What’s it take to have a healthy marriage? TV and moves will tell you one thing. Magazines and social media will tell you another. It’s not easy to know what makes a healthy marriage—especially in a day when most marriages end in divorce.
Marriage isn’t easy. Whoever tells you it is lying. But, I’ve found help in pastors, family, and friends, when it comes to marriage. I’ve found after being married for four decades, there are some things couples can do that set them up for the long-term. Here are 8 essential characteristics of a healthy marriage.
8 Essential Characteristics of a Healthy Marriage
Couples who have more of these characteristics of course enjoy more strength, happiness, and growth in their marriage. The fewer of these characteristics, the fewer positive outcomes.
- Both partners participate in the definition of the relationship.
- There is a strong marital bond characterized by closeness and autonomy.
- Spouses are interested in each other’s thoughts and feelings.
- The expression of feelings is encouraged by a climate of safety.
- Conflicts are discussed and resolved without damage to the relationship.
- Problem-solving skills are well developed.
- The ability to deal with change and stress is well developed.
- Most basic values are shared.
A great exercise is to ask yourself:
- How many of these are present in our relationship?
- Which are not?
- Which one of these characteristics can I improve on this week?
Remember, one of the best ways to start turning your marriage around is for you to start with yourself. When you change, it often has an incredibly positive effect on your spouse. Then, you’ve got something to build on… hope, promise, and a step in the right direction.