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The 7 Signs of a Healthy and Happy Relationship

Relationships should make you feel good about yourself, your partner, and the relationship most of the time. As social beings, we rely on relationships to thrive and survive. Just like we need food and shelter, we also have a natural drive to connect with others. Strong, healthy relationships are crucial in improving your overall physical and mental well-being throughout your life.

Research indicates that positive relationships can reduce the production of stress hormones like cortisol and contribute to a sense of well-being and purpose, extending your lifespan. Furthermore, studies suggest that people in committed romantic relationships have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

What makes a good relationship? Keep reading to discover seven qualities of healthy relationships, along with advice from Ury on how to strengthen your romantic relationship.

They bring the best out of you. 

“When you’re with them, you feel comfortable, confident, and happy,” explains Ury. Relationships can make us feel good and also inspire personal growth. While each person is responsible for their own self-improvement, strong relationships should encourage and support individual goals. Building a strong sense of self is essential for healthy relationships with others.

You can fight well. 

All couples have disagreements, but not all couples know how to handle them in a healthy way. “Issues will come up in a relationship,” Ury acknowledges. “It’s not about avoiding conflict; it’s about learning how to deal with it constructively. Successful couples have the skills to navigate difficult situations.”

When you argue with your partner, it shouldn’t be about winning or losing. If you can’t argue without being hurtful (like using insults or name-calling), it’s best to take a break. Whether it’s 30 minutes or a few days, give yourselves time to cool off. When you’re both ready, come back to the conversation calmly and discuss the issue and your needs respectfully. Learning how to argue in a healthy way is essential for maintaining positive relationships.

You keep your individual identity.

Before you met your partner, you had your own life, friends, and things you enjoyed doing. Your partner likely fell in love with you because of your unique outlook on life, how you treated your friends, and your interesting hobbies. But when you start a new relationship, some of the time you used to spend on yourself starts going towards your partner. How can you be in a relationship with someone else without forgetting who you are? Keeping your own interests when you’re in a relationship helps you maintain a strong sense of self. This, in turn, allows for more closeness, love, and passion in the relationship.

You take turns supporting each other. 

Every relationship goes through different phases as time passes. Sometimes, one partner might face challenges like losing a parent or a job, and this can impact how they act in the relationship. It’s important to understand and accept these changes in life and be compassionate towards each other.

“You don’t always have to be the one who’s always strong or taking care of everything. Ideally, you both support each other and give each other the space to be open and vulnerable,” says Ury.

You listen to each other. 

This can be a bit tricky, but it’s important. “It’s not just about waiting for your chance to talk or offering advice without being asked,” says Ury. “Healthy relationships include giving each other the time and attention to really listen.”

If you want to become a better listener, try to summarize what your partner just said and ask if you got it right. For instance, you might say, “It seems like you’re feeling frustrated because you think I’m not helping with the household chores. Did I understand that correctly?”

You help each other achieve your dreams. 

“A wonderful partner doesn’t just see who you are now, but also who you can become and what you aspire to be,” explains Ury. “They encourage and motivate you to chase your dreams.”

Some people worry that being in a relationship might divert them from their path or slow down their ambitions. However, the best relationships actually ignite your inner drive, propelling you to reach heights you couldn’t reach on your own. Positive relationships push you to improve because they recognize the potential in you that you might not see in yourself. As the saying goes, “If you want to make quick progress, go alone, but if you aim for a long and fulfilling journey, go together.”

You grow together.

“Relationships change over time,” Ury points out. “They have to adapt as people in them grow and change. What do you need from your partner right now? What does your partner need from you?”

The person you marry won’t be the same in 10 or 20 years, nor will you. To make a relationship last, both of you must actively participate and invest time, energy, and love into it consistently. Consider having regular monthly or annual check-ins to ensure you’re both on the same page and that the relationship is fulfilling for both of you. This way, you can make corrections before negative feelings like contempt and resentment damage the relationship irreparably.

“Strong relationships are built, not stumbled upon,” emphasizes Ury. “It’s all about putting in the effort to construct a strong relationship and then maintaining its strength.”

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