How do you know if your marriage is in good health or not? This is a question that is certainly worth looking into, especially if you have been wondering along those lines.
Just as it is good to go for a regular physical check-up with your doctor, so it is also good to have a relationship health check-up from time to time to determine if it qualifies as a good marriage.
You may be quite surprised or shocked when you hear what your blood pressure and cholesterol readings are, even though you had not suspected that anything was amiss.
Similarly, when you take a closer look at your marriage health, you may be in for a few surprises.
What does a healthy marriage look like
It takes a lot to have a happy and healthy marriage.
The secret lies in healthy relationship habits and not grand romantic gestures.
By taking an overview of signs of a happy marriage, you will be able to take a definite test of your marital health, rescue your marriage from habits that are starving it from happiness, and give the relationship a staying power.
If as a couple you are in it for a long haul, you must do a marriage check-in with pertinent questions like, “what makes a good marriage?” “Are there any evident signs of a good relationship?”
The following signs of a healthy marriage will give you an idea as to whether or not you enjoy a strong marriage.
1. They cultivate healthy self-acceptance
The first step towards being a good husband or wife is to accept yourself. One of the key signs of a good marriage is cultivating healthy self- acceptance.
When you commit to appreciating and embracing yourself fully along with your strengths and weaknesses, it’s a perfect marriage sign. It is also what makes a healthy marriage, as self-acceptance improves our relationships.
Basically, you need to have a good relationship with yourself, before you can expect to have a good relationship with someone else.
In fact, this goes for all relationships, but especially in marriage. If you feel bad about yourself and you are expecting your spouse to meet all your emotional and self-esteem needs, this is putting an unreasonable and unrealistic burden on your spouse.
Sooner or later you will be disappointed and then you will feel even worse. When you accept yourself as you are, as a work in progress, your motivation will be to give rather than receive, to love and help, rather than want and need.
The amazing thing is that with such an attitude you usually end up being blessed in return, beyond your expectations.
2. They take full responsibility for their own emotions
Emotions play such a vital role in our lives every day. They add color to our relationships – both bright and somber colors, positive and negative.
The healthy way to experience emotions in marriage is when both partners take full responsibility for their own emotions, without blaming each other, and demanding that their partner meets their emotional needs.
Blaming is a favorite tactic of abusers who often say “You made me do it…” It is dangerous to ignore feelings and stuff them down rather than facing them and dealing with them out in the open.
Negative feelings that have been stuffed into the basement of our hearts do not magically disappear – they fester and can even result in “explosions” which cause misery and heartache, sometimes for years to come.
People try all kinds of things to counteract their negative emotions, often leading to addictions and compulsions. In a healthy marriage, emotions are expressed openly and freely, as and when they occur.
One of the signs your marriage will last is the prevalence of open, honest and transparent communication in your relationship.
3. They set and maintain healthy boundaries
Having firm boundaries that are intact and well maintained is one indication of positive marriage fitness.
This is different for each person and in a marriage, each spouse needs to know their own personal boundaries, as well as their shared boundaries as a couple.
This covers any and every area from money to personal space, diet or possessions. Boundaries also need to be communicated very clearly to the one concerned, and when violations occur, it is up to you to take appropriate action.
For example, if you lend money to someone, saying that you want it returned within a month, if that does not happen, you would know not to lend to that person again.
4. They deal with conflicts as a team
Yes, it is possible to have healthy conflicts! If someone says, “we have no conflicts at all in our marriage,” that would be cause for serious concern and doubt as to the marriage’s mental health.
In such a case, there is either total apathy or one partner is totally compliant and submissive to the dominating one. Conflict is inevitable when two completely different and separate human beings decide to live their lives in close proximity and intimacy.
Healthy conflict occurs when the issues are addressed, without attacking the person and character of your loved one.
In healthy conflicts, the focus is on dealing with the issue and repairing the relationship.
It’s not about winning the argument or scoring points. It’s about overcoming an obstacle so that you can grow even closer to one another than you were before.
You may perceive a situation differently, but when you see and hear your partner’s viewpoint, you are willing to walk that extra mile and meet the middle ground.
5. They have fun together
Marriage is healthy when you can have fun together and you look forward to being with your spouse and doing things you enjoy with each other.
Sometimes married life can become so hectically busy and so full of stress and tension that the element of fun is lost.
This is a tragic loss, and every effort should be made to regain some of the playfulness and light-hearted fun that you may have enjoyed at the beginning of your relationship.
Sign up for a class together or go ice-skating, or watch a comedy together, and bring some healthy fun into your marriage.
6. They support each other
What makes a great marriage?
In a healthy marriage, a couple is supported by a partner who listens, respects, shares, and practices open and honest communication. They exhibit a willingness to compromise and are open to constructive criticism.
In a healthy marriage, a couple feels happy and safe with their spouse.
Having a good support structure in your marriage is essential to a healthy relationship. When a husband and wife become insular and isolated to the extent that they have few outside relationships, it is an unhealthy sign.
Abusive relationships are almost always characterized by isolation. The abuser isolates his spouse so that she feels she has “no one to go to”.
In a healthy marriage, both partners enjoy many and varied friendships with others, whether it is family members, fellow church members or work colleagues and friends.
7. They don’t assume what their partner is thinking
Refrain from jumping to conclusions or having preconceived notions about what your partner is thinking or feeling.
Take the initiative to inquire about the situation, to factor in all angles and don’t assume what your partner is feeling be patient while listening to them without any judgments.
As a couple, focus on the context of the argument at hand, stay away from making sweeping generalizations.
8. They mean it when they say sorry
Mature couples are able to recognize their role in their partner’s pain.
They do not make a half-baked attempt at apologizing by saying, ” I am sorry, you feel that way.”
Their apology expresses empathy and compassion for their partner, it reflects their remorse on the wrongdoings and shows that they are willing to work at repairing the damage.
They take corrective steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
9. They feel as though their partner is their safety net
Life throws curveballs at all times. One of the biggest advantages of a healthy marriage is basking in the comfort of knowing someone is there to watch your back.
In healthy marriages, successful couples aim at lessening the burden rather than adding to it. Your marriage is not in a good place, if all your spouse does is add to your woes or complicate an already difficult situation for you.
They make their partner laugh at trivial issues, and look at a challenging situation from the tilted lens of a magnifying glass, to diffuse its enormity.
In a happy relationship, partners come to a consensus of reaching a solution to a problem and not aggravating it. They don’t take their partner for granted and render emotional safety to their spouse.
10. Their sex life is thriving
This is one is no brainer. Sex is meaningful, cathartic and fun – all of this and more when a couple is enjoying a healthy marriage.
We are not saying sex is everything, or even that it is overrated. But, undervaluing sex in a marriage is not a sign of a healthy marriage.
If both partners are agreeable in a sexless marriage, it is not much of a call of concern, however, if any of the partners is feeling frustrated with lack of intimacy in marriage, it can eat away at the strength of the marriage and even lead to infidelity.
Sex fosters intimacy and is the most intimate physical act, you and your partner can experience to feel connected.
11. Their house is bursting with positive energy
A healthy house is always bursting with energy. There is always a buzz with a quality conversation or a fun banter happening back and forth.
You find a way to connect with your spouse on myriad topics. You share delightful heart to heart conversations, and there is a strong presence of emotional connection and vivacity.
Conversely, a silent house with a silent marriage is a bad alliance. If the deadly silence is corrupting your marriage, find a way to connect with your significant other.
Ask questions, interact on topical issues, vacations, kids, everyday challenges or even exchange a review on a movie, if you want to keep it light. Here are some conversation starters for couples to reconnect.
12. They don’t hold on to grudges
One thing that sets a healthy marriage apart from an unhealthy marriage is a couple’s ability to let go of the trivial issues.
Mistakes and fights are not exclusive to any marriage. It’s par for the course, but it is equally important to not let resentment fester.
Refrain from shaming your partner for their oversight and let your actions demonstrate your love and understanding. The ability to let go of past transgressions is the hallmark of a mature couple.
Don’t be a grievance collector or a power grabber. Successful couples work through their differences and move forward with lessons learned.
The healthiest couples aim at a mindful conversation where they express their predicament, a resolution to not reprise the mistake, accept the apology, and let go, to continue living in the present.
If you discover that these powerful indicators of a healthy marriage are not present to any great extent in your relationship, please don’t ignore the red flags that you see and don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
If you are still not sure whether or not you need help, you might like to search the internet for a marriage health quiz which will give you further feedback. There is help available, and there is no need to settle for less when you can have the best.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.