More than 50 percent of marriages end in divorce due to various reasons, including
incompatibility, betrayal, substance abuse, attachment problems, faulty communication. Many people lacked role models of healthy long-term love and commitment growing up. When partners are committed to creating a healthy marriage, old wounds can be healed, and new ways of relating can be learned.
The following are traits of healthy and happy couples. Partners:
• have “come to terms” with their past and are able to fully invest in the
• are able to balance togetherness and autonomy, dependence and
• can trust and rely on one another; be a “secure base” for each other.
• have good communication and problem-solving skills; are respectful
and constructive when talking about conflicts and disagreements.
• do not become defensive, angry, critical, or aggressive when their
partner shares feelings or gives feedback; apologize for wrongdoings.
• share power and control; are a partnership between equals.
• meet one another’s needs for security, support, affection, and love.
• both take responsibility for their own part in problems and solutions:
no blaming, avoiding, or stonewalling.
• keep the relationship alive, vital, and a priority; spend time, have fun,
show love regularly.
• use self-control; do not take out stress and frustration on their partner.
• resolve problems; continue to repair grievances and wounds so hurts
do not grow into big resentments.
• adapt successfully to changes and challenges, such as having children;
form a united team in raising children
• are both comfortable with closeness; do not take part in destructive
dynamics, such as “pursue–distance” pattern.
• share basic values, interests, and moral codes of behavior.
Having a secure adult intimate relationship is associated with emotional and physical health, including higher self-esteem,confidence,optimistic beliefs,support,trust,and stress-management abilities, and lower levels of anxiety,depression and medical conditions.
This blog item was written by Dr. Terry Levy, who runs Evergreen Psychotherapy Center, along with Michael Orlans. They are known together as the Attachment Experts who specialize in attachment treatment for attachment disorder and trauma, and they welcome your questions about how to foster and maintain a healthy marriage.