Relationships, even the best of them, are never easy. A great relationship isn’t about having similar hobbies or tastes in music, it’s about being able to navigate your way through life’s ups and downs, respect each other’s differences and still come out the other side as a team. It’s easy to talk about what makes for a bad relationship but sometimes it’s also important to highlight what makes a great relationship so we can recognise it when we’re in one. There’s no “perfect match” for us and sometimes it’s perfectly normal to question your relationship or even compare it to other relationships around you, so here are some visible signs that you’re in a great one:
You can communicate
Being able to communicate with each other is absolutely key. I’m not talking about just good conversation or chatting about your favourite TV shows. I’m talking about being able to share your hopes, fears and everything in between, without fear of what the other person might think. If you can speak your mind and be honest with each other then you know you’re onto something great. The best couples aren’t ones who agree all the time, they’re the ones who can communicate how they feel.
You laugh and experience new things together
What would life be without laughter? If you can adventure with your partner, experience new things together and be each other’s best friends, you’re already half way there. Couples who share a sense of humour and can generally share the same outlook on most situations are generally happier couples.
You fight, but you can resolve things
Fighting and disagreements in relationships are bound to happen. In fact numerous scientific studies show that arguments are a healthy part of relationships and show that we care about each other. By arguing we actually help to build intimacy, increase trust, share our real thoughts and acknowledge that we are human. Once we have everything out in the open it actually brings us closer together.
A complete lack of arguing can be a sign that we are bottling things up and trying to gloss over things in order to keep up the pretence of a happy relationship. It can indicate that one or both people are hiding their feelings and are not really communicating on a deeper level. This often happens when one partner is more dominant in the relationship and the other goes along with things just to keep the peace.
The key to a great relationship is how you can resolve these arguments. In a bad relationship the arguing will involve name calling, insults and even severe contempt for each other. The other person becomes your arch enemy.
In a great relationship you might be annoyed or disagree with each other, but the foundation is still one of love and admiration for each other. Instead of being mad at each other for days and harbouring bad feelings, you can quickly resolve things the same day within a few hours. If you find yourself listening to your partner when they are upset and trying to repair things, then this is a good sign.
You make joint decisions
A sign of a really strong relationship is if you see yourselves as team mates. Whenever you make a decision about something, no matter how big or small, you consult each other first. If your man/woman asks your opinion on something, it’s a sign that they really value your thoughts as much as their own. It could be anything from choosing what colour to paint the walls to deciding what school to send your children to. Or perhaps something as small as selecting what restaurant to go to for dinner. It doesn’t mean they have to ask your permission for everything, but rather that they’ll take on board your thoughts.
You support each others goals and passions
Each partner in a relationship is bound to have their own career goals and hobbies. Couples who stay together tend to want the best for each other and will actively encourage or help their partner to realise their potential. For example, say you love singing and your partner gushes to their friends that you have a brilliant voice. Perhaps they even encourage you to sing or take up lessons. That’s a supportive partner. Or perhaps your partner isn’t sure of their career or what they want to do, so you encourage them to find their path. Perhaps you help them with a new project or to figure out what they’re good at. That’s also being supportive. More negative responses involve being passive, or even actively putting someone down when they achieve something good.
Let’s take an example. Your partner gets a new job.
A healthy response would be: “I am so happy for you! I knew you could do it!”
A healthy but more passive response: “Well done.”
A negative response would be something more selfish like: “Does that mean you’ll have less time to spend with me?”
or even worse, to completely ignore what the person said and proceed to talk about yourself:
“Oh that’s great but did I tell you what happened to me today?”
You trust each other
Trust is an important element of any relationship. Feeling like your partner would lie or cheat is only going to result in insecurity. If you can speak to each other honestly, have no secrets and can tell each other everything, you’re onto a winner.
You are able to do things independently
Say your partner says, “I’m going to go for lunch tomorrow – it’s more of a girls/guys only thing, hope that’s OK”. If you’re happy getting on with your own things and having space apart from each other, then this shouldn’t be a problem. If you wish to go on a trip away with your girlfriends/guy friends and your partner is cool with it, it shows that you can both do your own thing but still come back to each other at the end of the day.
You miss them when you’re a part
It sounds obvious, but do you miss your partner when you’re apart? Do you look forward to seeing from them or speaking to them? These are all great signs that you’re better when you’re together.