5 Most Important Things in a Healthy Relationship

Published August 27, 2020
Couple cooking together

What are the 5 most important things in a relationship? Being in a healthy relationship means fully being able to share yourself with your partner with no fear of physical or emotional harm. While relationships can differ greatly, all healthy relationships share several things in common.

What Are the Five Most Important Things in a Relationship?

In a healthy relationship, it is important to prioritize the quality of your relationship and the wellbeing of each individual.

Healthy Boundaries

Healthy boundaries are critical in any solid relationship. Having healthy boundaries means that each partner is aware of their own physical and emotional boundaries, is able to communicate them to their partner, and both partners are respectful of what each individual partner feels comfortable with. Examples of healthy boundaries include:

  • One partner wants to wait to have sex, and their partner doesn't pressure them, and is open to discussing why without judgment.
  • One partner isn't comfortable talking about a certain topic, and their partner respects their wishes.
  • Both partners have agreed upon how much contact and communication feels appropriate to them.
  • Both partners feel emotionally and physically safe with each other.

Respect

In a healthy relationship, respect means honoring your partner's wishes and taking into account how your behavior and choices will impact them. Both partners must be respectful or the relationship may encounter issues with trust and intimacy. Examples of respect in a relationship include:

  • Listening when your partner says no
  • Being honest with each other
  • Not interrupting each other while chatting or resolving arguments
  • No name calling or undermining, especially when fights are heated
  • Using active listening when you speak with each other

Communication

Without good communication, it can feel really challenging to make a relationship work. Healthy communication means letting your partner know what your needs are, as well as how you are feeling. With healthy communication, couples can connect on a deeper level, and ensure that they are meeting each other's needs. Healthy communication examples include:

  • Letting your partner know that you like when they help out with cooking
  • Discussing when one or both of you feels hurt
  • Letting each other know how much you mean to each other
  • Discussing your relational goals
couple relaxing on their balcony

Personal Insight

While cultivating personal insight is an individual task, it can greatly impact the health of your relationship. Personal insight means you are able to reflect upon your thoughts and behavior, identify why you did or felt something, and notice if this was a healthy or unhealthy reaction to the current situation, or a previous one that may have been triggered. Examples of personal insight include:

  • Understanding that your partner may be unconsciously triggering an early childhood memory
  • Examining your own thought process and understanding how that impacts your behavior towards your partner

Emotional Intelligence

Having emotional intelligence means being able to stay in tune and connected to yourself and your emotional process. Emotional intelligence also includes addressing the emotions that may not feel great to experience, instead of shoving them aside or numbing them out. In a relationship, when both partners have appropriate emotional intelligence, misunderstandings can be mitigated much more quickly and with higher levels of clarity, and both partners' needs can be more easily identified and subsequently met.

What Makes a Good Relationship?

A healthy relationship is one where both partners feel safe expressing their thoughts and emotions to each other so everyone's needs can be met. In a healthy relationship, arguments are resolved, not pushed away, and both partners are able to work together as a team to process issues. In a solid relationship, both partners genuinely enjoy spending time with each other and are on the same page in terms of relational goals.

Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Signs of an unhealthy relationship may include:

  • Boundaries are violated
  • Physical, emotional, sexual, and/or financial abuse
  • You feel nervous or scared to communicate your needs to your partner
  • You feel that your partner has more power in the relationship than you
  • You feel intimidated
  • You feel like you have to act perfectly around your partner
  • Fights are not resolved in healthy ways
  • You don't feel heard or understood by your partner when you get into arguments
  • You don't want to break up for fear of being alone
  • Your needs aren't being met despite sharing them with your partner
  • Your partner says they'll do one thing, but their behavior is contradictory

What Is Important in a Relationship

If you haven't had experience in a healthy relationship before, it's really important to be mindful of what a healthy partnership looks like.

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5 Most Important Things in a Healthy Relationship