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5 surprisingly healthy lessons from Fifty Shades of Grey that can help your marriage rock
Relationships can be complicated. Having a solid understanding of who you are and what you stand for can help you build a stronger relationship and become a stronger person. - photo by Dan Gray
With the release of the film Fifty Shades of Grey, Hollywood seems to be romanticizing abusive and unhealthy relationships. But at the end of the day, what we see are two people struggling with their own insecurities and a woman who is trying to save the man she loves.

Many womenand men, in some caseswho enter into a relationship with an addict find themselves depressed, isolated, and full of self-doubt.

For bothfans of the film and avid protesters, there are actually a lot of lessons that Fifty Shades of Grey can teach us about building healthy relationships. In looking at where Ana and Christians relationship failed, we can find ideas for improvement in our own relationships.

Here are five relationship tips to take away from the series:

1. Set boundaries. This is an invaluable skill that many of us either havent learned or dont use. Boundaries are critical for building a healthy relationship and understanding our limits. To set your own boundaries, take some time to write down what makes you uncomfortable or stressed in a relationship, along with compromises you are willing to tolerate. As you write your list, consider your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. Encourage your spouse to create a similar list and share with one another.

2. Prioritize open communication. Too many relationships hit roadblocks because couples forget to keep the communication lines open. Between working, taking care of the kids, housework, and everything else, finding time to really talk with your spouse is often put on the back burner.

Set aside time each week, if not each day, to have meaningful conversations with your spouse. Discuss your daily lives, make decisions, and reconnect. Its important to remember that good communication is a two-way streetit requires both speaking openly and listening actively. As you improve your communication skills, you will find it easier to open up and be vulnerable with one another.

3. Recognize red flags. This goes back to setting personal boundaries. When you know yourself and understand your limits, you become more aware of relationship red flags. Not all red flags are a sign to end the relationship, but they are important to be aware of as they often cause a relationship to become unhealthy.

Some key red flags to keep in mind: lack of communication, lack of support from friends and family, control issues, jealousy, a dark or secretive past, and most importantly abusive behaviorphysical, sexual, or emotional. This last one is a huge sign thats its time to reevaluate your relationship and find support.

4. Have a support system. A support system can be a great resource for anyone in a relationship, regardless of if the relationship is healthy or unhealthy. Whether its a family member, a good friend, or a more established group, the right support system will allow you to connect with others and validate your feelings. These groups are a great way to get practical advice, improve your coping skills, and reclaim your self-confidence. There are several ways to find a support groupmany religious groups and community centers offer free groups that are open to anyone.

5. Know yourself. This point is especially importantand often overlookedfor women. In a culture where women are used to putting everyone else first, finding time to know who you are is not always on the to-do list. However, self-knowledge can help you understand who you are, what you stand for, areas for self-improvement, and when to let go. Get to know yourself through journaling, meditation, and taking time for yourself.

Relationships can be complicated. Having a solid understanding of who you are and what you stand for can help you build a stronger relationship and become a stronger person.
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