(Photo source: Kate via Unsplash.com)

“If you could give people just one tip about dating and relationships, what would it be?”

I kid you not…this was a question I recently received during an interview.

If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a professional counselor who happens to specialize in areas of dating, marriage, and relationships. I’ve written hundreds upon hundreds of dating and relationship articles. I’ve spoken at conferences, churches, colleges, podcasts, radio interviews, television, and everything in between.

I talk about relationships, write about relationships, and interact with people about relationships almost every single day of my life. I pretty much eat, sleep, breath relationships.

So when asked to boil it down to JUST ONE TIP…I’ll be honest, I had somewhat of a brain freeze. Where do I even begin?

But as I sat there and thought through this, the very heart of my ministry and message began to surface in that moment as I answered that question.

If I had to give just one piece of relationship advice, here’s what I would say:

Healthy people make healthy relationships…so strive to become as healthy as you can be standing alone.

So often we complicate relationship advice. We make it about compatibility, attraction, chemistry, personality, and everything in between. We offer rules, theories, assessments for everything under the sun.

And while I am ALL about those things, I truly believe that at the end of the day the main thing that impacts the health and well being of our relationships boils down to nothing less than our own personal health and well being. In fact, I so much believe this that I dedicated my entire blog ministry to this message!

 The healthier we are, the healthier our relationships…

Like I explain in my book, True Love Dates, human beings are magnetic. There is something inside of us that draws us to people who are on our similar level of emotional, spiritual, and psychological health. The healthier we are, the healthier our relationships, because we find ourselves both attracting and attracted to those types of relationships.

So when you find yourself in the opposite end of the spectrum, navigating from one unhealthy relationship to another, there is a good chance that the problem has little to do with compatibility, intimacy, attraction, communication, personality, or anything else we tend to come up with to explain away our choices…

Deep down, there’s a good chance that problem has everything to do with you. I know. It’s a hard truth to hear. You might not even want to believe it. You’ve spent so much time trying to pass the blame. But hear me out on this, because as hard of a pill as that may be to swallow, it’s also freeing. Because knowing we are the key to the problem, empowers us to realize that we are also the key to the solution.

If you are your biggest relationship problem, than you are also your greatest relationship solution.

And the healthier you become, the healthier your relationships will be.

This blog post originally appeared on True Love Dates and was republished with permission. 

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life. You may also recognize her voice from over 150 articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.