13 Traits That All Healthy Relationships Have

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couple having romantic picnic at sunset

When we are in a relationship, we love the person we are with and we want to stay with them for as long as possible.

Falling in love is easy but healthy relationships take a lot of work. Unfortunately, romantic love has a way of blinding us to reality. And when you are desperate to be loved, you will be tempted to accept any person who comes along.

If you want to know how to have a healthy relationship, take this relationship advice seriously: you need to watch out for signs of poor emotional, mental, and physical health in your partner.  

To do this, you need to be grounded in your body to pay attention to your intuition. You need an open heart to know your emotions — they reveal much wisdom to you. You need a quiet mind so you can see the potential "red flags" that help you to discern if this is the right person.

A good relationship consists of many qualities. But, for you to recognize these qualities, you need to be open and healthy yourself.

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Here are 13 traits all healthy relationships have:

1. Healthy partners

If you are going to have a healthy relationship you both need to be physically, emotionally, and mentally fit.

None of us are perfect. But we need to at least be aware of our weaknesses and show a commitment to personal growth.

How are you both at taking care of your physical needs? Do you eat well? Do you get enough sleep? Are you able to forgive yourself when you make a mistake?

How are you at taking care of your emotional needs? 

How are you at taking care of your mental needs? Are you able to quiet your mind? Have you learned how to reassure your inner critic that you can take care of yourself?

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2. Self-awareness

Most people you meet today are not self-aware. Being self-aware means that you are aware of how your behavior is impacting the people around you.

How do you become self-aware? You become self-aware by learning to live in the moment. You are not worrying about the past or future. 

You are fully present in your body noticing the wisdom that comes from the sensations of your body, the emotions of your heart and the knowledge that comes from the universe through your mind.

When you are self-aware, you are operating from your true self and not from the limitations of your ego. Everything goes more smoothly when you work out of this deep level. People get to see the beautiful real you.

3. Kindness

A little understanding will go a long way toward enhancing your relationship. Love brings out the best in each other. Compassion is all about treating each other with respect, love, and gentleness.

Understanding makes everything in a relationship go better. With a little kindness, it becomes easier to resolve any conflict that will come up.

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4. Excellent communication

Your ability to communicate can make all the difference in your relationship. To have excellent communication, you first need to be a good listener. You need to make sure you are accurately hearing what your partner is saying. 

So, it is often helpful to paraphrase what your partner told you to make sure that you understood.

When you are the speaker, you need to be as transparent as possible in what you say. At all times use the "I" statement to take one hundred percent responsibility for what you said. 

You not only communicate with your words but also with your body language, tone of voice and words. The tone of voice and body language are even more important than words.

When there is a misunderstanding, you need to take time to resolve the conflict. Ignoring it and hoping it will go away never works. If there is a lot of tension at the moment, you might want to set another time to talk when you are both feeling calmer.

5. Empathy

Empathy is crucial to a healthy relationship. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

When you have empathy, you are both able to understand each other much better. You are better able to support the one you love because you have a better understanding of what your partner is going through.

Empathy helps to build intimacy because it helps each of you to feel completely loved by the other. You feel loved because you feel understood and entirely accepted by the other.

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6. Curiosity

When you are curious about your partner's behavior, you are more likely going to communicate with him or her constructively.

For example, if your partner seems remote and distant, your curiosity will lead you to ask open-ended questions to find out what is going on.

If you respond angrily, you will close the communication causing the conflict to go on for much longer than needed.

7. Honesty and trust

Honesty is essential in any relationship. You need reliability to trust. Your body language and tone of voice will give you away if you are not honest.

For example, if you don’t want to do something, be honest about it. The worst thing you can do is go and be miserable. 

If you are having a rough day be honest so your partner can support you. Yelling at your partner that you are fine will only make things worse.

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8. Mutuality

What is mutuality? Mutuality is all about taking both of your needs into account. It is about sharing chores. It is about sharing your resources in ways that in the end will benefit you both. 

Relationships will always need "give and take". There may be times when one is giving more on one thing in the relationship and less of another — this is normal and fine if it balances out over time.

Whatever decisions you make needs to be entirely accepted by both of you without any coercion.

9. Commitment

You need the involvement of both of you to make the relationship work. 

For example, if you choose to commit to a long-term relationship, whether or not you get formally married, you both need to be clear about what you are promising to each other.

Here are some questions you might want to ask yourselves:

  • Are you committing to a lifelong relationship?
  • Are you committing to share your financial resources and how are you going to do it?
  • Are you committing to bringing out the best in each other?
  • Are you committing to work through conflict when it arises?
  • Are you committing to raising children together if they come?
  • Are you both committed to taking 100 percent responsibility for your actions and behavior?

Commitment means that you are taking seriously your responsibility to do your part to make the relationship work. 

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10. Being willing to share

A willingness to share is essential. You need to decide as a couple how much you are going to share.

Are you going to share everything?  Will you have your own bank accounts? If so, who is going to pay what? How are you going to pay for the big-ticket items?

How are you going to share the chores? If you have children how are you going to raise the children? Don’t assume the woman is going to do it all.

11. Being willing to practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do. Forgiving yourself is even harder. You are going to hurt the one you love. Most often it is not intentional.

When there is discord, it is essential to learn to forgive yourself and the person who upset you. Forgiveness takes time. The person you feel hurt by likely never intended to hurt you. 

When you realize that you did something wrong you need to respond. Besides asking for forgiveness you need to learn from your mistake, so you do not repeat it.

If you are hurt seriously, you may find it helpful to find professional help to see if it is possible to work through the conflict or if you need to end the relationship.

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12. Gratitude

Practicing radical gratitude changes the way you see the world. Over time it can become easy to take your partner for granted.

When you both practice showing appreciation for each other every day, it helps to keep your relationship strong and healthy.

When you stay thankful for your partner, you are less likely going to keep your eye open for someone better. 

You are more likely going to put most of your energy into keeping your relationship healthy.

13. Intimacy

When you have all the above, you increase the chances for you to have a healthy intimate relationship.

Intimacy requires one hundred percent trust. When you are at your best you are able to communicate with the person you love through an intimate spiritual connection; this is intimacy at its best.

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Healthy relationships don’t just magically happen 

You need to strengthen all these components that make up a good relationship: health, self-awareness, kindness, communication, empathy, curiosity, mutuality, commitment, sharing, and forgiveness — all contributing to healthy intimacy.

Before you get into any relationship, make sure you are healthy enough to notice whether this person is the right person for you.

Then once you are in a good relationship, you need to commit along with your partner to keep it fresh and alive. 

Relationships take time, effort, play, and intention to make them work.

Most of all don’t try to keep your relationship healthy by yourself. Keep up good friendships to support you in your life and relationship. The one you love can not meet every single need of yours.

If you run into problems, there are many spiritual leaders, coaches, and counselors available to help you. Getting help is a sign of strength and not weakness.

May you find richness, beauty, and deep love in your relationship. Relationships have the potential to be amazing when you both do everything to enhance them.

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Roland Legge is an author, Certified Spiritual Life Coach, and teacher of the Enneagram. He helps people connect to their inner selves and find alignment with their highest purpose and values.

This article was originally published at REL Consultants. Reprinted with permission from the author.