As a couple’s therapist, I enjoy seeing couples who get past kinks and create a healthy relationship with each other. Couples are unique and they find ways to make their relationship work specific to their needs. But for as long as I’ve been a therapist there are also several key things that I have found that are consistently present in healthy relationships. Here are 10.
Ten Signs of a Healthy Relationship
Quality time is different for each couple. Examples of quality time may be hiking or having a date night. It can also be much simpler through cuddling and watching Netflix on the couch. However you define “quality time”, having it consistently is a sign that you are in a healthy relationship.
It is common to see the social media “perfect couple” or “ideal couple” doing everything together. They appear to have all of the same interests or hobbies. In actuality, it is a healthy sign for the couple to share some interests but to also have individual interests. Healthy relationships maintain each partner’s individuality and continue the hobbies that keep them happy.
#3 Shared Values
Having values in common will help you to decide the direction of your relationship and your family. Some examples of values are family time, spirituality, and honesty. Sharing the values that mean the most to each of you is a strong sign that you are in a healthy relationship.
#4 Find Support in your Spouse
Oftentimes couples find support outside of their relationship. Outside supports include social media, friends, family, or co-workers, etc. While having a support system of friends, family and co-workers is good, It’s even better to find that support from your partner. When times get tough, it is important that your partner is your confidant rather than another person outside of your relationship.
To add to the previous sign of a healthy relationship, it is healthy to establish boundaries with your support system. In therapy, couples often talk about issues related to friends or family providing unwanted advice about their relationship. Other people may also make toxic suggestions such as having an affair or ending the relationship. Be sure to establish boundaries with your supports and continue turning to your partner to resolve issues and work towards solutions.
We have all heard the phrase “he/she makes me a better person.” This could not be more true in a healthy relationship. In life, we are surrounded by others who may not want us to succeed or they are jealous of our accomplishments. It is important to have a partner who encourages your success and your happiness. An encouraging partner is a sign of a healthy relationship.
All healthy couples have disagreements at one time or another in their relationship. If you are not disagreeing, you’re probably not communicating. Disagreeing is a sign of a healthy relationship – just make sure to have a fair fight.
Instead of holding grudges, people in healthy relationships let go of disagreements or arguments. This does not mean that you ignore issues. But, if you decided that you will not agree on an issue and that you may never agree, it may be time to let it go. Holding a grudge is unhealthy and it will not benefit the relationship in any way.
#9 Appreciate Their Imperfections
None of us are perfect, we all have a past, and we all have insecurities. In a healthy relationship, each partner in the relationship acknowledges that they have flaws as individuals and so does their spouse. A sign that your relationship is healthy is that you appreciate your spouse’s imperfections and accept them how they are.
#10 Joint Decisions
It is guaranteed that there will be times in your relationship when significant decisions need to be made. A sign that your relationship is healthy is that you and your partner make those decisions together. Alternatively, important decisions that are made without the others input will surely impact the relationship negatively.
While you’ve probably seen many “healthy relationships” in your life, these signs are the most consistent across what I have witnessed as a marriage counselor. Use this article as a tool to see what may already be working well in the relationship and to find other ideas that may help enrich your marriage..
About the Author
Chris Cummins is couples specialist with The Marriage and Family Clinic. He focuses on working with substance abuse and couples in high conflict. Chris enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with his family.