In this article, you’ll discover 10 signs of a healthy relationship and how to recognize when love is not enough to maintain a strong bond. Find out how to make your connection to your loved ones indestructible.
Do you want the responsibility that comes with any relationship? Because (you see?) a relationship is a two-way street: you’re offering something, and you receive something else in return.
There is not partnership without (at least) two people involved… I mean, really, involved!
With the technology advancement, the Internet, and fast-paced life, it’s more and more imperative to sort out which relationships are making you happy, and which ones are dragging you down.
Start with the relationship to yourself:
- Know who you are, your value and worth;
- Love and accept yourself as you are;
- Know what you want from life and others.
Then, when you know yourself better, think about what makes a happy partnership from your perspective.
To make things easier for you, here you have ten signs of a healthy relationship.
(Plus, in the second part of the article, five things that can make love not be enough to maintain a strong bond and how to overcome them.)
1. The first sign of a healthy relationship: Time
Those who love you make time for you and the other way around.
That’s not out of an obligation, but because you enjoy spending moments together. Plus, offering your time to those you love is a precious gift because all of us have limited time. Is it not?
Time is not something that you can replace, make more of, take back, or buy; it’s that valuable!
Improve your interpersonal skills and gather around yourself those people that value your time almost as much as you do; those who deserve your time and offer you their time in return.
In a romantic relationship, receiving and offering time is an essential part of being attentive.
Receiving and offering time creates a close bond that gives you (and your partner) reassurance and an added confirmation that you’re in the right relationship.
2. The second sign of a healthy relationship: Love
Many essential things and emotions go into a happy relationship (mutual respect, understanding, compassion, empathy, sympathy, etc.); however, is there any other more important than love?
Love is chemical and being in love/ loving the wrong people is poisonous. (I’m not talking only about romantic relationships, but any other kind.)
Life is short; yet, it’s lovely and full of joy when you share it with people that give you a piece of themselves by loving you.
If someone’s love for you feels selfish, most likely, that person doesn’t really love you; they might like the idea of you and how their life is more comfortable because of you.
In the second part of this article, you’ll find out five things that can make love seem not enough to create a strong bond and ruin even those marriages where spouses love each other.
3. The third sign of a healthy relationship: Energy
As with time, we have limited amounts of energy.
I’m not referring here to energy as something mystical, but at the energy that sustains your life; the energy you need to move around; the energy which takes you out of bed in the morning.
Some people have a lot of energy, (they are like a peg-top all day), but most of us don’t. Most of us conserve energy as often and as much as possible. Therefore, when someone spends their energy with you, that’s something! It is a sign of love.
We started with time, love, and energy because these are your most precious possessions. These gifts of life are determining your values and shape up your behaviors the most.
How can energy be significant in a romantic relationship?
For example, I’m one of those people that can walk and walk and walk…but never run. If my husband wouldn’t consider that about me, we’d have a problem.
Each of us has a default level of energy to which we come back again and again. However, if your default level is low (or slow as in my case), being pushed to move (constantly) can feel like you’re chased by a tiger that never stops until you drop.
Spouses must recognize and accept the default energy level of their partner so that the marriage doesn’t become a never-ending source of frustration and pain.
There is not good or bad default energy level. Each of us is useful because (not in spite) of who we are. Some things need to be done fast, some slow, and others need us to seat on them for a while before we start moving.
The diversity helps us complete each other in splendid ways.
4. The fourth sign of a healthy relationship: Making concessions for each other
Those who care and love you don’t engage (with you) in a tug of war. You are more important to them than vanity or desire to win. Plus, reciprocate is one of the things that keeps a friendship alive “You’ve done something for me, I must do something for you in return,” “You leave a bit there for me, I give you more of that.”
No matter if we talk about romantic, friendly or work relationships, making concessions for each other gives you the sense that you matter, that you’re important.
Those who are not willing to make concessions and compromise are the first ones that lose. Most things they should do for their loved ones seem an inconvenience and colossal effort, instead of being a sign of love and an opportunity to feel useful.
Even if you’re not a professional negotiator, you need to know how to negotiate. Your relationships, to survive, require you to have that skill so that you get a win-win outcome and make them even stronger.
5. The fifth sign of a healthy relationship: Tolerance
Yes, you are making mistakes. Who doesn’t? But only those for which you are important and valuable are willing to find out:
- how that happened
- and how to help you improve in that regard.
Do you like everything that your best friends do? I guess not; but you don’t poke their eyes for it with every opportunity, are you? And why not?
Caring and loving someone makes you more tolerant; their flaws, mistakes, and shortcoming don’t seem big enough to jeopardize the relationship. Even more, sometimes, all those things feel like an excellent opportunity for you to make yourself useful to the other person.
Being tolerant helps you find simple solutions to complex problems because you put more pathos in finding resolutions rather than culprits.
You know you’re in a right relationship when your partner(s) show tolerance and understanding, inspire and help you to do better next time. But, tolerance is not limited to open-mindedness about mistakes. It’s also the ability to accept your ideas and opinions even if they don’t agree with them.
6. The sixth sign of a healthy relationship: You don’t feel taken for granted
Remind yourself that you are not something that people deserve without doing anything for it.
That is not because you’re conditioning your love and attention in some way; but because whatever is for free, seem without value and worth.
That is something to remind ourselves every day because when we forget it, we tend to put strangers first at the expense of our loved ones.
Some individuals indulge their vanity by collecting relationships. They want to be liked by everyone, but love (truly) nobody.
Is a positive thing to desire to be liked (it’s self-preservation). Yet, how much do you have to pay so that outsiders like your friends? Do they take you for granted? Are you something they are entitled to without putting any effort?
Any relationship is a two-way street, and you know you’re taken for granted when you’re the only one walking both lanes.
7. The seventh sign of a healthy relationship: Bringing out the best in you
Those who make you feel too self-conscious, question and doubt yourself, most definitely, don’t bring out the best in you.
You see? The people in your life have a gift:
- Some of them to make you behave in ways that you despise
- And others (on the opposite side), make you act in ways that you can be proud.
Listen, those who bring out the not so best in you, are not doing it to be mean or to hurt you (intentionally); sometimes is just chemistry, you are not compatible. You step on each other’s toes no matter how hard, any of you tries to make things work. It is no one’s fault, but unfortunately, it will never work. If you love mountains, would you ever give up on those for flat grounds?
You know a relationship is healthy (for you) when that relationship makes you like yourself even more.
Your best friends are also good friends when you feel proud of your behavior and actions around them.
Yes, in theory, you should be disciplined and mentally strong enough to be the master of your actions and emotions. However, we can’t help it but be influenced by our loved ones. That doesn’t mean they have power over you. It means that some of their behaviors provoke you to react instead of acting because, around them, you leave your guard down.
For example, someone that (constantly) criticises and makes fun of you, definitely does not bring out the best in you. Why? Because you might feel cornered and threaten and enter into the self-preservation mode. You feel you must defend yourself, and a good fast defense starts with a torpedoes attack…the flowers come much later.
A healthy relationship takes advantage (in the good sense) of your skills, endorses your talents, and encourages your potential. A healthy relationship helps you discover every day something beautiful about yourself. You feel inspired to create and does not force you (ever) to lose your time, fighting.
8. The eighth sign of a healthy relationship: You’re willing to forgive and forget almost everything
It feels ten times worse to be judged, punished and asked to change by someone that’s supposed to love you, (compared to a stranger). Doesn’t it?
Do you know why? That’s because you expect from your loved ones to find excuses for you, to treat you with compassion, to be understanding and helpful.
Of course, you feel like that because that’s how you behave with them. Is it not?
You don’t expect any favors; you just want things that you’re offering as well.
Individuals that don’t let go of the past don’t allow you to move on, to progress. They keep you a prisoner of the past, and the relationship is stuck into never-ending blames and apologies.
Forgiving and forgetting come out of love. Yet, you can’t force it (neither you to forgive, neither the other party).
Sometimes love is not enough to be able to forgive and forget…
…the mistake hurt you too much
When that happens, the bond becomes weak; most times breaks down forever.
You know you’re in a healthy relationship when you forgive and forget by default, and your partner does the same for you.
For example, in my eyes, my husband is perfect. My mother-in-law said to me one day: “Surely, he does things you don’t like”.
She gave me some examples of complaints I had about other people “My son is doing those things too.”
“Yes, maybe…but he’s still perfect.”
He’s perfect because, when it comes to him, I don’t let unimportant things bother me. I forgive and forget by default; it’s never a question; it comes naturally.
9. The ninth sign of a healthy relationship: You feel protected and protective
You are one individual in an ocean of 7 billion people. It’s easy to get lost, feel lost and left out. It’s only natural to crave and, sometimes, even demand from those you love to be in your corner, to be your safe haven, your safe place to fall, your protectors and guardians.
You can learn from books how to make yourself feel safer. Yes, you can learn safety measures; but, no safety measures can ever beat feeling protected by your loved ones.
10. The tenth sign of a healthy relationship: The passing of time doesn’t matter
It feels like, last time you’ve spoken, was yesterday even if it was last year.
You, quickly take forward the relationship no matter how much time you haven’t seen each other. It’s not a struggle; it doesn’t need time to be rebuilt, it just peeks up from where you left it off.
The most often complaint adult children have about their parents, (which is also the reason why it happens) is this:
“I rarely call because every time I call we have the same half an hour conversation; they are asking why don’t I call most often? I avoid calling only to be asked why I don’t call.”
You know you are in a healthy relationship when you’re not asked to justify your absence no matter how much time has past and things flow naturally (no need for explanations or excuses).
Usually, a relationship that you don’t maintain dies. Yet, there are few exceptions from the rule and these exceptions and among the most robust connections you have. They are that strong that don’t need constant attention.
Now, after reading these ten signs of a happy relationship, you might feel the need to change some things in your life, to give up on some people, to step out from some partnerships and that is okay.
See it as the natural progression of things. See it as an act of growing up, growing out and not a step back. Believe me! It is a step forward!
Life is too short to waste it struggling. Life can be fascinating, exhilarating, and happy when you gather around yourself the right people and when you are the right person for them in return.
We are, now, at the second part of this article
and we’ll talk about five things that can make love seem not enough to create a strong bond. These things apply in any relationship, but mostly in a marriage.
Have you ever wondered how come two people that love each other a lot, don’t always manage to have a happy marriage? They seem to be in never-ending war, and the relationship is toxic for both.
The lack of these 5 C’s in a marriage can make love feel not enough:
1. The lack of Care
You’d expect that when two people love each other to care about the well-being and feelings of the other one. Right? What is love without caring?
That kind of love is selfish and hurts immensely. Most people that love but don’t care are the cheaters. They profess undying love…from a distance. They say one lie after another with no regards or care how their partner must feel.
In the name of honesty, sometimes they share what they’ve done. But, (you see?) that’s not honesty; they unburden themselves of the heavyweight of their deeds. Then, believing they start from zero, cheat again.
What is love without caring?
Some spouses do love and care. However, they care too much about something else. They care about their:
- Birth family
- Personal image
- And, somewhere (on the bottom of the list) is their spouse.
It’s admirable to care about the things and people in your life. Yet, make sure your priorities list is designed in the right order.
Do you want a happy and healthy marriage? Love and care! (priorities, priorities, priorities.)
Stability is imperative for a happy marriage.
Consistency helps you simplify your life and prevents you to get lost in the unknown.
The truth is that, even when we ask for it, we don’t like change. We like things to be predictable and reliable. Lack of consistency creates chaos and doubt.
Change and progress are good… at the right time and in the right amount; certainly, not from one moment to the next, not every day.
Imagine you change every day the direction of how you open the door. Every day you must learn again if you must push or pull (the door). Imagine that sometimes you forget you must relearn how to open the door.
I guess you’re dizzy by now. Then, imagine your spouse is constantly changing their behaviors, mind, personal rules, and you must adapt to the new again and again.
Lack of consistency makes love not enough because forces the other person to learn and change. Not that those two things are bad, but “thank you very much, I have many other things to do other than learning how to be around you and what to expect from you today. You may love me…but I’m tired.”
The most significant pain people have about improving themselves is the loss of family and friends in the process.
People don’t like change even if that’s for the better. Therefore, when you make a change about yourself, do it gradually and alongside to your loved ones. Take them with you; otherwise, they are left behind and might never check up on you.
Do you want a happy and healthy marriage? Be consistent.
That is a tough one! We communicate something all the time. So, it’s less a matter of lack of communication, but lack of attention to what are we communicating.
For example, we, wives tend to say what is bothering us rarely.
“Darling, what’s wrong?” he asks.
“Nothing!” she replies in an angry voice thinking that he should know what’s wrong.
Dear wives, I have news, your husbands don’t read your mind and some, can’t even guess from your body language. So, speak up!
Dear husbands, your wives, (really, really) care about how and what you feel. When you don’t voice your emotions, they jump to guess because want you to feel better. What they guess, might not always be what you feel… they can’t read your mind either.
The lack of attention for what we communicate makes us feel stupid. After the fact we are all wiser, and looking back (to that less wise self), makes us shout: “how ridiculous and stupid I’ve been!”
Speak up! Say what you mean and mean what you say:
- If you want help, ask for it;
- If you want attention, say so;
- When something is bothering you, say it;
- Voice what you feel, never suffer in silence – there is almost nothing more offending to your spouse other than to discover that you’re suffering and don’t ask for help;
- Don’t (ever) presume that your spouse should know what you want, need, or desire without you saying it – they sometimes do, but remember that each of us, lives inside of our (own) mind; and each of us sees things differently because we look at them from different perspectives.
The paradox about not communicating your emotions and feelings is that:
- In one hand we expect our spouse to know and behave accordingly,
- And, on the other hand, we don’t like to hear: “I know what you feel; that’s why I did [that] and the [other].”
Language is a wonderful thing. Don’t you think? So, Speak up!
Another paradox about communication (for a happy marriage) is this:
We believe this to be a universal truth “Action speaks louder than words” and most of us say that we live by it. However, the reality is that showing your love through actions and behaviors is incomplete without, also, saying the magic words:
- “I love you”;
- “I appreciate you”;
- “I feel blessed to have you in my life”;
- “You (and the children) are the most important people in my life”;
- “No one else understands me as you do.”
Showing love through your words (not only action) is like an unwritten confirmation and sign that you are in the right marriage. (You and your spouse) Hearing those words every day (a few times) makes you try and strive to deserve them. It makes you feel good, reassured, and creates a strong bond.
Communicate your love by:
The touch(y) part can be challenging. You or your spouse, at first, might not like being touched – in many cultures, touching between spouse is reserved only for the bedroom. But, friendly touching (like asexual kisses and hugs) makes you feel secure, loved, and relaxed. It has the same effect on your brain’s chemistry like being in nature, exercising, the sun warmth on your skin.
Lack of compassion in a marriage is making love feel not enough.
We all have challenges, limitations, and shortcomings. When you’re not treated with compassion and understanding about what’s not perfect about you, can make you feel inadequate and inferior – love becomes irrelevant.
There is only that much “pick myself up” you can do. Sometimes you need to hear, see and feel understood to be able to allow yourself to be indulgent about what’s not perfect and you can’t change.
Compassion improves your mood; gives you the peace of mind you need to find solutions for the challenges, limitations, and shortcomings you have.
Do you want a happy and healthy marriage? Be compassionate and ask to be treated with compassion.
Your marriage is the most important team you’ll ever work with.
If spouses don’t collaborate, it’s like:
- Your hands working independently from each other,
- The left leg moving in a different direction than the right one,
- The right eye looking up and the left, looking down.
How could love be enough when that happens?
We, my husband and I, took some bad decisions that cost us a lot. Yet, those decisions didn’t have a negative impact on our relationship, because (you see?) we took them together.
When you decide together in what direction to move, if things don’t work out as expected, don’t blame each other. The direction is (always) to blame! That helps you spend your time and energy to find a better direction instead of fighting, name calling, blame.
A couple is traveling by car to the countryside.
He’s driving; she’s guiding him with the map. He’s listening some of the instructions, she gives some instructions correctly, and they end up in the middle of nowhere.
He says: “where are we?”
She says: “I tell you where we are! We are lost! You lost us again.”
He says: “It’s your fault.”
She says: “It’s your fault.”
Each gives arguments as to way is the other’s fault. After half an hour of fighting and bickering she says angry throwing the map in his lap:
“You know what? It’s not fun to go with you anywhere. Take me back home.”
He says, rolling his eyes: “I would if I could… anything to be away from you, but we are lost.”
Do you want a happy and healthy marriage? Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.
Now, you can easily abandon, get out of, and forget other kinds of relationships when are not working for you; but, when it comes to marriage, it’s not the same. There are many considerations for which you shouldn’t just give up.
A marriage that sits on love, can become a happy marriage. Whatever is missing, or too much can be redirected with the help of the five C’s you just discovered.