By Morgan Christensen | March 25, 2021

7 Signs You Are in a Happy and Healthy Relationship

bridal photos

As a teenager, I was desperately in love with literally the cutest boy on the entire planet. Whenever I saw him, it was like nothing else in the world existed. However, my parents sometimes worried that I was so head-over-heels that if something went wrong, I would brush it off like nothing and pursue an unhealthy relationship.

Fortunately, my grade school crush and I turned out to have a very satisfying and healthy relationship, and nearly a decade later, I couldn’t be happier to be married to him. Below are seven attributes that research has shown are strong signs that you may be in a happy and healthy relationship — seven signs which I’ve seen first-hand in my own happy marriage.

1. You communicate openly

I would bet you’ve heard it a million times by now: “the key to a healthy relationship is communication!” Although it may be cliché, research shows that feeling comfortable to speak your mind to your partner is one of the biggest indicators that your relationship is healthy. Along with the communication imperative, however, comes the idea of understanding that from time to time, disagreements will arise. Occasional contention is healthy as long as it is handled in a productive way, with the intention to work through the problem together. 

two women2. You share life goals and values

While you and your partner don’t need to share every opinion possible, you should have similar ideas of life goals and values. Decisions such as whether or not you want kids or what you envision for your career are huge, and if you and your partner have different ideas, one of you is likely to end up unhappy. However, if you both want the same things out of life, you can commit to achieving those goals together.

3. You have your own space

If you feel slightly suffocated by being with your partner 24/7, fear not! You are completely normal. One article published in Psychology Today supports the idea that we all need some alone time now and then, and that doing so can help keep your relationship healthy. Finding time for self-reflection or indulging in a separate hobby or interest from your partner (even if it’s as simple as watching Netflix, like me) can help you recharge and truly enjoy the time that you do spend together.

4. You each give 100%

Michael Radkowsky, a licensed psychologist, emphasizes the importance of giving 100% to your partner.  However, remember that at some moments what is 100% for you may be different than what 100% is for your partner. As long as both partners are giving all that they can to the relationship, you can rest assured that you are a priority in each other’s lives.

5. You accept each other for who you are

I’ve had friends tell me, “he’s perfect, besides this one thing, but he is going to change!” I am warning you now to not fall into that mindset. Staying with somebody on the condition that they change something about themselves, or that you change something about yourself, is not healthy. Instead, accept yourself and your partner for who you truly are. Sure, inspiring each other to be better is healthy and beneficial, but expecting each other to change will often set you up for disappointment.

couple sitting by ocean

6. You prioritize intimacy, not just sex.

Let’s get real for a moment: sex is definitely an amazing part of a happy relationship. However, research tells us that basing all intimacy on sex alone means that you’re missing out on so much more! Cuddles on the couch, holding hands while grocery shopping, and giving each other kisses throughout the day will help you to feel so much closer. And don’t limit it to just physical intimacy! Be intimate emotionally as well. Talk about your anxieties, your fears, and your dreams. You will feel strongly connected and the healthy base of your relationship will continue growing.

7. You have fun together.

There is a reason why people always say you should marry your best friend. Relationships are so much better when you can have fun and laugh together. In fact, studies have shown that friendship plays a large role in marriages and relationships that remain satisfying over the years. Over time, relationships might start to feel repetitive or even boring; finding ways to have fun with your partner is a sign that your relationship is healthy. One great way to accomplish this is to find a hobby that you both enjoy and set aside time often to do it together. 

A happy and healthy marriage involves a variety of attributes. Remember that a lack of one or more of these attributes in your marriage or relationship is not necessarily a reason to cause a break-up, but these are instead “green flags” you can look for in your relationship to evaluate whether or not it brings you happiness and satisfaction.