No matter who you are, at some point you may feel that your relationship is confusing, filled with ups and downs, and impacted by distance, closeness, and varying degrees of intimacy and conflict with your partner.
You may have noted how the two of you get on each other’s nerves and how they often feel uncared for, misunderstood, unheard, and unsupported. Distance grows and passion wanes.
All of this is normal, whether a couple is dating and getting to know one another, newly married, or in a long-term relationship over many years.
But there are some essential signs of a healthy relationship that are unwavering, no matter what else you may be going through.
Here are 8 traits that you and your spouse need to have to weather the hard times and enjoy the good:
1. You’re dedicated to your marriage and your partner.
Having a willingness to honor whatever marital vows that you made and to accept 100 percent responsibility for your half of the marriage will help it last.
Having a commitment to continuing to grow and evolve will make sure that no matter what comes, you and your partner are ready to adapt together.
2. You have a strong desire to know or learn something.
You showed curiosity by asking your questions. Be curious and inquisitive about your spouse’s interests. Ask how their day was. Inquire about what’s working and not working in your marriage.
Invite them to do the same with you.
3. You communicate well with each other.
Too often people don’t take the time to speak with one another. Make time to talk with one another and talk openly, honestly, and directly. Keep the focus on yourself.
Listen closely and allow each other to finish what you are thinking and saying. Maintain eye contact. Avoid blaming statements. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Use “I” statements.
4. You cooperate with one another.
You are a partnership and a team, and you remember that you’re in this together and can’t win without each person’s efforts.
Assist one another, combine your efforts and work together to create the life that you want to have individually and as a couple.
5. You show compassion to your partner.
It comes as no surprise that you’ll sometimes get on each other’s nerves. And there will be some unhealthy habits and tendencies.
As you go through these things, it’s important that you show empathy, concern, tenderness, and tolerance for yourself and your spouse.
6. You’re willing to compromise.
There will be times when you see things differently from your husband and when you disagree about things. There likely will be disputes and fights. It is necessary to listen to each other’s concerns, wants, and needs, and to come to a middle ground.
This will sometimes involve a “give and take” and each of you making concessions. This will enable you to meet each other halfway and find a middle ground that will help you to settle the dispute and move forward.
7. You strive to work together.
You might discuss the division of household tasks. Devise a budget together. Create a vision for your life and your future. If you are experiencing difficulties individually or as a couple, work together to come up with solutions.
8. You discover and explore shared interests.
Continue to learn what you have in common and enjoy these things together. Understand that there will be things that you don’t have in common and that you will have different interests, needs, and wants. Allow space for these.
Under the best of circumstances, relationships are challenging and sometimes confusing. They are fraught with ups and downs, closeness and distance, and varying degrees of harmony and conflict.
If you incorporate the above essential characteristics into your relationship, you’re more likely to have a caring, understanding, and passionate relationship in which you are heard and supported.
Jeff Schneider is a licensed clinical social worker and relationship expert who has helped people from all walks of life struggling with relationship problems, addictions, depression, fear, low self-esteem, and how to integrate counseling and spirituality. You can learn more about him and how he can help you by visiting his website.