Healthy marriages bring psychological and physical benefits. Married people have a healthier immune systems* and live longer. How can you tell if your marriage is one that is healthy and health promoting? The more of the following signs your relationship has the healthier it is. If you find that you are lacking in some areas, take that as valuable information that there is something you could work to improve.
Signs of a Healthy Marriage:
Responsibility for Personal Needs. Partner’s recognize that they are ultimately responsible for meeting their own needs and they do their best to help each other meet those needs.
Respectful Communication. Couples have open and honest communication. They communicate daily when possible.
Relationship is a Priority. Couples continue nourishing their relationship. They consistently create time for the two of them.
Realistic Expectations. Couples in healthy relationships see each other as whole people, with strengths and flaws. They love each other in spite of their weaknesses.
Empathy. Partners are willing and able to empathize with each other. They are willing to see things from their partner’s perspective and make what their partner wants and needs as important to them as what they want and need.
Constructive Conflict. Conflict is a part of healthy relationships. In a healthy relationship conflict is dealt with in an open and respectful way, so that it strengthens the relationship rather than ripping it apart.
Intimacy (sexual and non-sexual) Healthy relationships have a level of trust and connection that is satisfying and comforting. There are expressions of tenderness, caring, and concern. Sexual intimacy is always respectful, unique to each couple and takes into consideration the needs and desires of both partners.
Financial Responsibility. Couples share the decision-making about finances and come to an agreement on how they will handle finances that feels good to both partners.
Flexibility. Partners accept that change is unavoidable. They are proactive, flexible and solution oriented.
Sense of Humor. Couples are able to laugh at themselves and to find the humor in situations. Healthy couples use their sense of humor and good will to enjoy life and to deal with the unsolvable differences in their relationship.
Shared Responsibilities. There is a willingness to share responsibilities and work together as a team to accomplish daily tasks as well as working toward their goals.
Alliance of Two Adults. Partner’s see each other as equals and behave as two mature adults, rather than behaving either childishly or domineeringly.
Individuality. Healthy marriages are the union of two whole people to make one great relationship. Each partner has a sense of his or her own identity.
Loyalty and Faithfulness. Consistent effort to build the relationship helps to affair-prove the marriage. If an affair has happened the couple works together to rebuild trust.
Commitment. Couples choose to use their stubbornness to stick together through tough times. When something goes wrong they work together to solve the issues.
A healthy relationship is functional and gives people a soft place to land. There is mutual respect and acceptance. The following is a list of attributes of a healthy, functional relationship:
F eeling like two whole people
U nwavering commitment to each other and the relationship
N o game playing, saying what you mean and meaning what you say
C ommunication is open, honest and assertive
T ime together and time apart are balanced
I ntimacy without the need for chemicals
O pinions are validated and respected
N urturing individual and couple friendships are encouraged
A ccepting and respectful of differences
L ooking for the best in each other
An unhealthy relationship is dysfunctional and can leave people feeling smothered or neglected or like they are walking on eggshells. The following is a list of attributes of an unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship:
D ependency or feeling incomplete without your partner
Y ou rely on your partner to make you feel happy, safe, beautiful, etc.
S elfishness, manipulation and game playing
F ull of blaming and shaming
U sing chemicals to help achieve a sense of intimacy
N egative focus; focused on what is wrong rather than what is great
C lingy and unable to let go
T oo much time together or too much time apart
I nability to allow the relationship to grow and change
O verly jealous or possessive
N ot able to express what is wanted or needed
A ggressive or passive aggressive approach to problem solving or avoidance thereof
L ack of friendships and healthy relationships with others
Take a few minutes to evaluate your relationship. Does it have more attributes of a functional or dysfunctional relationship. Ask your self, What one thing, that if I did it consistently, would improve the quality of my relationship? Make a commitment to do that one thing consistently for at least thirty days. By then it will have become a habit and you can choose the next one thing you can work on to improve your relationship.