As a relationship & life coach I work with couples and individuals daily. In my observations and studies there are certain characteristics of what a healthy relationship looks like. These are some of the important ones I have found in most healthy relationships.
Ten Characteristics of a Healthy Marriage:
- Commitment – They have a long-term perspective toward their relationship; tend to persevere when trouble comes up. View marriage as a covenant not a contract. Each one takes personal responsibility for their part in the relationship.
- Satisfaction – Both individuals are happy and satisfied with their relationship. This doesn’t mean there are no problems or challenges, or even periods of unhappiness. They work hard at meeting the other persons needs and speak their love language often.
- Communication – The way couples communicate is one of the most powerful indicators of marriage health. Being intentional about exchanging information and how they are feeling. Open and honest in their communication. Asking questions to clarify what was meant. Seeking to understand the other person and avoid misunderstandings. The words they use in communicating can bring life or death to a relationship.
- Effective Conflict Resolution – Ability to resolve conflict in healthy ways. Healthy couples are good at getting down to the real issues and facing them together. They view themselves as a team working together, not as the opposition. The ability to deal with conflict without criticism, contempt, or defensiveness.
- Lack of violence or abuse – Conflict is normal in healthy marriages, but abuse is not. Whether verbal, emotional or physical, abuse is destructive and unhealthy.
- Fidelity or Faithfulness – Spouses are sexually faithful to each other; keeping intimate physical and emotional relationships within the bonds of marriage. Even emotional connections to the opposite sex is considered being unfaithful & unhealthy.
- Intimacy & Emotional support – They are physically & emotionally intimate with each other. That means being sexually active with each other and connecting on a deeper emotional level through sharing every part of their life with each other. They feel safe with each other.
- Friendship – They are spending time together on a regular basis. They are intentional about doing things together and paying attention to each other. They respect each other and enjoy each others company. They like being together.
- Commitment to children – Not all married couples have children, or have children living with them anymore. But if children are a part of the family, the couple is committed to developing and parenting the children as a team. They regularly communicate with each other about the children and their development. They are in agreement on discipline and on helping older children. The children are not the top priority, the spouse is.
- Spiritual Intimacy – They share their spiritual beliefs with each other. Praying together and as a family and bringing God into the home. Healthy couples are active in church attendance, serving together and in community with other people. Couples that have Spiritual Intimacy together rarely get divorced (Less than 5%). Each one is working on their individual relationship with God on a regular basis.
There are more characteristics, but if these are missing in a marriage relationship, that marriage will struggle.