7 Qualities of A Healthy Relationship

Qualities of A Healthy Relationship

We all deserve fulfilling, healthy relationships. While another person won’t necessarily “complete” you, a healthy relationship creates a dynamic where parters feel safe and bring out the best in one another.

Just like an unhealthy relationship can impact one’s mental health in negative ways, a healthy relationship has the potential to fill your life with joy, fulfillment, and meaning.

Of course, no relationship is perfect. However, most healthy relationships are built on the foundation of similar characteristics. It’s not always obvious to know what those qualities are, especially if you didn’t grow up with healthy dynamics modeled in your family.

I’m going to share those common threads so you can work toward building a relationship that will provide you all the joy you deserve.

7 qualities of a healthy relationship

7 Qualities of A Healthy Relationship

Healthy relationships undoubtedly include trust. You feel safe with one another, both physically and emotionally. This trust assures that you can rely on each other. Similarly, trust enables you to have difficult conversations, knowing that you can repair later if necessary.

It’s normal that relationships go through difficult times and trust can be broken. However, it’s incredibly important that rebuilding trust is a high priority to get back to healthy functioning.

In a healthy relationship, partners love and respect each other for being their true selves. While learning, growth, and adjusting are also foundational parts of a relationship, partners do not seek to change one another at the core of who they are.

Partners have their own unique personalities and can feel comfortable sharing their quirks. When you can show all of yourself to your partner, it is much easier to feel confident that they love all of you.

Partners in a healthy relationship check in on each other and they offer support to one another.

They encourage each other to reach for their goals or act on value-driven decisions. Likewise, they see the potential in the strengths they both bring to the table and pull those out of each other. A healthy relationship is one where a partner feels like the other’s biggest hype squad.

Couples in a healthy relationship have a solid sense of boundaries, both internally and externally.

Internally, this means that a person has emotional boundaries. They can discern between their behaviors, thoughts and feelings. They take accountability for their own actions.

Externally, partners can distinguish between their own emotions and behaviors and that of their partner. This means that they do not blame each other for their own actions. For example, blaming their own behavior on their partner “making them angry.”

Similarly, though they support each other, they do not take on one another’s emotions. They create space between their own reality and the reality of their partner, accepting both as valid and true.

Interdependent relationships have secure attachment styles. Security is an important characteristic of healthy relationships. It means that two things are true:

  • You trust that you can explore the world and take chances separate from your partner
  • You trust that your partner will be there for you if things don’t go well

Interdependence means that partners are not fully reliant on each other, yet they do not operate fully independently. They achieve a healthy balance of counting on the other and holding themself steady.

There is no getting around this one. Good communication is necessary for a fulfilling relationship. Healthy couples dive into the uncomfortable conversations and talk about relationship issues. They communicate often and are open and honest. They do not avoid one another when uncomfortable emotions come up to the surface.

To achieve effective communication, couples share their vulnerable emotions and needs, rather than their defenses. For example, instead of saying “you are such a jerk for not listening to me”, they might say, “I feel hurt and neglected when I see you turn away from me.” Communicating this way allows partners to hear one another’s message and acknowledge the impact they have on one another.

While relationships are hard work, they should also bring you joy, passion, connectedness, and fun. In relationships that last, partners enjoy the time the spend with one another and find satisfaction in similar ways.

Certain topics or situations may be serious, but partners know when it is appropriate to bring lightheartedness into their relationship.

7 qualities of a healthy relationship communication

how to build a healthy relationship

Pay attention to your partner. It’s easy to get lost in the mundane parts of life, responsibilities, scroll of social media, or small frustrations.

Instead, pay attention to your partner each day. Prioritize making one another feel seen, loved, special, and important. Carve out time to share with each other the parts about them that you love.

These small moments will keep you connected and motivated over time.

When tough things happen, it can be natural to feel overwhelmed and attribute difficulty to your partner. It’s natural in a relationship each partner sees the other as the “problem.”

Instead, see if you can externalize the problems outside of each other. With this perspective, you can come together to face the problems, rather than fighting each other.

For example, perhaps partners are frustrated over different instincts and practices regarding parenting. Instead of fighting with each other, they can come together to face the issue of “parenting.” On the same side, they can have effective conversations about their values and goals for parenting and seek out resources to support them as a unit.

Communication is paramount to healthy relationships. The most practical tip regarding how to be a better listener in a relationship is to shift your perspective.

While you may be used to listening to scan for information that would support your point of view, listen to learn. Try to put your defenses down, and listen with the goal of connection rather than listening to win.

When partners listen to defend, neither actually ever get heard. However, if you listen to learn, your partner is heard, and then is able to offer you the same chance to be heard when it’s your turn to share.

Reaching a healthy relationship is not intuitive- that is completely normal. That’s because the evolutionary reaction of the brain is to protect, rather than to share vulnerability. However, we know it’s the vulnerability that brings partners closer.

A marriage counselor or couples therapist or a couples therapist can help you to navigate the complexity of honest communication. Even if you are in the early stages of a relationship, a counselor can help you develop healthy patterns before you develop unhelpful ones. Likewise, if you’ve experienced pain or breaking of trust in long term relationships, a therapist can help you process, heal, and get back on track.

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