What is a “Healthy” Marriage?


Some may have incorrect assumptions about what makes for a healthy marriage, especially those who haven’t grown up seeing many healthy marriages. Although every couple’s relationship dynamics are a little different, there are characteristics that are commonly found in healthy relationships. The following ten characteristics of a healthy marriage come from the respected research organization Child Trends.

What is a “Healthy” Marriage

Commitment. Spouses in healthy marriages are committed to each other. They are dedicated to the partnership and maintain a long-term perspective so that short-term problems don’t threaten the marriage.

Satisfaction. In healthy marriages, both individuals are satisfied.  About 90% of married people say they are satisfied with their marriage. This is not because their marriages are void of problems, but rather because both spouses are committed to persevering through both good and difficult situations.

Good Communication. Using clear communication to solve problems is one of the strongest indicators of healthy relationships.

Effective Conflict Resolution. Individuals who have established healthy marriages are able to resolve conflict effectively.  Spouses who effectively overcome stress and conflict are able to avoid criticism, contempt, and defensiveness from their marriages.

Lack of Violence and Abuse.  In healthy marriages, spouses never use aggression or violence to gain control over each other.  This includes, but is not limited to, verbal, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. They also never abuse or maltreat their children.

Fidelity or Faithfulness.  In healthy marriages, spouses are sexually and emotionally faithful to each other. On the other hand, infidelity is one of the most common causes of divorce.

Intimacy and Emotional Support. Spouses who are intimate, emotionally supportive, trusting, and caring have healthy marriages.

Friendship and Spending Time Together. In healthy marriages, spouses act like best friends and spend quality time together.  Couples often have different hobbies, but a key indicator of a healthy marriage is that couples enjoy each other’s company and have a respect for one another.

Commitment to Children.  Spouses who are both committed to their children tend to enjoy more enriching marriages.

Duration and Legal Status. Spouses in healthy marriages believe in the permanence of their relationship. They are more likely to stay together when faced with difficult life circumstances.

Find the research support here.