There is no such thing as a “perfect marriage,” but there are some characteristics that healthy relationships share.
A relationship is something that is supposed to lend you support and provide you with the emotional stability that keeps you mentally and physically healthy. A healthy relationship not only brings out the best in you, but it also makes you feel good about who you are. And it also gives you the confidence to be your authentic self. Of course, no relationship is 100% perfect.
But there are signs that you should look for that indicate you are in a loving relationship that bolsters you. Although there is no one set of rules that a relationship should operate under, because each couple is different, these are 10 characteristics of what a healthy relationship looks like. And they shouldn’t be optional. If you are missing them, then it might be time to reevaluate or to address what you are lacking to find true peace and happiness.
The number one thing that you must have in a healthy relationship is trust. If you don’t have trust between two people, then you lack the essential foundation for building emotional intimacy. And that can lead to being hurt again and again.
When you don’t have trust, it steals your security to know that the person you are with will be there for you when you need them. Or, if they are being honest about what they say and feel. In a healthy relationship, there should be stability to know that you can be vulnerable and not get hurt. Otherwise, there is no way to build the emotional bond that is necessary for security in a relationship.
Although many couples understand that communication is the key to a healthy relationship, they don’t always understand what that means. Communication is not about how much you talk to one another. But instead, about the comfortableness, you have in telling your partner things that might not be easy to talk about. As humans, we learn to keep things under wraps, hiding what we don’t like about ourselves from others.
Communication means being open and honest, even if it doesn’t present us in the best light or makes us feel vulnerable. It also means being able to talk openly without fear of reprisal when something is said that the other person might not like or agree with. Healthy communication involves giving someone the floor to express their feelings, good or bad. And even if you don’t agree, respecting their opinions and beliefs.
Science tells us that appreciation is one of the most significant indicators of a healthy relationship. When we feel appreciated, it makes us feel worthy and secure. When you express gratitude for your partner and their actions, you show that you aren’t taking them for granted. And also, you confirm that you are lucky to have them in your life.
The more appreciative you are of them, the more responsive they will be of you. A simple “thank you” goes a long way toward strengthening your relationship and finding happiness with the person you are with. It is also an excellent tool to reduce negative feelings. And to prevent the resentment that can do a lot of damage to the bond between two people.
Respect is often something that is downplayed as a cornerstone of a healthy relationship. When communicating with your partner, it is critical to speak to them lovingly and respectfully. Belittling, invalidating, or debasing them will only hurt the relationship. Not only is it essential to talk to them with respect, but also in a respectful way.
Discussing your partner negatively when they aren’t around, or to them in front of other people, diminishes the bond that two people share. The conversations that you have should be kept confidential. And putting your partner down can create a feeling of distrust and resentment, which is very hard to undo. When the respect between two people starts to breakdown, so does the closeness of the relationship they share.
A relationship is hard work, and it takes a lot of patience. There are many stressors in life like children, work, and money, which can make you more likely to react swiftly and with anger. And although it may be more difficult at times, having patience with your partner is highly critical to maintain peace, support, and to provide them with a feeling of unconditional love.
When couples are chronically impatient with one another, they often build a relationship that is based on resentment. Over time, people begin to save up their assaults and offenses. And they can create cracks in a relationship that breeds negative feelings. Being able to put aside your stress and calm your reactions when relating to your partner is essential for open communication. And it is also vital to show unconditional love.
Empathy is the way that you can view another person’s perspective. And it is essential to make sense of their feelings and reactions. It is a highly critical part of a healthy relationship. Being able to understand the emotions that your partner is feeling is necessary for helping them get through their struggles. Attempting to understand how your partner feels is the only way to support them through the good times and the bad. And it is the cornerstone of long-term and healthy love.
Attraction and Affection
Human touch is essential for well-being, and it is also one of the signs of a healthy relationship. Being able to express your love for one another and the attraction you have fosters not just loving but also liking one another. Small things like a hug, a kiss goodbye, or even a touch on the shoulder signal to your partner that you are still interested in and care about them.
Affection builds a stronger bond and leads to more intimacy, which is also essential for a relationship to survive. Although you might not have the deep attraction that you once had in the early stages, human touch and affection are both essential for a healthy and ongoing relationship. There is no magic quantifiable amount of affection, but remember, the smallest of gestures can go a long way to maintaining a loving and close relationship.
Being Happy Over Being Right
In life, you often have two choices; you can strive to be happy or to be right. In a healthy relationship, both couples seek to find happiness, not to win. Relationships are based on compromise, where each partner has to give in once in a while and put their significant other’s wants and desires above their own sometimes.
Decision-making should be something that both parties do, not just one dominating the course of the relationship. And both partners need to be willing to grow and change over time. Not only will your relationship go through different phases, but both people will alter and grow too. Being able to bend is essential not to break the relationship. And it also helps not to build resentment that can eat away at the love two people share.
When two people begin a relationship, they often think in terms of turn-taking. For instance, “I chose where we went to dinner last time, it is her turn this time.” Over time, the need to keep score should start to fade, and there should be a natural rhythm to you both getting your needs met. If one person feels they are being taken advantage of or giving in all the time, that creates resentment and anger.
One of the most significant factors in a healthy relationship is the theory of equity, or that each person is both giving and receiving the same in a relationship. That includes being equally supportive of one another’s needs and getting just as much as you feel you are offering, both physically and emotionally.
Studies tell us that one of the biggest factors of a couple’s happiness is the way that they argue and confront an uncomfortable situation. In fact, it remains a significant predictor of whether a couple stays together or not. When you begin a relationship, you are more willing to accept criticism or to look the other way when conflict arises. You are also more willing to give in and to compromise.
Couples who are met with stonewalling by their partner, or worse, escalating a confrontation to name-calling or personal attacks, are far less likely to experience a healthy bond with one another. Being able to talk things through, even if they get a little heated, while still maintaining a level of respect for one another, is highly critical to having a happily forever after.
Finding A Loving Relationship Might Take Work…But it is Possible
Although there is no magic formula for a healthy relationship, there are specific markers that science tells us are the predictors to a harmonious and supportive union. When two people feel equal, respect, and trust one another, then a strong emotional bond helps to create goodwill and a lasting relationship. Without the ingredients above, it is difficult to find security and to feel unconditionally loved in a relationship.