The Characteristics Of 
Healthy Relationships
Jon Terrell, M.A.

couple huggingLoving Couple

5 Key Healthy Relationship Keys

1. Loving Behaviors 

Loving behaviors nourish relationships. They build intimacy, feelings of closeness and sharing. They build up a sense of romance. They build trust and relieve anxiety about the relationship.

Loving behaviors include actions such as giving support, making time to listen and doing something special that your partner would enjoy. 

Examples of loving behaviors include:

  • Completing a household task such as doing the dishes or taking out the trash
  • Writing a love note describing an aspect of your partner's personality that you really appreciate
  • Thanking your partner for something they did or for just being connected to you
  • Fixing a special meal or taking your partner to a romantic restaurant
  • Buying flowers or a favorite treat (your partner's, not necessarily yours!)
  • Fixing a bath, giving a massage, creating a special event for your partner such as visiting a museum, taking a hike or walking together, dancing together

2. Respect

In healthy relationships partners hold each other in high regard and have positive thoughts and wishes for each other. As issues come up, they are discussed and resolved. 

3. Balance

Another of the traits of a healthy relationship is that there is shared responsibility and shared decision making. While partners may have very different strengths or capabilities (one may be the primary income source or be physically handier than the other, etc.) one partner is not contributing much more or much less than the other to the overall relationship.

Balance also includes a balance of work and play, chores and pleasurable activities.

In a balanced relationship there is give and take. One partner doesn't dominate discussions.

4. Open Two-Way Communication

Partners in healthy relationships hear what each other is saying, both the words and the meaning behind the words.

There are no taboo topics, no "stepping over" issues. Developing skills of listening, such as not interrupting and acknowledging what you heard are powerful relationship connecting skills for creating healthy relationships.

It is never too late to learn these communication skills. At the retreats I lead, for example, they are taught and practiced the first night of the event, and throughout the retreat to reinforce the power of listening to heal and build trust.

5. Conflict Management

One of the characteristics of healthy relationships is the ability to deal with conflicts without resorting to threats, violence, or without exiting behavior. (Examples of exiting behaviors are avoidance, suddenly getting tired, needing to leave or go to sleep or turning to addictive substances such as food or alcohol.)

Learning to stay, even in a heated discussion, is a skill that builds trust and strengthens relationships.

Those of us who have trouble staying  when there is conflict often have old unresolved experiences from their childhood that need to be resolved. They can learn how to transform the feelings they experience that arise in conflict. Our retreats are designed to help people do just that. transforming anger, for example, into passion, positive connection and love.

One core  characteristic of healthy relationships is there is never a threat of violence or power-over one's partner. Violence in a relationship is a sign that the relationship is in trouble and needs immediate help!

In healthy relationships there may be conflicting views, goals, needs and wants, Conflict is worked through, not suppressed or avoided.

Healthy Relationships Suggestions

hand holding

All of the characteristics of healthy relationships work together and support each other. At the times where there is a temporary shortage of one or another (a miscommunication or two, too much work without play, etc.) partners can still feel the benefit of previous actions and continue to respect and love each other. The relationship is resilient because of the foundation of trust and love that has been built.

Healthy relationships are interdependent, not co-dependent or independent. Partners work together to build intimacy and deeper connections. When conflict arises they stay instead of running away, and trust each other to support  the relationship and work things through.

Partners take care of their own needs and learn to ask for what they want and need from the other.

Healthy relationships feel alive, supportive and growing. They feel good!

The following pages have additional relationship problem advice you may find useful. There are particular skills you can develop to improve your relationships. Go to the following links: 

Go from Characteristics of Healthy Relationships to Learning Love Skills

Go to Building a Love Relationship

Go to Fear of Intimacy

Go to Advanced Relationship Tips

Go To Awakenment Wellness Home

Image: photostock / 

World Wide Health Directory 

For more information about the Characteristics of Healthy Relationships you can reach Jon Terrell through the contact form below. Jon leads retreats that help heal old emotional woundings and that teach people the specific Skills and Principles of Loving that make relationships resilient and satisfying.

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