When certain characteristics are evident between a couple, it’s often a positive sign of a healthy and happy relationship. Relationships are continually evolving, but having some understanding of what sustains a healthy one can guide the way forward.
- Healthy relationships typically share a set of similar features.
- By focusing on factors contributing to relationship success, areas for improvement become apparent.
- Respect, appreciation, and support are crucial for a successful relationship.
- Common Features of Healthy Relationships.
1. Take Time to Understand Each Other:
In healthy relationships, building a friendship and showing genuine interest in each other’s worlds is an ongoing process. Maintaining intimacy and connection can be challenging, especially when individuals have different interests. However, engaging in conversations and participating in each other’s lives helps sustain intimacy and emotional connection.
2. Share Affection and Physical Intimacy:
The ability to express tenderness towards each other is a vital feature of a healthy relationship. Greet your partner warmly, even after a disagreement. Small gestures like a gentle touch on the shoulder, a smile, or placing a hand on the knee contribute to a relationship filled with love.
3. Acknowledge Each Other’s Positives:
When negative qualities and flaws outweigh positive aspects in a partner, it signals a warning in the relationship. Recognizing and appreciating each other’s strengths is crucial for a healthy connection. Avoiding contempt, one of the “Four Horsemen” in John Gottman’s terms, is vital for maintaining respect in a relationship.
4. Respond Proactively to Each Other’s Needs:
Listening is paramount in a healthy relationship. Understanding your partner’s needs, even when they aren’t explicitly stated, and responding to them constructively fosters a sense of security and support.
5. Keep Each Other Informed:
Stan Tatkin emphasizes the importance of ensuring your partner is the first to know about significant aspects of your life. Placing your partner as the primary confidant doesn’t imply sacrificing personal space. It’s more about a mindset—a commitment to open and honest communication.
6. Communicate Tenderly:
Taking a gentle approach when communicating with your loved one is crucial. Avoiding a harsh tone, especially during challenging conversations, fosters an environment where both partners feel heard and understood.
7. Promptly Offer “Sorry” and “Thank You”:
Swiftly acknowledging and resolving issues after recognizing your partner’s distress contributes to a safer and more amicable relationship. Similarly, expressing gratitude for even the simplest things, like doing the dishes or complimenting appearance, enhances emotional connection.
8. Self-Regulate During Conflicts:
Healthy couples view conflicts as allies. They contemplate collaborative solutions instead of blaming each other. Managing third-party elements, such as external stressors, as a team helps maintain a strong connection.
9. Effective Repair After Conflicts:
Learning to self-soothe and promptly repairing any emotional or relational damage after conflicts is crucial. Comfort can take various forms—whether it’s a solitary walk or listening to music. The goal is to restore connection when both partners are calm and secure.
10. Create a Common Vision:
Shared goals or visions don’t need to be overly complex. It could be as simple as knowing how you both want to navigate life’s ups and downs or becoming a couple that offers hospitality and practical support to others.
In cultivating a healthy relationship, employing models such as John Gottman’s “Sound Relationship House” or Stan Tatkin’s “Relationship Basic Tenets” can serve as valuable guides. These 14 features, ranging from understanding each other to fostering mutual trust, are the building blocks of a strong and lasting connection.
Seeking Relationship Guidance?
If you find your relationship in need of support, don’t hesitate to reach out for guidance. Professional counselors or therapists can provide valuable insights and strategies to help you navigate challenges and strengthen your bond. Remember, investing in your relationship is an investment in your well-being and happiness.