. How do a wife deal with such a husband?

    1. Hi Rose,
      The bigger question is "Why would he ever change?" You could say because his family needs him to or because it’s the right thing to do or so that his self respect would return or … My response to that would be "none of those reasons are working’. He isn’t going to change for those reasons. That being the case, "why would he ever change?’ The answer is "he won’t’ He has everything he needs comfortably enabling him while he lives disrespectfully and irresponsibly towards his whole family. Why would he change, most likely because you change. What are you unwilling to do while he acts this way? Why would you change in this situation? Continuing to do the same thing over and over hoping for a different result …. remember what that’s called? What are you going to do different?

  7. Whenever I read your stuff I feel the Holy Spirit all over it. 🙂 You asked for questions and mine is: I disconnected from a couple long-time friends years ago because I felt criticized and disrespected over and over – even after it was discussed. I realize now the person could have been reacting out of fear. Should I go back and try to reconcile with these people, but set boundaries? I was not good at staying connected but setting boundaries back then.

  8. I’d like to have some discussion on a parents role when there are red flags with someone their young adult child is dating. Especially when that child is starry eyed. We have pressed this with ours. But, we see parents intimidated about what to do or how. Not to say we did not approach ours with caution and much prayer.

    1. My opinion is it is a real way to meet people these days. I’m sure there are good ones and bad ones. I’d see how the reviews pan out on the site you might be interested in.

  9. Hi Danny,

    I would love to understand the pre-checks on existing emotional baggage and how to work through them prior to engaging in a purposeful relationship, minimizing triggers as much as possible beforehand.

    1. I’m sure we would all love to avoid as much unnecessary surprises as we could. You might check out the Defining The Relationship material we have at Loving On Purpose. It is intentional in discussing topics most young relationships avoid or deny early on. I think you might find the material helpful to answer your questions.

  10. Some great points here Danny but my wife of 36 years and I wonder about the statement about the other person never having to manage the other half of the relationship. We’d suggest saying something like, " In as much as it is possible you will not have to manage my half of the relationship, but if I need you to, I trust you to do it in a loving way that is honoring." That gives permission to help each other when one doesn’t have the resources to help themselves. Would you agree?

    1. Great! Not quite what I was going for in that you cannot get me to do anything I don’t choose to do. Therefore, the comment is addressing the issue of control vs cooperation and support. Make sense?

  11. Thank you for this oportunity,
    How do we handlle if there are emotional isseus in an new relation, (both our partners died of cancer , and now we get to know each other)- should you waith or work them out together, and take some time fore that. Or should we waith and deal with these isseus separately.

    1. I’m sure it depends on the people involved in the relationship. Some may need to wait and others will do great with the support of someone who has so much clarity and understanding of the issues you face. I’d include others in the process to help you see if this is healthy or a set up to be immersed in unnecessary emotional turmoil.

  12. Danny,
    Do you have any advice for those that have mostly "one way" relationships? I am the primary caregiver for my wife, who has had dementia for about ten years. It is sometimes tough to "keep your love on" as a husband when you are also having to act in many ways as a parent. My desire is to continue to infuse the Kingdom is every area of may life, including this role.

    1. Hi Dan,
      I would imagine that this is becoming more and more like a parent-child relationship rather than a marriage. With that being the case, you will feed on the good times and be patient in the strenuous times. Be sure to cultivate other life giving exchanges with adults that you enjoy. Hopefully, you have some respite systems of support set up in your world.

  13. Hi Danny, Many thanks for your very helpful content!
    I met a great man, we are doing the "Defining the Relationship" together… will be doing session 3, our "Mission Statement" next… I feel we are stuck in the "my dream" against "your dream"… We both love our career, know our purpose in life and feel we are on a mission… and want to focus on this… they don’t seem to go against each other, except if one leaves the country to pursue it’s job and the other has to follow. I want my partner in life to be happy and fulfilled but not to the cost of my fulfilment… how do you know when it’s time to focus on your partners’ life and put yours "on hold", when another time he will put his life on hold for you to pursue your dream too?
    Also, being a woman, and my partner quite traditionalist, I fear my "life" choices will always come second and my role will be to follow and bless my husband… I don’t necessarily agree…(Eph 5v22 – submission doesn’t necessarily means he gets his way, you follow)… is there any teaching on this? I know I’m a powerful women, I’m not sure my partner accepts this… being both powerful does it mean "both leaders"?… which we are… my partner has hard time believing in this "equal leadership"… help! 😉 … may be I need to change my perspective on this …

    I really bless and honour your ministry… thanks for being here and doing this!

  14. Danny, I’ve always taking the approach that God would bring me a healthy relationship with a man, as I sought Him first. Now that I’m 53 I’m fight the notion that I’ve been a total failure in this department of my life. I have two unhappily married sisters who are celebrating grand babies which often and it just leads me to sensation of more failure. So I’m delight that someone is taking an interest in share what healthy relationships look like. I seem to attrack single men who want to marry me in the first month of friendship and have no concept of building a relationship to get there. Any thoughts about how to draw relationship out of them instead of simply dropping them because I’m not ready to race to the alter.

  15. Danny my question is when having chosen "the one" instead of finding the one how does this concept effect your calling. If she has different intrests than I do.

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