17 Things to Look for In A Healthy Relationship

By David Small •  Updated: 08/01/14 •  12 min read

A healthy relationship is one that has a few bumps and fewer arguments. It is whereby both parties are happy and they feel that their current partner is the best person in the world.

Relationships are not always a walk in the park. With this in mind, you will have to know how to make sure your relationship is running well. For this to happen, you will need to know the qualities of a healthy relationship.

Healthy Relationship

Some people find themselves in a relationship for all the wrong reasons. Some of the reasons include loneliness, pressure from peers, needing someone to take to social gatherings and so forth.

In order for a relationship to work, there have to be certain qualities. That is why most relationships in the present day fail.

To ensure your relationship lasts long and is a happy one, you will need to get information on the 17 Things to Look for in a Healthy Relationship.

Related Article on How To Have A Healthy Relationship

1. Acceptance.

Acceptance can be defined as one of the key qualities in any good relationship. If you want to have a healthy relationship, you will need to accept your partner the way they are. Lack of acceptance is the beginning of a failed relationship.

You may come across or be part of a relationship where there are many conditions or books. Such relationships are those that are defined with statements like ‘I will love you if you change your job; if you change your looks; if you perform this way etc.’

Lack of acceptance means your love is conditional. Conditional love is not to love as it is a bid to transform another individual to meet your needs, which is not a healthy relationship. In the event that you find yourself in such a relationship, break things off before you are hurt.

Anyone who doesn’t accept you the way you are does not really care about you. They are just trying to mold you to become someone you are not, but someone they would wish to be with.

In Judith Bemis’s Book, The Power of Acceptance, she states;” learning to build acceptance in a relationship, frees one to live to his/her fullest potential and achieve a healthy sense of self”.

2. Self-worth affirmation.

Messages you receive from other people are known as affirmation messages. For instance, when people tell you things like ‘You are Ok’, ‘You have many qualities I like about you’ or ‘you are a great person’.

These are messages we receive from others that affirm our self-worth. As humans, we all need positive strokes. We all need to be told we are worthy of our partners.

A healthy relationship is one that has both partners offering such messages. They will ensure the relationship remains strong. Without these positive strokes, one may wonder if their partner has lost interest in them or does no longer find them to be good enough.

If you want a good relationship, you will need to ensure that you and your partner say such words out of their own will. Forcing someone to tell you such messages means the relationship is in jeopardy.

3. Trust.

This is one of the most crucial aspects of any healthy relationship. You cannot love someone who you do not trust. How many people really trust their friends, children, parents or spouse? It is very important for any relationship to have trust. In the case of a husband-wife relationship, trust needs to be total.

When there is doubt, no matter how little, there is a problem with the relationship. According to psychotherapist David Richo, the Author of Daring to Trust: Opening Ourselves to Real Love and Intimacy, said: “Most Relationships problems are essentially trust issues”.

Of course, there may be insecurity from one partner or another. This condition is normally caused by a lack of trust. If you are in a relationship and you find yourself thinking that your partner is cheating on you because they are late, then there is a lack of trust in that relationship.

If you really trust your partner, you will be worried when they are late. You will be thinking maybe something bad has happened to them and try to look for them.


Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

4. Love.

Obviously, the key ingredient to a healthy relationship is love. Without love, the relationship is dead. In relationships that have last long, sometimes love dwindles.

However, there is a different love that emerges if both partners were really in love. Unfortunately, the word is used so casually ion our present-day society such that it has lost its meaning. True love is cultivated and comes with time.

True love is when you love someone because of their heart, morals and their overall character. If you love someone because of their looks, the relationship is not a healthy relationship.

In fact, it will fail in a very short time as you will get used to the looks. Love your partner because of the goodness and kindness you see in them. This kind of love will last for a very long time as long as both parties do not change.

5. Honesty.

Most people believe that white lies and little deceit in a relationship are necessary. You have to be direct and honest with each other. Sharing your ideas and feelings with others honestly may mean taking some risks.

However, at the end of the day, you will come out with a stronger and healthy relationship.

However, at the end of the day, you will come out with a stronger and healthy relationship. How to make bad relationships better and good relationships great is a book by Leslie Parrot where she states ‘Relationships is an honest and timely guide to forming the rich relationships that are life’s greatest treasure’

6. Commitment.

One of the hardest things people talk about is commitment. Very few people, including those who are married, are fully committed to their relationships. That is why they find they do not have an ideal relationship.

People normally say I will love you and be there for you through hell and high waters. The moment the other party is in

People normally say I will love you and be there for you through hell and high waters. The moment the other party is in problems say financial straits, they start distancing themselves from their partner. Commitment requires stability, two fairly healthy people, and maturity.

7. Mutuality.

The relationship has to exist under a mutual understanding. Both need to and have to be willing to work on the relationship. A quality of a healthy relationship is whereby both people let their partner know and understand their needs.

The older you get and the closer you may be getting to the age you may want to settle down and have a family, the more important this trait becomes.

Life has its ups and downs and you want someone by your side who isn’t going to flake out and fall to pieces every time you hit a bump in the road.

You want someone who can have fun (maturity has nothing to do with being old or ‘stodgy’ it just means you know when to act silly and when to suck it up and take care of business) but still has your back when you need them.

It’s also an important trait when it comes to working through tough issues and being able to communicate.

Healthy Relationship

8. Freedom of expression.

The fact that freedom of expression is in the constitution says a lot about its importance. It is more important as we need to express to our partners how we feel.

The expression does not necessarily have to be verbal. It can be physical or actions. It can be anything from cuddling, holding hands and intercourse.

There are individuals who believe intimacy can only be found in the bed. Others may be in bed but still lack intimacy.

Couples interviewed in a study said some of their most intimate experiences were not necessarily in bed. It may be gazing at each other, a touch, a caress or a word.

It will all depend on what you find intimate and how comfortable is that intimacy. Freedom of expression is very vital to a healthy relationship.

9. Confrontation.

Confrontation does not necessarily have to be negative. You should have the ability to sit down your partner and tell them why you do not like one thing or another.

Explain your reasons so that they may not think you are demeaning them. Put it in a way that they will understand you like them, but you do not like a particular behavior they have.

Any association that lacks confrontation means there is a problem and it is not a healthy relationship.

10. Regular contact.

Everyone needs people and we are all fragile. As much as we may at times want to be self-sufficient, we are not. We need regular contact, especially with our partners; in order to have certain needs met.

11. Testing.

How do you know you are in a healthy relationship unless you test it? Unless you have undergone some bumps and rough patches, you will never know if your relationship is worth it.

Every relationship needs testing to know if it is good or bad. Testing always improves a relationship making it ideal in the long run.

12. Humour.

If you are unable to laugh at each other and yourself, you are in big trouble. Humour is an essential part of a relationship as it draws you closer. You can’t be serious at all times. Fun and freedom need to be present as they are ingredients of a healthy relationship.


13. Compromise.

Compromise is the art of negotiating to the point that you are both comfortable even though not fully satisfied. For example, you may prefer having juice as your drink during or after dinner.

Your partner may prefer having wine. If this is the case, you can decide to have the drink of the other today and have their favorite drink tomorrow. If this cannot work, you can opt to have a drink of your choice.

Another good example of a compromise in a healthy relationship is when you are sharing a car. If you have one car, you can use it alternatively. One partner will use it on Monday while the other uses it on Tuesday.

In the event, it is your turn to use the car and your partner really needs it, you can opt to use a cab, the bus or train.

14. Communication.

Verbal communication is one vital quality of a healthy relationship. This can be done by whispering something romantic to your partner during a social gathering.

It may also include casual phone calls and text messages. Calling your partner and saying things like ‘I just wanted to say I love you’ or ‘I miss you’ will go a long way to ensuring your relationship stays on the green.

Making Your Relationship Work is a couple of skills book by Mathew McKay, that states, Love takes work, but, when it comes to relationships, it pays to work smarter.

Improved communication in a relationship will help the couple to cope better with problems, and resolve conflicts with the one you love in healthy and creative ways.

15. Time together.

You need to find the time where you are only the two of you. This does not have to be every time as this is too much and may cause frustration. However, you can find at least a few hours every week where it’s just the two of you.

Do not mistake this as a time for sex. It is a time where you have dinner, go to a movie or just cuddling and listening to music. When you have quality time together, you are bonding and strengthening your relationship. It is also a good time to air out any issues you may have.

16. Surprises.

You do not have to wait for Valentine, a birthday or Christmas to get your partner a gift. This is very monotonous and your partner will be expecting it. Random surprises are a sign of a healthy relationship.

For example, you may decide to surprise your partner with flowers or chocolate on an odd day like Thursday. It will not only keep your partner excited, but it will also show them that you are always thinking about them.

17. Keeping dates.

It is very important, especially for women, to maintain special occasions. Your anniversary, her birthday, her graduation date, when she got her first job, the first time you kissed, etc. are important moments in some women.

Though you may not always be able to keep track of every special occasion, make sure you know the majority. You do not have to get an expensive gift, a single flower or a gift card can be sufficient.

Having a healthy relationship is not that hard. If your relationship lacks most of these qualities, you need to find ways to improve it before it is too late.

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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