Marriage

Three Basic Signs Of A Healthy Marriage

healthy marriage

When emergency medical personnel attend an unresponsive patient, they’re not much concerned with health indicators such as body mass index, hair/skin/nail condition, or muscle strength and flexibility. They quickly check the basic signs of life: pulse, respiration, and reflexes. Because if those aren’t present, there’s little sense setting an obviously broken leg.

In a similar way – granted, without the whole life and death immediacy thing – there are three basic signs of a healthy marriage. Nurturing the vitality of these few is the necessary foundation for a flourishing marriage in other areas. Finances and problematic in-laws causing a strain on your marriage? Take heart. Although those are real and important issues, they’re not first concerns. Start with these marital pulse points:

Finances and problematic in-laws causing a strain on your marriage? Take heart. Although those are real and important issues, they’re not first concerns. Start with these marital pulse points:

Check the pulse of your conversation.

Do you and your spouse speak respectfully to each other; and do you speak respectfully about them to other people? One of my dear friends had a profound religious conversion several years into her marriage. Her husband, to this day, has not; and it’s created an ever-growing chasm between their world-views and values. But I would classify them as one of the most compatible and stable couples I know. When they are together, they treat one another with affection, consideration, and dignity. And behind his back, my friend – although honest about their situation, still speaks of her husband like he’s the greatest thing since they put frosting inside

One of my dear friends had a profound religious conversion several years into her marriage. Her husband, to this day, has not; and it’s created an ever-growing chasm between their world-views and values. But I would classify them as one of the most compatible and stable couples I know. When they are together, they treat one another with affection, consideration, and dignity. And behind his back, my friend – although honest about their situation, still speaks of her husband like he’s the greatest thing since they put frosting inside cake and called it a Twinkie.

She could focus on the one glaring thing her husband is not, but she chooses to focus on and appreciate the many great qualities he has. She respects him, he loves her for it, and their marriage thrives in spite of the weight of their issue.

Check the regularity of time spent together sharing interests.

In my experience, it’s a happy fluke when couples have a sustained passion for the same activities. They may have met in a local running club, but one developed a chronic knee problem. Now that one chalk paints every stick of wood they can get their hands on while their partner trains for marathons. Or maybe a snow skiing enthusiast up and marries a science fiction nerd. The conflicting combinations are as endless as stink bugs in September.

You may never share your husband’s love of golf, but do you try? Even if you only ride along in the golf cart or watch PGA events on television, your willingness to participate in their interest demonstrates a capacity for personal sacrifice crucial to a healthy marriage. It’s not an earth-shattering sacrifice, but it doesn’t have to be. Doing what you wouldn’t otherwise choose to do for the sake of your partner’s happiness is what love looks like in action. Your partner knows that. Love that’s only talk is no love at all.

Check the strength of your kisses.

This is a less obvious sign than the previous two, but just as revealing. You see, a regular sexual relationship is not necessarily a sign of a healthy marriage. Consistent sexual engagement may be merely a tool a couple uses for selfish physical satisfaction. And if you’re not aware that’s what your sex life has digressed to, the kissing will tell. It’s a pretty accurate barometer of intimacy.A regular sexual relationship is not necessarily a sign of a healthy marriage. Click To Tweet

There’s a reason a couple of 17-year olds will make out like, well, kids. They have no baggage between them. The more emotional luggage (unresolved conflicts and disappointments) a couple has between them, the less intimate and vulnerable they’re willing to be with one another. It shows up in kisses with a temperature inversely related to quantity. Less heat with more baggage. Cool, perfunctory kisses are always a sign of trouble.

If your marriage is characterized by respect, self-sacrifice, and good kissing, it’s already healthy enough to sort out the lesser marital issues you face. But if you’ve found one or more of these pulse points weak or non-existent, I encourage you to start some marital CPR. Marriage is not a commodity. Don’t leave it to die.

healthy marriage

  • very interesting read! i agree with the first two for sure! while my husband and I aren’t constantly making out, we have an incredibly strong marriage. We do our love by doing things for each other and show affection a lot by touch because that’s our love language 🙂

    • Wife Sense

      Love to hear of incredibly strong marriages! Didn’t mean to imply there’s constant making out in a healthy marriage, but that when you do kiss, it isn’t perfunctory. 😉

  • Lisa

    Good tips 🙂 My husband believes hugging for 60 seconds a day keeps our marriage strong. Just like kisses, sometimes our “emotional baggage” is heavier and I don’t want to hug, but it does make things better.

    • Wife Sense

      Your husband’s not wrong, Lisa. ?

  • Christine Goulbourne

    I think these points are excellent ones. Checking how often we talk and how we talk about one another is important.

  • These are such great points. I am getting married next year and respect is a huge thing in both a relationships and marriage.