Prioritizing love

Prioritizing love

It’s almost Valentine’s Day. The shelves of local grocery and retail stores are lined with pink candies, extravagantly-priced flowers and picture-perfect promises of love. While this week will be full of people either bragging about their relationship or complaining about their lack of one, this national day of love is a great opportunity to talk about what a healthy relationship really is. Spoiler alert: it’s not about the biggest gift or sweetest social media post. 

Relationships are hard, especially in a college setting. You’re tired, you’re stressed out and sometimes you take it out on the people closest to you. Whether that person is a significant other, friend or family member, the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship is in how you and your partner handle difficult situations. A relationship worth being in is one where you help each other overcome obstacles and grow together instead of bringing the other person down. 

This idea can also be applied to friendships. Think about your relationships with those close to you. Do things seem one-sided on either end? It’s about having mutual respect for each other. You might always be by your best friend’s side when they get a bad grade or go through a bad break-up, but are they there for you when you’re having a bad day? Healthy relationships are a two-way street for having each other’s backs.

Although the season of love may seem to say otherwise, it’s also important to note that love is not about possession or ownership. Though the majority of Valentine’s Day merchandise is conversationally labeled with “Be Mine” or “He’s Mine/She’s Mine,” this is not an idea that can be taken literally. A healthy, adult relationship means setting necessary boundaries and caring about each other in a supportive way. Limiting what your partner can and cannot do is not a solution to a relationship problem. No matter how close two people in a relationship become, there are still two individuals in the relationship who are allowed to have different views, friends and interests. This means that it’s okay to take some “me time” or hang out with friends without your significant other. 

If you want to talk about a problem you are having in any kind of relationship in your life, the Counseling Center at Grand Valley State University provides opportunities to talk and find constructive solutions in a safe environment. The Women’s Center also has resources available for students looking for more information on the options available to students. 

It comes down to this: everyone deserves a healthy relationship. No matter if you’ve found “the one,” if you’re still searching or if you have no interest in a romantic relationship, each one of us deserves to be content and comfortable with our choices, even if it means walking away from a familiar face.