What Makes a Healthy Relationship?

Healthy Lifestyle Blog

What Makes a Healthy Relationship?

In my practice I’m often asked the following question: “Does anyone have a healthy and happy relationship?”  With all the stories of break-ups, separations and divorces in the media, our families and friend groups, one might wonder if there are any satisfying, long-term relationships out there.  The answer, of course, is ‘yes.’ Many couples are still wonderfully and willingly attached.  Although there are no perfect unions, there are certainly relationships that are very healthy….which is why the people involved are very happy.  Below is a list of some of the most important factors affecting a couple’s health and happiness. Take a look and remember, we’re all on a journey and working to improve ourselves individual.  Our relationships take more than just a bit of effort, and by working together the rewards can be everlasting love and happiness.

1. Each person having a healthy self-esteem
2. Using only words of affirmation, not devaluation
3. Mutual transparency and vulnerability
4. Both parties are able to give and receive equally
5. Freedom to ask each other what you want
6. Absence of any violence or abuse
7. Allowing and encouraging growth
8. Equality of power within the partnership
9. Established inter-dependence rather than co-dependence
10. The ability to safely express feelings to each other
11. No manipulation or attempts to control one another
12. Comfortably experiencing times of togetherness and separateness
13. An openness to change and explore new things together
14. Physical, intellectual, spiritual and emotional intimacy
15. Joyfully accepting an exclusive commitment

How does your relationship stack up based upon these 15 factors?

Comments ( 2 )

  • Gina, you’re right about these fifteen points. I’ve been married for 20 years and the only spots where we have real difficulty are when we’re off on these criteria. Number 1 for example. If one of us is doing the low self-esteem thing, it mucks things up. I think the more of these criteria you observe being met in your relationship the less complicated it is. I notice that sexual attraction isn’t on the list. I’d love to talk with someone who has that in their list as well and find out how they did it.

  • Holly-
    You make a great point. Physical Attraction is generally what brings people together initially. As relationships grow we become attracted to our partner for lots of other reasons, like their intelligence, compassion for others and even their ability to parent. Unfortunately, sexual intimacy can get pushed to the back burner. The happiest couples report having healthy sex lives. It is an aspect of all relationships that must be kept fresh and exciting. Stay tuned for more info on building ultimate sexual intimacy in your relationship.

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