What Makes Relationships Healthy? 12 Signs to Look For

We're breaking down the 12 key qualities that make relationships healthy so you can always strive for relationships that lift you up.

It's no secret that healthy relationships are key to a healthy life.

For this reason, you've probably gotten pretty good at spotting so-called "red flags" in bad relationships.

But here's the thing: "Green flags" are just as important.

In order to pursue and maintain healthy relationships, we have to know what positive qualities to look for.

In this article, we'll explain 12 key signs of a healthy relationships, why they matter, and how to maintain them when you're in one.

What Makes Relationships Healthy: 12 Signs

When every relationship is so different, how do you know you're actually in a good one?

These 12 qualities are a pretty solid indication you've found yourself a healthy relationship.

1. Interdependence

Interdependence is all about maintaining a balance between your independence and being an active participant in the relationship.

Interdependent partners rely on each other for love and support, while also still maintaining a sense of autonomy and independence outside the relationship.

2. Communication

Another thing that makes relationships healthy? Open communication.

In healthy relationships, partners comfortably share their feelings with each other, positive and negative.

3. Respect

In healthy relationships, partners treat each other with a high level of respect.

This means staying attuned to your partner's needs, listening to their point of view, and validating their feelings.

4. Trust

Relationships that are healthy require strong trust in your partner.

Insecurity in relationships can cause jealousy, control issues, and lack of boundaries that make a relationship turn toxic. You should feel comfortable seeing the best in your partner,  taking their word, and giving them reasonable freedom without suspicion.

5. Support

Another key quality that makes relationships healthy is mutual support.

It's important to stick by your partner's side through difficult times, as well as the good ones! Support your partner by taking interest in their interests, celebrating their successes, and being there for them through their struggles.

6. Honesty

Honesty is another important part of what makes relationships healthy.

This means being honest even when it's difficult - and trusting that your partner will listen with empathy, no matter what it is.

7. Equality

Partners in healthy relationships treat each other equally.

Neither partner should be solely responsible for making decisions in the relationship, or control the other's behaviors. This way, each party feels heard and has a say in the relationship trajectory.

8. Fun

Perhaps the most important thing that makes relationships healthy?

Having fun together!

Even though difficult times are inevitable, relationships should maintain a sense of joy and fun. Be sure to enjoy shared activities together, laugh, and have a good time.

9. Empathy

Empathy is a necessary component of healthy relationships.

This means taking the time to understand your partner's point of view and what they might be feeling, even when you don't immediately understand them. In times of conflict, it's also important to treat yourself with empathy and validating your own feelings too.

Learn more about treating yourself with empathy.

10. Gratitude

Another important sign of a healthy relationship is open expression of gratitude.

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that when it comes to gratitude, it takes two to tango: highest relationship satisfaction was found in couples who both express gratitude, whereas one less expressive partner can act as a weak link.

Make sure to take the time to remind your partner how much you appreciate them!

11. Boundaries

While it may be tempting to think that the strongest relationships require extreme levels of closeness, part of what makes relationships healthy is setting boundaries.

In healthy relationship, both parties should be comfortable expressing their needs and setting boundaries where they see fit.

12. Healthy Conflict

Healthy relationships don't have to be perfect. In fact, conflict is an inevitable and productive part of any relationship.

Communicate directly with your partner to address issues that arise, instead of sweeping things under the rug.

Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships

Ok, so you're in a healthy relationship... How do you make sure that it stays that way?

Here are a few important things to keep in mind:

1. Keep an Open Door

Remember that communication and healthy conflict we talked about?

Turns out, those behaviors are a sure fire way to maintain your healthy relationships, too.

Remember, no relationship is going to be perfect. The most important thing is that you and your partner can work through challenges together in a respectful way.

If you notice a negative change in your relationship, don't shy away from bringing it up respectfully! This way, you avoid pent-up resentment and your partner can come to a compromise you're both happy with instead.

2. Work on Yourself

In order for a healthy relationship with another person to work, both parties need to maintain healthy relationships with themselves.

According to research conducted by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, individuals with lower self esteem are more likely to feel threatened by their partners and to see their relationships as black and white.

High self-esteem makes you confident in your ability to stand on your own - meaning you stay in your relationships by choice.

Think your relationship with yourself might need some work? Try daily journaling with a journaling app like Jour. Our endless supply of personalized journal prompts can aid you in self-discovery, work through negative thoughts, boost your confidence, and more!

Learn more about the scientifically proven health benefits of journaling. ->

Happy & Healthy

Though we spend a lot of time talking about how to recognize toxic relationships, it's also important to be able to recognize what makes relationships healthy.

In healthy relationships, both partners maintain high standards of respect, trust, honesty, empathy, gratitude, fun, and trust.

To maintain healthy relationships, be sure to keep an open line of communication with your partner, and take care of your relationship with yourself.

And any time you're ready to make time for a little self-love? The Jour app is here for you, with daily journal prompts you can use right on your phone any time, anywhere!