Just as it’s a good idea to schedule routine checkups to assess the health of your body and catch any problems before they become serious, you can also benefit from regularly checking the health of your relationship. You might find some weaknesses that need strengthening, or you may uncover serious problems that need more urgent attention.
To give your relationship a “checkup,” sit down with your partner and review the qualities that make up a healthy relationship (listed below). You can separately write down your thoughts about each area and then share them. Or, you might want to just talk them through together.
8 aspects of a healthy relationship:
Feel accepted and loved: Although you are different in many ways, and some of those ways might even get under your skin, you each still feel accepted and loved for the essence of who you are.
Turn to your partner as a safe haven: When life gets hard to take, you and your partner can turn to each other for comfort. You feel a sense of relief from being in each other’s presence.
Encourage each other in exploring your interests: One of the beautiful parts of relationships is that they offer a secure base from which you can feel supported in exploring your thoughts, interests, and values. You encourage each other to continue to develop yourselves as individuals.
Appreciate your partner: You and your partner value and respect traits in each other. No matter how long you are together, you want to get to know more about each other, including the small and large changes that happen every day and over the years. This could include new experiences they had in the hours away from you, or what they have been thinking about through their days.
Appreciate your relationship: You both value and prioritize your relationship. You devote space in your hearts, minds, and in your lives to nurture and enjoy your relationship.
Trust: You and your partner trust that you will be emotionally there for each other. You trust that you will act in ways that support one another and the relationship.
Comfortable with intimacy: You open up to each other, sharing your intimate thoughts and vulnerable feelings. By doing this, you maintain your separateness as individuals even as you feel closer.
Effectively manage disagreements: You deal with conflicts in a mutually respectful way. You address your feelings well enough that you each feel heard, hopefully lessening their intensity. This allows you to work as a team to solve disagreements between you and problems before you – or to at least find a mutually satisfying way to move forward.
As you review these signs of a healthy relationship, consider each one carefully. Are they areas where you feel strong, satisfied, or weak? Talk with your partner about how you might use what you learn from this “checkup” to enhance your relationship. This could mean doing more of what you already do well – such as continuing to enjoy a weekly date. Or, it could mean giving special attention to areas of weakness. For example, you might agree to talk more respectfully to each other during arguments. If you identify a weakness that you don’t immediately know how to address, commit to learning more on your own or seeking professional help.