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What You Should Look For In A Relationship

What You Should Look For In A Relationship

Relationships can bring great joy and meaning to our lives. But not all relationships are created equal. Some lift us up, while others drag us down. So what should we look for when evaluating a potential partner or reflecting on an existing relationship? Though by no means exhaustive, here are some key things to consider.


Compatibility encompasses shared values, similar interests and hobbies, comparable intelligence levels, and agreement on major life decisions like having kids. While opposites may attract initially, research shows that long-term couples tend to have more in common.

When core values diverge, it leads to confusion and conflict. For example, if you value adventure and your partner prefers routine, you may clash on decisions like travel and weekend plans. Shared interests and hobbies also give couples more to bond over and do together. And comparable intelligence helps ensure both partners can keep up with and challenge one another.

Finally, major life decisions like having children are dealbreakers if not agreed upon. Such divisions often lead to resentment and frustration long-term. The key is identifying compatibility early on in major areas like values, interests, intelligence, and life vision.


Open, respectful communication provides the foundation for any healthy relationship. Good communication starts with listening. Each partner should make the other feel heard and understood by genuinely listening without judgment.

Communication also requires honesty balanced with tact and diplomacy. Successfully conveying difficult truths without blaming or criticizing your partner helps build trust and intimacy. And communicating effectively means tailoring your message to your audience. The way you communicate with your partner should differ from interactions at work or with friends.

Additionally, healthy communication involves expressing both positive and negative emotions. Bottling up emotions often backfires, while skillful expression gives your partner valuable insight. Overall, nurturing mutual understanding through mindful, respectful communication helps sustain relationships long-term.


Intimacy broadly encompasses emotional and physical closeness. Emotional intimacy means feeling safe opening up to your partner about your deepest hopes, fears, and dreams. It develops by confiding in one another with empathy and support.

Physical intimacy also matters for bonding and pleasure. And physical intimacy doesn’t just mean sex. Holding hands, cuddling, massage, and other affectionate touch build closeness. But everyone differs in their intimacy needs. Ultimately, couples with differing needs must communicate openly and compromise thoughtfully.

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And remember, intimacy often flows and ebbs naturally over time. Expecting nonstop Hollywood-style passion is unrealistic for lifelong partnerships. The healthiest relationships nurture intimacy through mutual trust, generous affection, and accepting natural fluctuations.


Respect forms the foundation of all healthy relationships. At its core, respect means honoring your partner’s autonomy. You may disagree with some of your partner’s perspectives, decisions, or behaviors. But demeaning, controlling, or trying to change them erodes mutual respect. Instead, agree to disagree at times, while also supporting their freedom of choice.

Respect also means not taking your partner for granted. Regularly expressing genuine appreciation and gratitude keeps relationships vibrant. And respecting your partner means being reliable and accountable. Following through consistently on promises and commitments builds trust.

Overall, cultivating mutual respect by allowing space for individual growth while also being present and dependable gives relationships room to flourish.


Offering encouragement and assistance to your partner during good times and bad defines a supportive relationship. Emotionally supporting your partner means comforting them when they’re upset, celebrating their wins, and providing reassurance when they’re anxious or unsure.

Tangible, practical support also matters, from helping your spouse study for a certification exam to taking over more household duties when your partner’s workload temporarily spikes. And supporting your partner’s relationships with family and friends rather than isolating them also proves beneficial.

Relationships that stand the test of time share struggles and triumphs together, provide reassuring care in times of need, and offer stability amidst life’s ups and downs. Prioritizing support gives your partnership resilience.


Trust is essential for any healthy relationship, but excruciatingly difficult to rebuild once broken. There are two key components of trust. The first is fidelity and loyalty. Unless explicitly agreed upon, intimate physical and emotional relationships with others undermine trust. Infidelity shatters confidence in your partner’s commitment.

Secondly, trust requires follow-through. Repeatedly breaking promises or going back on your word damages trust. Reliability and dependability matter greatly. Trust also means assuming positive intent. Giving your partner the benefit of the doubt unless clear evidence proves otherwise preserves trust.

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Overall, trusting your partner fully without constant skepticism or the need to verify every detail fosters comfort and tranquility. Nurturing unbroken trust through loyalty, accountability, and good faith serves relationships well.

Shared Vision

The strongest relationships share an overarching vision that goes beyond each individual. Having compatible visions for your futures provides motivation during hardship and grounds to celebrate progress. A unifying vision might include dreams like starting a family, traveling the word, running a business together, or dedicating your time to service.

If one partner envisions a stable family-oriented lifestyle while the other craves constant excitement and stimulation, resentment may build over time. Reconciling competing visions often proves challenging. This highlights the need for transparency about each other’s life visions from the start before deep emotional ties form.

Relationships ruled by a higher purpose that both partners dedicate themselves to meaningfully contribute stability and pride. A shared vision gives direction and infuses daily choices with deeper significance.


Laughter serves as a reliable indicator of healthy relationships. Sharing humor and laughter signifies comfort, fun, and affection between partners. Willingness to be playful and silly with each other without inhibition or judgment shows vulnerability and trust.

Humor also defuses disagreements and tension. Using laughter and amusement to navigate conflicts demonstrates emotional intelligence by injecting lightness into potentially charged situations. And laughing about the comedy inherent in the ups and downs of life together bolsters resilience.

In strong relationships, inside jokes and playful banter give vibrancy to daily interactions. So don’t underestimate the bonding power of shared laughter and amusement, especially during difficult times.


Balancing give and take within relationships proves critical. Equity involves mutually meeting each other’s needs despite varied contributions. Partners should nurture awareness of what the other person requires to feel cared for and satisfied in the relationship.

Often partners give in different ways. For example, one partner may contribute more financially while the other provides most emotional support and keeps domestic responsibilities running smoothly. Both partners should feel their contributions, though differing in nature, balance out.

Inequities often spark resentment and disconnection. Perceived imbalance where one partner continually accommodates the other without reciprocation breeds toxicity over time. Striving for equity with open communication and renegotiation around shifting needs brings stability.

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Conflict Resolution

Disagreements and conflict arise in even the healthiest relationships. But how couples navigate differences frequently determines long-term outcomes. Certain conflict resolution patterns like criticism or contempt often signal relationships in distress.

Instead, relationships should develop skills for conflict resolution focused on mutual understanding. Taking timeouts when emotions escalate, acknowledging valid points from both sides, seeking compromises that meet core needs, and forgiving mistakes boost resilience.

Rather than battle for dominance where one partner “wins” at the expense of the other’s dignity, prioritize “us vs the problem” cooperation. Constructive conflict resolution provides a framework to weather unavoidable bumps in relationships.


While passion inevitably fluctuates in long-term relationships, sustaining some degree of romantic and sexual vitality between partners proves important for satisfaction. Passion serves as the initial attractor early on but often diminishes over time as familiarity grows.

But couples can actively nurture passion through carving out regular couple time focused solely on one another. Prioritizing intimacy free from distractions, trying new adventures together, expressing affection generously, and cheering each other’s progress restores excitement.

Settling into total complacency and neglecting fundamental romantic needs often breeds resentment and temptation. Maintaining passion ultimately requires intentionality, creativity and commitment as the thrills of new love fade. A relationship’s vibrancy depends on it.


Evaluating relationships based on the factors above provides clarity on strengths versus areas for growth. Every couple possesses a unique mix of fulfillment across these dimensions. No partnership proves perfect.

But the healthiest relationships actively nurture compatibility, robust communication, intimacy, respect, support, trust, a shared vision, laughter, equity, constructive conflict resolution, and passion.

Prioritizing development in the areas above gives relationships the best chance at thriving long-term. Compromising or neglecting many of these foundational components risks decay.

And remembering that lasting love grows over time through dedication, vulnerability and grace helps set reasonable expectations. Applying insights from research can guide us toward fulfilling, meaningful partnerships that enrich our lives daily and continue blossoming over decades.

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