The Most Effective Habits Of Healthy Couples

The opening line of ‘Anna Karenina’ famously tells us that all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Get the best personal growth content straight to your inbox

We ♥ your privacy.

Like Personal Growth on Facebook

This may or may not be true of families, but it’s certainly true of couples. Happy and healthy couples tend to share some key characteristics that allow them to endure arguments, hardships, and separations so that their relationship will survive the test of time – without making them wish that it hadn’t.

Communicate The Good . . .

People in healthy relationships don’t have to wonder whether their partners love them, because their partners say it all the time. When the initial fires of your relationship have died down, it’s easy to forget to say, “I love you” or to thank your partner for the little things he does, or to tell her that she’s beautiful and intelligent and kind. Say it often, and mean it.

. . . And The Bad

Your partner is not a mind reader, and healthy couples know this. If your partner does something that upsets you, don’t let it fester. Of course, you don’t want to address the issue by nagging and criticizing, but dealing with a problem in a gentle and constructive way can work wonders for your relationship.

Letting your partner in on problems in your life isn’t limited to the times when your partner is causing those problems. If you’re stressed because of a problem at work or a fight with a friend, let your partner know so they don’t have to guess why you’re so upset. It will prevent future fights and tension because they won’t have to wonder whether they’re doing something to upset you.


This goes hand in hand with communicating the good. Healthy couples remind one another that they’re loved and appreciated, whether through a word or a thoughtful “just because I love you” present.


It’s obvious, but it’s true. Healthy couples respect one another. They respect each other’s feelings by refusing to criticize or call names. They respect each other’s character by not talking negatively about their partner behind his or her back.

They respect each other’s time, not expecting the other person to drop everything for a trivial reason. They respect each other’s thoughts and opinions by not interrupting or dominating the conversation. You get the idea. There are a hundred ways to show respect and just as many ways to inadvertently tell your partner that you don’t respect them.

Share Quality Time

How you spend time with your partner is more important than the amount of time you have. Healthy couples try to spend some time each day to focus entirely on each other; there is a huge difference between cuddling on the couch talking about your day and sitting on opposite ends of the couch watching TV.

That doesn’t mean that watching TV together is bad, but it shouldn’t be all you do. If you’re too busy to spend an hour together, even five minutes of undivided attention can help you to connect.

Spend Time Apart

It seems contradictory that time apart would lead to a stronger relationship, but it’s true. If you spend too much time together, you risk co-dependence; frankly, you also risk getting bored. If you spend all your time together, you won’t have much to talk about, and you’re going to get annoyed with each other’s foibles.

There is no better way to turn someone’s annoying habit into something apocalyptically irritating than to expose yourself to it constantly. Spending time apart gives you a break from one another and helps you to nurture the parts of your personality that don’t quite gel with your partner, such as the passion for music that your tone-deaf girlfriend just doesn’t understand.

Remember Why You Fell In Love

Let’s face it; there are always going to be moments when you don’t like your partner. You’re going to want to throttle them for leaving dirty socks all over the house or for singing off-key or for constantly forgetting your mother’s name.

Maybe you’re just going to have a “grass is always greener” moment where you wonder what things would have been like if you’d ended up with a different person. That’s only human, but healthy couples know not to dwell on it. Instead of constantly sulking over their partner’s negative traits, they take a deep breath and think about the things that made them fall in love in the first place.

Of course, if the thing that makes you want to throttle your partner is a real problem – she constantly belittles you, or he interrupts so much that you never get a word in edgewise – this falls under “communicate the bad.” Genuine issues need to be addressed and not wished away. But if it’s the kind of minor, irritating habit that everyone has, get over it.

Be Physically Intimate

Let’s get scientific for a moment. Feelings of affection, trust, and social bonding are triggered when your brain releases oxytocin – the “cuddle hormone”. The best way for couples to get a huge burst of oxytocin, by far, is sex. A healthy and regular sex life actually makes you feel more in love with your partner and may increase feelings of trust and generosity.

However, if you have a low sex drive or haven’t reached that stage of your relationship yet, don’t worry. Kissing and cuddling can release oxytocin as well, so you can enjoy its benefits even if you aren’t in the mood for anything too exciting. Healthy couples make sure that the physical component of their relationship isn’t left by the wayside; a 2015 study showed that the happiest couples have sex about once a week.

Don’t Fight To Win

Arguments happen, especially when you’re communicating the bad and your partner doesn’t want to hear it. That’s okay, as long as you go into them with the right mindset. Your goal is to hear your partner’s side of the story and to fix the part of your relationship that’s gone astray, not to set off the kind of perfect zinger you’d use in an Internet flame war.

That means that you might have to give a little, too. Healthy couples understand that neither one of them wins an argument; either they both win it together by coming out a stronger and happier couple or they both lose by sowing the seeds of anger and resentment or by sweeping a festering problem back under the rug.

Be Willing To Give

Pin ItSometimes, relationships are a pure 50-50 give-and-take. Other times, one person ends up putting in more than the other for a few months before things even out again. Healthy couples understand that sometimes they have to give without expecting anything in return.

You don’t want to be a doormat; if your partner constantly takes advantage of your generosity, your relationship certainly is not healthy, but you don’t want to keep up a running mental tally of how much you martyred yourself for your boyfriend when he was out of work and depressed. Assume he’ll pay it back eventually; then let it go.

Write For Us!

What Do You Think? Share Your Comments Below

What the * means. is here to educate, inspire and contribute to the personal growth of humanity.
In order for to remain free to use, we may include links that compensate the site. The links will always be based on heart-centered intentions that will contribute to supporting the work we do, therefore serving your personal growth. We greatly appreciate your support.