Here are 5 signs that your relationship is healthy (or unhealthy):
You have separate identities.
I know some couples where one of them has lost their own identity. It’s crucial that each partner retain and develop their separate identities. It’s equally important that each partner take responsibility and is willing to work on his/her own issues.
Here are some signs you need to grow in this area: If you feel worried when you disagree with the other person. Or you feel pressure to quit activities you used to enjoy. If one of you has to justify your actions (where you go; who you see). If one partner feels obligated to have sex. If you attempt to control or manipulate one another. If there’s an unequal control of resources (money; car; home.)
Here are some signs you are cultivating this type of health in your relationship: you have good self-esteem apart from your relationship. You have healthy and close relationships with other family and friends. You have activities apart from one another. You are able to express yourself to your partner without fear of consequences. You have the option of privacy. You allow each other time to be with or travel with other friends, enjoy hobbies and alone time. You enjoy time together, but you have a full and satisfying life outside of your relationship.
Empathy for your partner means that you listen for the sake of understanding your partner. Become interested in how your spouse is feeling, and then validate how your spouse is feeling. Don’t try to fix it. Empathy is putting aside your own desires for them and offering your unconditional love and support.
Share your feelings.
If you feel that your partner has empathy for you and validates your feelings, it will be easier to share your feelings. Often couples in unhealthy patterns stop opening up to one another about their emotions and needs. Distance and lack of intimacy is the natural result of not sharing. In a healthy relationship, it should feel safe to express any emotion.
When you value the other person for who they are and encourage them to grow in their individual identity apart from you, validate their feelings and share your own, equality is a natural result. You give each other freedom, and you feel freedom from your partner to make your own choices and to grow. You don’t try to control one another through your emotions or otherwise.
Being childlike and making room in your life to play and share simple joys together is a powerful tool to make a marriage healthy. We don’t have to take everything seriously, and sometimes we just need to play together to find our connection restored. It’s not always through hard work or striving that we will make our marriage stronger; play is so simple that it’s something we all knew how to do naturally as children. Try setting aside time to do something playful together that you both enjoy.
What are some other signs your relationship is healthy?