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Do You Have a Healthy Relationship?

The majority of the population will marry at some point in their lives, making it important to understand what a healthy dating and marriage relationship is.  Successful marriages can provide many benefits, including increased economic, physical, mental, and emotional well being.  There are significant potential costs associated with divorce, such as stress, depression and economic insecurity.  High divorce rates may reflect a growing emphasis on personal freedom and self-fulfillment and a dwindling commitment to long-term relationships.heart with a man and a woman sitting on a scale

Healthy relationships develop during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood can provide the building blocks for healthy adult marriage relationships.  Healthy dating relationships, for the most part, turn in to healthy marriages.  If a child grows up in a home with trust issues, they are more likely to develop relationships in the future that experiences the same problem.

Defining a Healthy Romantic Relationship

Defining what a healthy romantic relationship is can be challenging.  Knowing where you stand and what needs to be worked on is key for a relationship to flourish and become long-lasting.

  • two hands cradling a heartHealthy Marriage– A stable and satisfying marriage relationship built upon strong friendship that is safe, secure, loving, passionate, committed, respectful and trusting. Characterized by an ability to negotiate differences and resolve conflict, with the absence of domestic violence.
  • Healthy Dating– A stable and satisfying relationship built upon varying levels of friendship, safety, security, love, passion, commitment, respect, and trust.  Characterized by an ability to negotiate differences and resolve conflict, with the absence of domestic violence.
  • Marital/Relationship Quality- A subjective perceptual evaluation of the strength of a couple’s friendship.
  • Marital/Relationship Stability– A subjective perceptual evaluation of whether or not the marriage or relationship will remain intact or dissolve.
  • Marital/Relationship Satisfaction– A subjective perceptual evaluation of levels of well-being (satisfaction and happiness) in a couples relationship or marriage.

Evaluating Your Relationship

You can easily assess how healthy your dating or marriage relationship is by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is my dating/marriage relationship stable (not likely to dissolve)?collage of words that define a healthy relationship
  • Am i generally satisfied and happy with my dating/marriage relationship?
  • Do we have a strong friendship?
  • Do I feel safe with this person?
  • Does this person help me feel secure in who I am and in our relationship?
  • Are we committed to each other and our relationship for the long-term?
  • Do we consistently show each other respect?
  • Can we trust each other?
    • Can we depend on each other?  Are we available for each other?  Are we responsive and supportive of each other?  Do we resolve differences and conflict in a constructive manner?  Do we have a positive view of the future of the relationship?
  • Is there a lot of love expressed in our relationship?
  • Does passion play a role in our relationship?
  • Is an kind of psychological, sexual, or physical abuse present in our relationship?

If you answered yes to the last question, it is an indicator that your relationship is not healthy and you may need assistance right away.  A good starting point for finding help is your local domestic violence/abuse shelter and/or a qualified therapist.  Otherwise, count how many yes and no answers you have to see where you are at in your relationship, and what areas need work. The goal is to answer all of these questions with a yes, with the exception of the last question.  No relationship is 100% perfect, but a healthy relationship is about trying to achieve it.

Developing and maintaining healthy dating relationships can lead to developing and maintaining healthy marriage relationships.  Understanding what healthy romantic relationships look like is a critical first step toward being able to enjoy the benefits of quality, stable, and satisfying marriage relationships.


Jana Hart- Extension Agent- FCS/4-H