They work together in all things that they do, lifting each other to become stronger together. Personal needs are essential, but your wants shouldn’t override the other. It starts with trust first so that you can function together as a unit when it’s called upon. Always battling each other means that there will forever be a winner and a loser, and that’s not healthy for any relationship.
Part of being a team includes making daily sacrifices for each other. Intimate bonds are tied with true love, and true love involves attention, awareness, discipline, effort, and being able to care about someone else. That means you might put your arms around them and love them regardless, even when they are not very lovable. It is about knowing that some days you may have to do things you dislike to make the one you love smile and being utterly delighted to do so.
29. Be sure to give without expecting anything in return.
In a relationship that’s not healthy, someone uses giving as a tool to get something in return. That makes the connection very one-sided and dishonest. Happy relationships, on the other hand, involve giving without expecting compensation of any kind. Giving a gift just because you want to, no matter how small it is, tells your partner that you care and think about them. The most you should expect in return is a thank you and nothing else.
But there are many different love languages that can be used for “giving”. It doesn’t need to be a material gift. Offering services of love such as filling up their tires, cleaning the kitchen and other services can be just as rewarding as something wrapped up in a bow. If your partner is going through a difficult emotional time, a huge way to “give” back to your partner is to make sure you offer support without expecting anything in return (when they’re having a hard time.) Just remember that all giving should be two sided at some point in the relationship.
28. Realize that your partner’s potential is not paramount.
You should not love someone for their potential, but for the person that they indeed are. Healthy relationships are focused on the person as a whole, not how their situation can improve your life. Many selfish people try to change their partners to become people they want them to be or could one day become. That creates expectations that could never be met, leading to dissatisfaction. If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find something. If you are focused on what they are doing right, you can always find something, too. Happy couples accentuate the positive.
However, it is important to harbor a culture of growth in your relationship. Setting goals together and tackling those issues as a team promotes healthy and long lasting relationships. This doesn’t necessarily need to be anything huge such as a new job or going back to school. Even if you encourage your loved one to pursue things that make them happy, that is encouraging growth. So hobbies and personal achievements should always be valued over earning potential.
27. Healthy couples consider the relationship a safe space.
Happy couples look to the relationship as a getaway from all the problems going on in their lives. The relationship becomes a bubble where they can share their concerns, knowing that they won’t be divulged to other people. The creation of this safe space does require much mutual understanding and being judgment-free. The breaking of that understanding and trust will only lead to the entire relationship falling apart. A healthy relationship creates a private world where both parties can share their full selves. Your experiences together and in-depth knowledge of each other are guarded in that place.
Always make sure that if your partner needs to talk to you about something important, it is met with calm support. It is understandable that emotions get involved with a loved one. But nothing has ever been achieved by having a reactionary tactic to a partner’s concerns. A good rule of thumb is to listen and try to validate your partner’s thoughts and feelings. If you have a disagreement with them, make sure you are taking the time you need to calmly think about what you would like to say in response. Urgency should not be a factor in big discussions.
26. Be sure to work o n fixing the problem, not fighting.
When a problem arises, a healthy relationship looks to solve the problem, not point fingers. Shifting blame back and forth only worsens the situation until you have a full-blown argument on your hands. On the other hand, finding a solution means that you’re listening to what the other person is saying and wanting to find the means to make both of you happy in the process. Again, it shouldn’t be about winning or losing, as no one should have the upper hand in a relationship. Be sure to open your ears and mind to your partner’s concerns and opinions without judgment. Make every effort to look at things from your partner’s perspective as well as your own.
If you find that this is difficult to achieve – like so many other people – then try to find help. Some people may be resistant to the idea of couples counseling. But this can be a fantastic way to re-enforce a relationship. Seeking therapy does not mean you have failed. It means you want to understand and get better. Couples sessions can teach you how to make your partner feel respected and validated. This world is too big and too mean to treat your loved ones poorly. Even if it is unintentional, make sure that everybody in your relationship feels heard.
25. Work towards the common ground with your partner rather than competing with them.
Those in a healthy relationship work towards a common goal rather than fighting to be on top. Actions are taken to bring the partnership to the forefront towards success. Any individual success is one for the team as a whole. On the other hand, self-interested parties require that one person sacrifices their own dreams for another person. That can lead to a lot of resentment that can foster itself into hatred over time.
It is very plausible that timing is an important factor in this. If you have spoken with your partner and you have to temporarily sacrifice so they can achieve a dream, that’s one thing. However, if you are always making your partner sacrifice their wants and needs to fit your own, that is going to be a major problem. At the end of the day, make sure you are lifting each other up. Not just a one sided gain.
24. Make every effort to see the best in your partner, not the worst.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Even if it is, it might not be the kind of grass you like. We can often compare our lives to others – what jobs people have, their homes, and their clothes. Appreciating what’s good about the other person will create positive energy between the two of you. Moreover, they’ll come to understand what’s good about you too. Nitpicking on bad points is an excellent way for the relationship to spiral towards disaster and come to an end more quickly than you imagine. Accepting that no one is perfect, happy couples learn to accept each other for all their faults and work on improving them.
23. Avoid making generalized patterns about your partner or relationship.
Healthy, happy relationships don’t make sweeping statements such as “you never” or “you always” to explain their partners’ behaviors away. It can be easy to lump specific actions into patterns and slap labels on them, but doing that won’t help anyway. It will also make the other person feel like nothing they do is right if everything they do is unappreciated. One instance of doing something that you do not like does not define your partner or behavior throughout the relationship. They much prefer to treat each instance as a unique event to be dealt with appropriately.
Once again, if you are having issues getting past these issues and it becomes a big factor in your relationship, you should seek counseling. Nobody wants to live their entire lives in the past. It is almost impossible to move forward and grow if somebody is holding your past mistakes over your head. If this issue does not resolve, you will end up with more bad than good in a relationship.
22. Learn to grow with your partner and in your relationship.
As was said earlier, no one is perfect. Simultaneously, couples shouldn’t rely on their partners as excuses for their lack of growth. In a healthy relationship, you take space to pursue a life outside your partner. Personal growth is always significant, but it’s easy to lose one’s self in the relationship. The relationship should be treated as a part of someone’s life, not the basis for it. It should help a person evolve into a better version of them, not smother them from personal experience. Relationships are spiritual assignments, helping us to evolve into who we are meant to be.
If you feel you do not have an identity outside of your relationship, try to open up a constructive discussion with your partner. Make sure that it doesn’t feel accusatory. Things like this happen over time and, more than likely, the person you love is not actively trying to take your identity. You don’t need to take it to the extreme by barely spending time with them, just make sure to strike a healthy balance. This could be a great opportunity for both of you to feel like your own person again. It will do nothing but make a relationship stronger.
21. Healthy relationships focus less on the negative.
Because a healthy, happy relationship is centered on both parties’ mutual happiness, they tend to make requests that aren’t wholly negative. Instead of saying that they spend too much time with one side of the family and not enough with the other, they word it differently to be more positive, that they want to spend more time with their family. It takes practice and understanding to get this right, and it just comes naturally to some people.
A more positive approach tends to bring about a more peaceful mindset instead of your partner waging for war. It is essential always to remember that you fell in love with your partner for a reason. Some positive attributes or qualities were appealing to you. During those inevitable challenging moments, it’s crucial to put that into perspective. Try to focus on the positive rather than the negative. If you’re looking for something negative, you are going to find it. On the other hand, if you search for a positive, you’re sure to find that too.
20. Make every effort to avoid passive-aggressive behavior when interacting with your partner.
Healthy communication brings the needs and interests of both parties to light. On the other hand, being passive-aggressive fosters an air of distrust and apathy that can smother a relationship. Heated arguments are a waste. Your partner doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right. There are many roads to what is right. Most of the time, it just doesn’t matter that much. When communicating, it is best to try to be understanding and not throw small jabs.
It will also put the other party on guard to never know what you feel or think; you will not know how to make you happy in the future. It’s better to just get it out in the open instead of bottling it inside and pretending as if everything is fine. However, if you need a minute to calm down, it is best to take that time and then gently discuss the situation. Always remember that if you’re having trouble doing this, seek help from a professional.
Even if couples don’t say “I love you” every single day, there are small acts that they do for each other that demonstrates that they do. Small acts of kindness, such as picking up a pint of their favorite ice cream at the grocery store, are something that sticks with loved ones forever. Grand, sweeping gestures are sweet and even brilliant but doing that every day can be a little over the top. Putting in the effort to demonstrate that you care means more than you can imagine.
That may also look like doing chores together. Sometimes tackling the household chores together can bring you closer together. For instance, one of you may hate doing the dishes, while the other hates making the bed. Discuss how you can tackle these small tasks together. It will build trust, closeness and helps keep resentment at bay. These every day tasks can always feel huge unless you change your attitudes about it and turn it to your advantage. It has to get done anyways, why not make it worth it?
Couples tend to think that their partners’ decisions and actions are personal attacks on them when that isn’t the case. You’ve created this life together, so how could you not? The answer to that is easy: please don’t make it your problem. If your partner is doing things that you think they should change, have a conversation with them, but it’s ultimately their decision to change. It shouldn’t be your problem anymore if they decide not to. If their choice makes the relationship feel draining, then things have become unhealthy.
If you’re in a serious relationship, major choices should always be discussed. Especially if those choices are affecting finances. If your partner decides to buy a house against your wishes, that is a different story altogether. But if your partner just does daily things their own way, try to embrace their unique nature. Don’t stress about the small stuff. You chose this person because of who they are – not who you want them to become.
Apologies must be backed by sincere patience and forgiveness. Saying “sorry” out of the blue doesn’t fix the problem, make it go away, or make you the right person in an argument. The point of apologizing is to show that you care and that you regret that things have devolved. It’s even less about faults and who did what; healthy partners understand that concept. Good apologies should accept responsibility rather than add a qualification.
Another vital notion about apologizing is being able to take it. You can prove your acceptance by moving on and not bringing up past fights during new arguments. Patience is simply the ability to let your light shine on the one you love, even after your fuse has blown. Forgiveness is knowing deep down that they didn’t mean to blow your fuse in the first place. You’ll feel much better in the end anyways. The only thing that hurts is your pride, and you’ll find that pride should be the least important factor in a healthy relationship.
16. Always make sure to practice personal self-care.
Relationships don’t create joy; they reflect it. Relationships are simply mirrors of the combined joy that two people have as individuals. Spending time together with your partner is important. However, just as important as spending time apart. Being able to do your own things and remain independent is vital.
A healthy approach to a happy bond is for it to reflect the individuals’ joy, not to expect the relationship to create happiness. If things are not going well in a relationship, then it reflects the people in it. That’s why healthy relationships are created by those who practice self-care on themselves as individuals. This self-care helps to remove any negativity before it taints the relationship itself.
15. Healthy couples don’t let others outside the relationship call the shots.
A partnership can look weird from the outside, but that’s no one’s call to decide whether it’s healthy or not (other than the obvious signs that a relationship is abusive). That’s why it’s not always great advice for couples to let others dictate how their relationship should go. A healthy, happy relationship is created by raising your partner’s issues rather than seeking advice from the outside. You have to live your own lives in your own way. Each of us has a unique fire in our heart for that one particular person. Talk it out and see where common ground is; ignore those on the outside who don’t know your relationship’s intricate details.
A classic example of this are in-laws. You’ve heard the old trope: a mother-in-law loves her precious son and makes the new wife’s life miserable. Make sure that you are speaking to your significant other about these decision making issues when they arise. Set boundaries with family members. You have a relationship with family, but you have chosen this person to be a part of your life. If you prioritize people’s opinions over your partner’s, then it’s a recipe for disaster.
Happy couples listen to each other first before responding. They allow each other to get their words out before offering their own feelings on a matter. Being without judgment is also important because not everyone is going to think the same way. Adopting your partner’s perspective will help you understand why they think the way they do so that there can be some mutual understanding. Listening first also minimizes the chances of you reacting in anger first. When people avoid problems, they provide the opportunity to grow and leak out in other ways. Healthy couples make it a point to truly listen to understand their partners rather than listening to respond. It is not always easy, but it is absolutely necessary.
Listening is a skill. It sounds so simple, but it’s true. If you’re thinking about what you’re going to say next rather than actively listening to your partner, your discussions are going to feel disconnected. Don’t let your competitive side win. Because at the end of the day, discussions or arguments are going to happen. So make sure your partner doesn’t feel as though you’re only thinking of your own opinions when they’re trying to communicate.
Healthy couples work together as a team. When one person is weak, the other has to be strong. They make a conscious, daily effort to try their best to balance each other out and cheer each other on with support. No matter what it is they’re doing, they always have each other’s back. Life is going to be full of ups and downs, so it helps to know there is always going to be someone in your corner.
Partners should want each other to succeed in whatever endeavor they’ve taken upon themselves. Happy relationships cheer for their victories and offer their support when things don’t go their way. They’re encouraging each other through the hard times and boosting their self-esteem to keep going because they want that person to succeed. Even in “failures” your partner’s qualities should be celebrated.
12. Healthy relationships don’t play games with one another.
No, we are not talking about board games or card night! Couples that love each other don’t play games with each other’s hearts and heads. Playing with someone’s emotions, lying, and cheating only serve the purpose of making things worse. It creates distrust and hurts the other person involved. Healthy couples prefer to face each other with honesty in their hearts to have no secrets between them. Getting each other riled up about past fights or trying to be spiteful is a big no-no. Happy relationships only want what is best for the other person, and it is reflected through constant respect and kindness.
Mature relationships happen with mature thinking and problem solving skills. Passive aggressive responses, mind games and other tactics of that nature don’t work. They are manipulative and destroy trust in a relationship. If you have lived with those tactics your whole life, it can be difficult to break that pattern. However, if you are truly struggling with healthy ways to communicate and want to get better, there is no shame in seeking a therapist.
11. Healthy Couples make intentional connections with each other every day.
Even on the busiest days, couples who are in it for the long haul find little ways to stay physically and emotionally connected. Whether that looks like a friendly, long hug, listening attentively while your partner is speaking, or offering words of affirmation, it will help the two of you stay connected even throughout your day to day responsibilities. Emotional connections are the glue in our relationships. Over time, these small daily actions and interactions build a deep sense of trust and intimacy that keep couples happy and together. Be sure to take the time to find ways to connect to your partner every day.
Small acts of love and kindness can make or break a relationship. You don’t need to perform grand gestures to make them feel connected to you. After a while, these small habits become second nature. Texts, hugs and other love language acts will form a bond that goes bone deep. This will ensure a healthy and long last relationship.
10. Long-term, healthy relationships do not hold onto grudges.
Mistakes will be made, and fights will be had. Healthy couples can discuss the disagreements work through it, and move forward together. They understand that mistakes are lessons learned and not reasons to shame each other. When a spouse doesn’t hold a grudge, they are better equipped to handle future conflicts maturely. It’s vital in a healthy relationship to not hold grudges and work through the issue together. Healthy couples understand that you cannot punish each other for any mistakes. Instead, when errors are made, they are confident they are still loved and valued in the relationship.
Like we mentioned earlier in this list: nobody wants to have their past haunting them. People are humans and they make mistakes. If they take accountability for those mistakes they’ve made in the past and you have witnessed an effort for them to improve, don’t throw past issues in their face. People react better to positive reinforcement when they are changing habits or problems. Giving them encouragement instead of grudges will teach love and respect for one another.
9. Healthy couples must speak about the fun and the not-so-fun stuff.
It’s easy to talk about the exciting and positive things in your life, such as an exciting job promotion or an upcoming vacation. It might not be easy to talk about the less glamorous things, such as financial stress or dissatisfaction in your relationship. Maybe it’s an awkward or uncomfortable thing to do; the difficult conversations are often those that bring couples closer. Healthy couples who stay together have uncomfortable discussions where they share difficult emotions. When couples feel their expression is not only seen but heard, the bond strengthens. Relationships become more resilient, knowing they can face anything with their partner.
When you do have those uncomfortable conversations, make sure that it’s in a healthy mindset and space. If you are explosive whenever you discuss serious issues, it’s going to do more harm than good. More than likely, your partner is already feeling stress over the situation. There is no reason to make them feel worse about it because you’re taking your stress out on them. Make sure that issues are handled without accusations.
8. Partners must accept each other’s family and friends, imperfections, and all.
It’s normal to feel occasionally annoyed with a partner’s friends or family. Perhaps your mother-in-law is too involved in every aspect of your relationship, from what you’re doing daily to what big decisions you make. It’s bound to happen. The key is that healthy couples recognize these individuals are essential to their partner, and an effort should be made to get to know them and get along with them. Instead of criticizing each other’s loved ones, healthy couples focus on their strengths and similarities. Finding things in common helps cultivate a bond and get to know the individuals who are closest to your partner.
Your partner may or may not love their family. It makes matters worse when you try to point out issues their family may have. They are probably already aware and afraid of sharing that vulnerability. All of us are guilty with getting irritated with our in-laws, but they’re in it for the long haul. Whether or not you like them, they’re going to be in your life. You may as well not add to the misery of that dynamic by trash talking every chance you get.
7. Those who make an effort to understand their partner’s perspective tend to be in more loving, long-lasting relationships.
There will inevitably be disagreements in any relationship. Listening to your partner is vital in any relationship, but it’s only half the battle. Long-lasting, healthy couples hear each other’s point-of-view and show they truly understand. Acknowledging your partner’s perspective will help strengthen the bond, the two of you have. It’s human nature to want to feel understood. It’s crucial to find ways to communicate with your partner that you know what they are trying to convey, even if you disagree. Being genuine in these moments will help set the stage for future conversations and allow for both of you to feel confident and comfortable opening up.
Always validate your partner’s feelings by acknowledging them and not just getting defensive. More than likely, issues they are having are not necessarily directed towards you, so don’t be offended. Realize there is a reason they’re feeling this way and work through it together. Ask questions relevant to what they’ve said and try to leave them feeling better than when they first came to you.
6. Couples must celebrate the differences, not just your similarities.
At the beginning of the relationship, couples tend to focus on what they have in common. Similarities are what brings people together and allows them to build a foundation. However, as time moves forward, couples understand that they also have differences. Longtime, healthy couples recognize those differences keep things interesting and help you both grow. Healthy couples can appreciate their partner’s different interests, tastes, and responses. They also become interested in learning more about those differences, which opens the door for more in-depth conversations. In turn, the bond will continue to strengthen. Taking part in your partner’s hobbies or interests will make your partner feel valued.
This takes us back to the issues of celebrating your own individuality. You don’t need to become one entity in a relationship. you are two separate people that found each other in this crazy world and decided to be together. It would be boring if everybody is the exact same. So make sure to celebrate their differences and realize that’s their best parts. Everybody deserves to be celebrated for being themselves.
You know what they say about assuming… But seriously, it’s easy to jump to conclusions about what your partner is thinking or feeling during those inevitable arguments. Successful couples can focus on the context of the discussion rather than making assumptions. To understand and respect their partner, healthy couples ask. Rather than assuming their partner’s feelings, they are curious and ask them. Doing so encourages open dialogue.
The next step is to be sure to be prepared to listen without judgment. Jumping to assumptions can lead to resentment, anger, and frustration. It’s critical to ask your partner how they’re feeling and how you can help, rather than assuming. That’s when it’s important to exercise those listening skills we’ve tried drilling into you throughout this article. It’s so much more important than you realize in the moment. You’re not enemies or else you wouldn’t be together. So treat each other like allies.
4. Healthy couples know how to balance “me” time and “we” time.
Couples who are in it for the long term understand the need for together time and individual time. It’s crucial in a relationship to continue doing the hobbies that each individual enjoys. Although healthy couples value and appreciate their independence, they aren’t afraid to lean on each other for support. Healthy relationships can balance separateness and togetherness. Allowing each other to have time to partake in hobbies or spend time with their family and friends helps them appreciate and value the time spent together. Maintaining healthy boundaries and some autonomy will make for a long-lasting relationship. It’s critical for a successful relationship also to maintain the connections you had prior.
If the “me” time swings too far the other way, it’s normal to feel ignored. Striking that perfect balance is going to be key here. If you have a partner caught up in video games (for younger generations) and you feel like it’s crushing quality time together, definitely speak up about that. Remember that your thoughts and feelings don’t need to be accusatory. “I feel ignored.” sets the stage for you to take accountability for your feelings. If you go to them saying “You never spend time with me.” then they are going to feel defensive off the bat. If you open with your feelings, hopefully they will question how their actions are making you feel that way.
Showing respect to your partner is a habit worth creating for a happy, healthy, and long-lasting connection. Respecting your partner comes in many forms. When you express respect, you are showing your love, acceptance, and warmth. It allows your partner to feel confident in the relationship and tells them that you support them. Failing to show disrespect to your partner communicates that you don’t accept your partner. Respecting your partner allows for the two of you to feel connected, loved, and accepted. The relationship can grow, and the bond will continue to strengthen. Even when there are different outlooks, healthy couples always respect their partner, including their differences.
For example, an extreme circumstance of disrespect is trash talking behind their back. It’s hard to build trust and respect if you are telling your friends that your partner is lazy or useless. You may not realize that you are setting yourself up to not see them with the respect that every human deserves. But this type of habit can solidify these feelings in your mind and make you treat them with less respect than they deserve.
2. Express your love by speaking your partner’s love language every day.
Healthy couples recognize their love language and that their partner may have a different love language. There are five love languages: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Understanding how you feel love and also how your partner feels love is vital to a healthy relationship. It’s important to note that how you interpret love may not be the same as your partner. When you express your partner’s love language, they feel loved and valued. Creating the habit of speaking your partner’s love language daily establishes love, affection, and warmth for a long-lasting relationship.
There are five love languages that deal with how your partner perceives or expresses love. Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. All of these are pretty self explanatory. But if you aren’t sure about which love language you are, take the quiz here! Once you know what your and your partner’s love language are, you can start integrating those into your daily lives.
It’s unlikely to see a healthy relationship that lacks boundaries. Healthy couples openly talk about and respect each other’s boundaries to ensure their needs are being met and as a way to feel safe in the relationship. Limitations include emotional, physical, and even digital. When couples establish healthy boundaries, they know what is expected of them and can also communicate their needs to their partner. This can include discussing how much time is spent together, how often to check-in, and what public displays of affection they are comfortable with.
Going back to another habit, you should never assume your partner has the exact boundaries you do. Always make sure your partner feels validated and heard. You guys may have different ideas on boundaries, but it is important to discuss that. Compromise is always going to be a part of a relationship, just make sure you both feel like you’re on even footing in the compromises.