Characteristics of healthy relationships

The research is mounting supporting the value of being in a healthy relationship. Securely attached couples have more trust, more commitment, more satisfaction, more support-seeking, more support-giving, more intimacy, less aggression, and more attuned care-giving to name a few. Additional individual benefits include living longer, wounds healing faster, having less physical and psychological illnesses, and gaining more joy from life.

It was once believed that one needed to “get their own life” in order before they could successfully be in a relationship. This is no longer a widely supported belief in the field of psychology and has never had any empirical support. In other words, there has never been any research conducted that actually validates this stance.

Today, with the combined understanding of Neuroscience, Couple Therapy, Trauma work and Attachment Theory, it is becoming more and more accepted that in order for a person to reach their fullest potential and clearest sense-of-self, one needs to have secure attachment figures in their lives. It is through these secure attachments to one’s attachment figures, the more positive, coherent and articulated one’s sense-of-self is. In fact, the more connected you are to the key people in your life, the more separate, differentiated, individuated you are…not less.

Again, the more positive, coherent and articulated your sense-of-self is comes from being securely connected to the people that matter the most in your life.

As for a relationship, the more securely connect the couple, the more benefits are gained. For example, research clearly shows that the couples with a strong bond are better able to deal with incompatibilities easier, agree to disagree more, are less critical, defensive and contemptuous of each other, have more sex, and solve problems easier, just to name a few. Basically, on any scale measuring relationship satisfaction, couples who have stronger emotional bonds score higher.