Finding Happiness in a Healthy Relationship

healthy relationship

finding happiness in a healthy relationship

Aaron Pylinski | Community Writer
Like fingerprints, relationships are as unique as the partners that are in them. Although we all have relationship quirks that set us apart, a healthy relationship usually needs some key ingredients to make sure it works. Elements like mutual respect, trust, honesty, support, equality, communication, and playfulness can help keep a relationship healthy, alive, and kicking.

Communication above all is the foundation of a healthy relationship. Open and honest communication helps a couple understand each other's needs and expectations and keeps the couple on the same page. What this means is disengaging from the outside distractions of everyday life and engage with your significant other.

There is no recipe for a healthy relationship

Tips for a Healthy Relationship
A cornerstone for a healthy relationship is an open and honest conversation. According to, a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, here are some tips that can yield positive results in a healthy relationship.

Say Something - If something is bothering you, talk about it with your partner. Don't hold it in.

Show Respect For Your Partner - Both you and your partner's wishes and feelings have value. Show each other mutual respect and let your significant other know you're thinking about them.

Compromise - Couples are always going to disagree, but it's best to find middle ground and compromise. It's a sign of respect for your partner when you can see things their way and come to an accord.

Support Your Partner - Reassure and encourage your partner, but don't forget to let them know when you need their support, too. This goes back to open and honest communication. A strong relationship centers around partners who build each other up, not tear them down.

Respecting Privacy is Important - You may cohabitate, but that doesn't mean you have to be in each other's business constantly. Respect each other's space.

"There is no magic recipe for a healthy relationship. Both partners should be committed to each other and come into the relationship with equality."
Diana Ortiz, LPC, Manager, Family Advocacy Program

In a healthy relationship, mutual love and respect for one another should bring out the best in both of you. Focus on what brought you two together and be willing to accept each other's differences. It is especially important here in Iwakuni because we find ourselves layered in a multicultural environment. This brings a wealth of challenges to a relationship, but it can also expand a person's worldview and teach empathy, which is a silent partner in a healthy relationship.

Healthy relationships aren't always the best of days. Sometimes our relationships need a boost. Now and then we get in a rut, work is demanding, or our kids are just a bit overwhelming. When the relationship seems a bit stale, find ways to bring some excitement back into your life.

Find a hobby that the both of you enjoy, or find an activity that challenges you both either physically or mentally. Challenge yourselves to learn something new together. There are plenty of options through MCCS that can help add a little adventure or change up a routine.

It's not always a boost that keeps your relationships going. There are times when it helps to have an outside source guide you through a rough patch or to help identify underlying issues that may not be easily seen from the surface.

"Finding ways to improve your relationship is all about prevention. There's not necessarily always something wrong. Sometimes you just need a tune-up."
Angela Finley, MPA, Prevention and Education Specialist, Behavioral Health Program

MCCS October Events and Activities

Information Tours & Travel (IT&T): Details can be found on page 22, but they are offering an Onsen overnight trip, a Halloween party at Universal Studios Japan, and a trip to Bunny Island near Hiroshima.

Cultural Adaptation: Details can be found on page 22, but Cultural Adaptation offers two experiences in October, which are rice harvesting and chestnut picking.

October Fitness Schedule: Want to sweat it out with your significant other? Health Promotions offers a variety of health and fitness options and can be found at

Movies: The Sakura Theater is the best performing theater in the U.S. Marine Corps. Get a sitter for the kids and plan a date night to see one of our exciting movie premieres.


Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Our Behavioral Health staff have some great tips to maintaining a healthy relationship:

Couples Counseling: Counseling isn't just for troubled relationships. There are chaplain's retreats, workshops, and counseling sessions that can help keep a relationship healthy.

Love Language: There are five love languages that most people fit into. Some require words of affirmation, some like acts of service, some like to receive gifts, others like quality time, and some need physical touch. Speak with our Behavioral Health professionals to find out what you and your partner's love language is and truly start to love one another deeply.

What MCCS Offers

Married & Loving It Class: Held Wednesdays from 4-5:30 PM in Bldg. 411, Rm. 216, this program is designed to help strengthen the marriage. The workshop highlights the positive aspects of marriage. The purpose is to help couples identify communication skills including the five love languages, guidelines for building a financial future, procedures for conflict resolution within the marriage, and how we spend time in relationships to enjoy married life.

PREP Workshop for Couples: October 24, 8 AM - 5 PM at the Community Support Center at Sakura Theater, Fellowship Hall. If you are married, engaged, or seriously dating, and want romance and passion in your relationship, the PREP approach is for you. Learn to talk together as friends, knock down communication walls, and shut out life's busyness. The PREP approach is a scientifically-based and empirically-tested method of teaching relationship education. It is based on over 30 years of research in the field of relationship health.

Anger Management: Classes are Tuesdays & Thursdays, 9:30-11 AM in Bldg. 411, Rm. 216. Learn skills that can help to manage emotions in the workplace, in relationships or any situation where an individual may need to rely on specific tools. This 10-week training is offered on two separate days of the week. The Tuesday group caters to civilians, and the Thursday group caters to military personnel.

MCFTB Resources: LINKS for Spouses (NOV 2, 8 AM - 2:30 PM Sakura Theater Fellowship Hall), Anger Management for Japanese Spouses (OCT 17, 10 AM - Noon, Community Support Center, Rm. 211 ), Interpersonal Communication Skills for Japanese Spouses (OCT 16, 10 AM - Noon, Station Chapel Conference Room). Details for these classes are available at

In the vein of respecting one's privacy and personal space, take a spa day or go outside to recharge your batteries. MCCS offers spa services at Ironworks seven days a week. If you want to get outdoors and don't have a plan, talk to Outdoor Rec or Information Tours & Travel (IT&T). Outdoor Rec carries maps of hiking trails in the area, and IT& T has any number of chaperoned events that take you through some of Japan's prettiest countryside.

If you're noticing deeper issues that a boost can't settle, there's a possibility your relationship is heading into troubled waters. Noticing an unhealthy relationship early on isn't cause for immediate concern. Taking the time to work through issues with your significant other before it gets out of hand is a sign of a strong relationship, so long as both parties are willing to work on the issues. Beyond that, an unhealthy relationship can lead to bigger problems.


What Makes A Relationship Unhealthy?
Just as mutual respect, open communication, and compromise are keys to a healthy relationship, many factors can turn a relationship unhealthy. According to, typically, power, control, and lack of respect lend to an unhealthy relationship. Sometimes, an unhealthy relationship can also be an unsafe one. If you think you are in an unsafe relationship, seek help immediately. Take these bits of information into consideration when thinking about an unhealthy relationship:

Life is full of choices; someone can only change if they want to. It's not up to you to change your partner.

Take care of yourself. In an unhealthy relationship, your partner is trying to control or hold power over you and seldomly taking your needs into consideration.

Find a support system, talk to friends or family. Abusers in an unhealthy relationship tend to isolate their partner. Know to look for a listening ear.

Don't discount ending the relationship. Your safety and wellbeing are important. If you aren't feeling accepted, release yourself from your tormentor and move on.

"In an unhealthy relationship, the victim can feel isolated and cut off from help. Being a good bystander can mean the difference between someone getting help or remaining stuck in a potentially unsafe environment that could have catastrophic consequences."
Diana Ortiz, LPC, Manager, Family Advocacy Program

If you are observing a potentially unhealthy relationship with someone, make it your business to step in and be a good friend and provide support. Take this into consideration: "Not my business" adds to the victim's isolation. Be there, be supportive. If nothing else lend a listening ear. Those stuck in an abusive relationship suffer in silence. If you see something, ask if there is a problem and let them know you are here for them. You don't have to solve the problem. Connect the victim with professional help, don't confront the abuser this could add to the problem.

"In the end, it's about you being safe and getting the help you need."
Angela Finley, MPA, Prevention and Education Specialist, Behavioral Health Program

All said any relationship worth working on is a healthy one. When love and respect is mutual, there's no problem too big that the both of you cannot solve. Healthy relationships allow both partners to feel supported and independent. Remember to enjoy each other and live life to the fullest.