Relationships can be a source of joy, love, and blessings in our lives, but they can also be hard work. It can be difficult to navigate the obstacles of a relationship and to know the areas that need the most attention. Luckily, there are several ways to assess if a relationship is headed in the right direction or if it’s suffering from fundamental issues.
Here are 5 signs of a healthy relationship:
1. You desire good things for each other.
True love is defined by a desire for someone else to have goodness and blessings in their life. It is not dependent on anything in return. Unconditional love means wanting the best for the other person, regardless of how it affects you or if you receive anything. It means loving someone simply because they exist.
When both people feel this way about the other, it creates a strong foundation for the relationship. It leaves little room for jealousy or resentment. If you don’t want joy and blessings for them at all times, ask yourself why. Work towards making your partner’s happiness a priority.
2. You focus more on what you can give each other instead of what you can receive.
Most people in relationships think about what they can receive or how it makes them feel. While it’s important to have someone that makes you feel happy, secure, and loved, it takes more than that for a relationship to grow and last. One of the fundamental spiritual teachings is that sharing selflessly is paramount to transformation. This is true not just of personal growth but also for a relationship to flourish.
At some point in the relationship, there must be a shift where both people make giving a priority. The emphasis has to change from receiving to sharing. It is a conscious choice that is made again and again and again. Ask yourself, “How much is my giving nature involved in this relationship?” The more you give to one another, the stronger the partnership will be and the more blessings you will invite into your relationship.
3. You both show up for each other in the ways the other person needs.
What makes two people compatible? We usually think about things like similar interests or personality types. Maybe you both like to hike, enjoy the same films, or have the same sense of humor. Those traits are important and fun, but true compatibility comes down to how people show up for each other in the darkest times.
Often we support people in the ways that we think they need. We sometimes don’t see them, hear them, or ask how they really need us to care for them. Be like a detective trying to discover the ways that your partner needs you, even if they aren’t directly verbalized. Be curious to find new ways to support them.
4. You give each other honest feedback without judgment.
One of the great blessings of a healthy relationship is having someone who knows you for all your faults, good and bad, and can give you honest feedback without judging you. No matter how amazing we are, we all need help to change and grow into an even better person. We often don’t see our own blind spots, and the parts of us that need to change the most are usually the ones we are most closed off to hearing feedback on.
Relationships should be a project of individual and collective growth. Transformation can’t happen without openness and a desire to hear things that we are blind to. Work on being vulnerable and open with each other.
5. You have mindful and constructive disagreements.
One of the greatest opportunities to deepen and strengthen a relationship is when there’s a disagreement. Although it might seem that arguing is a sign of issues in a relationship, it’s actually important that couples fight. It is vital to be passionate and care enough to have conversations that are necessary. Never arguing means that either there isn’t enough care or that there’s a greater imbalance in the relationship. When people hold their tongues and don’t speak up about what is important to them, it causes resentment to build.
Fighting doesn’t have to mean yelling or saying hurtful things. Work on having disagreements in a mindful and constructive way. Agree upon a style for arguing ahead of time. Discuss lines that shouldn’t be crossed. During a fight, try to remain open enough to see your partner’s perspective. If you feel you are too emotional, wait to have the argument until you are less reactive. After a fight, make sure to talk through what was hurtful or helpful about the conversation.
A successful fight means you both walk away feeling heard and understood. It’s not about winning. Last time you fought, did you or your partner really feel heard? When you look back, do you see the fights as moments when your love and vulnerability grew?
Relationships take a lot of hard work. It may not be easy, but it is worth it if you really love each other and want to build a lasting, healthy relationship. Focus on your partner’s happiness, sharing more with them, showing up for them in the ways they need, being open and honest, and finding constructive ways to disagree. When both people come together and put their energy towards their behaviors, it creates a rock-solid foundation that can withstand any storm.