Everyone wants to have a healthy relationship. You might feel like yours is struggling in some ways and thriving in others, and that’s perfectly normal. But, how can you tell if your relationship is on “life support” or if it’s truly healthy? Chances are, if you’re trying to keep things going and having a hard time, things might be in a dire situation, and that’s usually easy to see.
However, if you’re simply not sure how healthy your relationship is, there are a few things to observe. It’s not a bad idea to give your relationship a check-up once in a while to make sure you’re giving it the attention it deserves.
With that in mind, let’s cover a few things you can do to determine the health of your relationship.
1. You’re Friends First
Friendship should be at the very core of every successful relationship. According to John Gottman, “friendship fuels the flames of romance.” It reminds you that you and your partner are on the same team, no matter what.
2. Conflict Resolution
No one likes to argue or fight in a relationship, but it happens. However, it doesn’t always need to be a bad thing. Depending on how you work through conflicts together, your arguments can actually end up bringing you closer together. Think about how your disagreements go and the communication you showcase to each other. If you’re able to end with a compromise or without seeing your partner as an adversary, you’re in good shape.
3. They Understand You
It might sound cliche to think that your partner completes you. However, a good sign of a healthy relationship is when you feel like your partner understands you–especially when it can seem like no one else does.
4. Strong Communication
You’ve undoubtedly heard that communication is a critical component of any successful relationship, and that’s true. Do you and your partner communicate effectively? Even if you have different communication styles, you can work together to understand one another.
5. Attachment Styles
Secure attachment styles are important in a relationship. Consider what the balance looks like in your own. Do you rely on your partner’s approval or vice versa? Or, are you both independent and feel confident on your own, as well as together? If one person is highly dependent on the other, it could end up causing resentment or distrust in the relationship.
6. You Trust Them
Speaking of trust, it is another key factor in a healthy partnership. Having strong, open communication will help build trust. If you’re keeping things from your partner–even if you don’t think it means much–it’s time to start communicating with them and building the trust your relationship deserves.
7. You’re Active Listeners
Listening is an integral part of communication, but many people often overlook it. According to Gottman, “active listening requires couples to perform Olympic-level gymnastics even if their relationship can barely walk.”
Listening isn’t always easy. That’s what makes it so crucial. Everyone wants (and deserves) to be heard and validated. Make sure part of your communication effort is about listening rather than speaking.
8. You Get to the Bottom of Things
Even if you can work through disagreements effectively, it’s crucial to make sure you’re not ever just brushing things under the rug. If there’s a conflict in your relationship, get to the root cause. Maybe you can come up with a compromise immediately, or maybe it will take time. However, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. It’s not always easy to work through significant issues, but it’s the only way to keep moving forward.
9. You Have Intimacy
Most people automatically associate intimacy with the bedroom. Having a healthy physical relationship is important, but it’s not the only area of intimacy you should focus on. If you feel a strong sense of closeness and trust with your partner outside of the bedroom, that will carry over into your physical life.
10. You Work At It
If you want to determine the health of your relationship, consider how much time, effort, and dedication you and your partner put into it every day. That kind of effort shows how much you prioritize each other, and it’s a good indicator that your relationship is strong.
Of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive checklist. However, it can help you determine where your relationship stands and where you might be struggling. Don’t forget to check in from time to time.
Even if you’re happy in your relationship, it can help to have little reminders letting you know when it’s time for a tune-up.