When I was the co-ordinator for women and children in a domestic abuse program, women would often ask, in frustration, “Is there such a thing as a healthy relationship?’

There have been many articles and lists, detailing what a healthy relationship looks like, but some of those lists were exhausting detailed.

I found the easier and best guide was to buy a row of Canadian breath mints and follow the acronym: CERTS

CERTS is an easy and, I think, complete guideline to understand what a healthy friendship, romantic relationship, or marriage looks like.

C-consent: Both partners can discuss, have differing opinions, and come to a common, un-manipulated conclusion on any topic or decision, or simply agree amicably to disagree.
E-equality: Each person is as important as the other in all ways, in all decisions
R-respect: When one is talking, the other is making eye contact, listening, not planning on an immediate answer but willing to pose more questions, while body language demonstrates engagement.
T-trust: Trust takes time. It’s a good idea to give trust time to build in a relationship over 4 seasons whether its summer, fall, winter, spring or baseball, soccer, basketball, and track.
S-Safety: Safety is a core Need for all humans. This includes emotional, verbal,physical, sexual, financial, spiritual, and spatial safety.

Yes, it is possible to have a healthy relationship and that is good news.