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Don't Be the Latest Statistic!  5 Keys for a Healthy Relationship

Contrary to what you might feel, it’s not too late to save your relationship!

If you're struggling in your relationship, it might be too big of a stretch to remember that honeymoon feeling. Those blissful feelings are often mowed over by conflicts, complaining, and disagreements. Many couples don’t understand why the strife continues and often feel helpless to stop the vicious cycle. So, unfortunately, they keep digging the hole deeper, having the same arguments over and over.

Some wonder, “Have I fallen out of love?” or "Why am I failing at love?" Others wonder if they're the only ones with marital problems. While still others, isolate themselves to protect their raw hearts as the couple lives parallel lives lacking true connection.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A married couple having an argument.Table of Contents: Skip to what speaks to you!
Do All Relationships Have Problems?
The Leading Causes of Divorce
Keys for Building a Strong and Healthy Relationship
KEY #1: Focus on Your Own Healing and Self-Awareness
Common Relationship Problems Stemming from Past Experiences
KEY #2: Set Healthy Boundaries
What Is a Relationship Boundary?
Examples of Relationship Boundaries
KEY #3: Communicate Openly and Honestly
Ways to Reignite Communication in Your Relationship
KEY #4: Create a list of why you fell in love with your partner
KEY #5: Make spending quality time together your utmost priority.
Recap of Relationship Tips
Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Relationships Have Problems?

It's natural to feel like you're the only one with relationship problems.

You're not.

You'll see by the latest statistics that you're not alone. However, what most people never tell you before you marry is just how much work building a healthy relationship is!

Challenges and problems are a part of life. And if we see them as opportunities to grow and love more deeply, we build muscles for success.

We understand how disheartening strife in a relationship can be, and we’re here to help.

You don’t want to postpone getting support or learning new skills. So, we’ve created a list of our best tips to give you a fresh start and turn your relationship into a success story.

The Leading Causes of Divorce

If these difficulties or unresolved feelings are left unchecked, an unhappy relationship can devolve into a break-up or divorce. While multiple factors weigh into a couple separating, the leading causes for divorce are infidelity, arguing, infertility, and lack of commitment.

Recent statistics reveal an estimated 30% of couples divorced in 2022.

Keys for Building a Strong and Healthy Relationship

Your relationship can thrive and last a lifetime with the right actions and mindset. After all, countless couples revive and reignite their passion for one another by taking the necessary steps toward making their relationship healthier.

Here are some actionable tips for maintaining a healthy relationship:

  • Focus on your own inner healing and self-awareness.
  • Set healthy boundaries and respect your partner’s boundaries.
  • Communicate openly and honestly.
  • Make a list of why you fell in love with your partner.
  • Make quality time as a couple your utmost priority.

STEP ONE: Focus on yourself.


Relationship Key #1 - Focus on Your Own Healing and Self-Awareness

Past experiences shape us more than we often realize. Experiencing insecure attachment styles growing up or childhood trauma can dramatically affect how you interact in a love relationship. Unresolved issues can cause relationship problems unless these experiences are healed and integrated.

And even if your childhood was happy, there can be experiences as a young adult that shaped you and have caused you to put up your guard. It is important to understand what issues may be affecting your relationship.

Common Relationship Problems Stemming from Past Influences

A person might be:
  • hesitant to share their opinions openly because they were laughed at in school.
  • afraid to have difficult conversations with their partner because they were taught to "keep the peace."
  • feel like they're failing when they argue with their spouse because they never saw their parents argue or fight growing up.
  • a people-pleaser and believe it's their job to make everyone happy but they silently resent giving up their needs.
  • fearful of committing because their last relationship ended poorly.
  • jealous and suspect their partner of cheating because a past partner was unfaithful.
  • anxious to express feelings because they were repeatedly told they were “too emotional” when young.

There are so many ways our past can contribute to relationship challenges.

And sometimes, these painful experiences put us in a double bind of limiting beliefs that prevent us from choosing to love

However, once you recognize the tender places, you can consciously and compassionately integrate those experiences. As self-awareness grows so does your capacity to be true to yourself while loving your partner.

Understanding yourself sheds light on hurting. As you learn to accept and love yourself more, this shift will dramatically affect your relationship.

Related Reading: If You Want a Successful Marriage, Increase Self-Mastery

Relationship Key #2 -  Set Healthy Boundaries to Care for Yourself—and  Respect Your Partner's Boundaries, Too!

Focusing on yourself might be just what you need!

A pretty good measuring stick is our boundaries. If we have unhealthy boundaries, it often translates to being unhappy in a relationship.

Consider setting better boundaries—it’s a great place to start.

What Is a Relationship Boundary?

A boundary is a line separating where something starts and ends. In relationships, a boundary refers to where your autonomy boundary is and what you need to be at your best. The boundary limits determine what’s acceptable and unacceptable in your relationship.

Without creating (and maintaining) healthy boundaries, you may find yourself feeling disrespected or misunderstood. Without clear borders, the other person will not know how you want to be treated and may show you disrespect without you asserting yourself. Poor boundaries are often troublesome when there is unhappiness in a marriage.

Your partner may insist on working long hours into the evening and on weekends. Work-life balance is an ongoing juggle, but this work schedule is putting a strain on your relationship.

The first step is a conversation letting your partner know you miss them. Stating that the long work hours seem to be creating more tension; you’ve been arguing as a couple more than usual.

The next step is setting a work limit that is agreeable to both of you so that you have time as a couple. Brainstorm together ways to find a balance so your partner can get their work done while reserving time for your relationship.

Healthy relationships are sustained through mutual respect for each other’s boundaries. (This means that your partner’s boundaries should also be honored.)

Related Reading:Do You Want a Happy Relationship? Develop Healthy Boundaries.”

Below are some examples of areas that usually need boundaries in a relationship. Review them and see which ones may relate to your needs, then embrace them! The goal is for both you and your partner to have your needs met. Don't fall into the trap of compromise!

Examples of Relationship Boundaries

Carve alone time.

Even a person who is the life of the party needs time alone!

If you’re introverted, you may need more time by yourself than an extroverted partner. However, everyone can benefit from a walk alone in nature or a quiet environment to unwind after a long day.

Discern what you need to be at your best and let your partner know. Self-care is an integral part of building a happy relationship.

Make sure to schedule alone time and self-care; then, practice patience with your partner’s need for me-time, too.

Upset woman having intimacy problems with a man.Create safety for physical Intimacy.

Feeling safe and comfortable with each other is paramount for a close intimate life. Find times for both of you that work to make closeness a priority; however, remember to respect when your partner says no.

Pursue agreement on financial limits and goals.

Discussing money with your partner can feel stressful, especially if either of your families considers financial discussions taboo. However, it’s critical to recognize what the limits are for spending, saving, and budgeting. Being on the same page as a couple with financial habits and goals is vital.

Don't let finances become a wedge in your relationship!

58% of couples report arguing and intense conflict around money; 37% of couples divorce due to financial problems. Source: Forbes Advisor

Relationship Key #3 - Communicate openly and honestly.

Healthy communication is key to maintaining a healthy relationship. Communication takes place either directly or indirectly. When difficulties arise, regardless of how awkward, tense, or angry it may make you or your partner feel, resolving differences is essential.


Take a look at these statistics below.

Arguing is one of the leading causes of divorce.

One source claimed that 67.5% of marriages ended due to communication problems.

Beat the statistics!

It’s no surprise that it is important to have healthy communication in marriage!

Communication is the lifeblood of every relationship. And often a life jacket for couples struggling with strife.

Some conflicts can be resolved—and arguments avoided—-if both partners actively communicate what’s working and not working for them. It is up to you both to communicate honestly—with vulnerability and patience.

In a relationship, communication is far more than just exchanging logistics or a brief conversation about the kids. Let’s consider a broad sweep of communication and all its many purposes:

  • Sharing our deeper thoughts with each other—or not!
  • Smiling and appreciating your partner—or scowling and criticizing.
  • Sharing a funny story that happened at work—or griping about what went wrong at work.
  • Expressing affection to your partner—or complaining how they never show you affection.
  • Complimenting your partner on how they look or the scrumptious dinner they made—or barely noticing or taking them for granted.
  • Carving quality time together—or making work, friends, exercise, and extended family MORE important.

When communication is lacking in a relationship, it can show in myriad ways.

You may misinterpret your partner's feelings and avoid talking to them altogether. Along with that hurdle, you may also become defensive or refuse to compromise.

Couples who fail to communicate with each other when upset tend to take out their feelings indirectly, act overly critical, or give their partner the silent treatment.

Stonewalling is another common trait in unhealthy relationships. So much so that Dr. John Gottman considers it one of the main reasons for the downfall of a relationship.

Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the conversation, usually closing themselves off or shutting down during the interaction. One partner has put up an invisible wall to block out their partner’s words!

According to Gottman’s research, 85% of relationships studied showed that the stonewallers were men. Instances, where the woman was the stonewaller, indicated a greater chance of divorce.

Perhaps, you have picked up some bad habits of stonewalling, or effective listening, such as thinking of what you’re going to say next. Distracted listening is another way to allow that invisible wall between you to thicken.

  • Are you checking your texts during a conversation?
  • Do you watch television while your partner is talking?
  • Are you only half present, pretending to listen?
  • Do work responsibilities fill your mind and shut down
    your ability to be present and truly hear your partner?
  • Is the only time you talk to each other to relay scheduling info?

When we acknowledge these distractions and choose to make our partner a priority, we make a conscious effort to reconnect more lovingly. Your relationship will be healthier and more enjoyable when both of you are present.

While it’s easier said than done, be sure to approach each conversation with understanding. Take a deep breath. Find your center; connect with your heart.

Despite a heated argument, continue to seek understanding. If the conflict is too intense for one or both, take a break.

Ways to Reignite Communication in Your Relationship

To jumpstart better communication, try the following exercises throughout your day and week:

Practice connecting throughout your day.

MORNING: If you or your partner leave the house for most of the day, you could send them a good morning text or leave a note for them to wake up to. Keep it lighthearted!

LUNCHTIME: While we can’t always leave home or work for lunch together, giving your partner a quick call when they’re free for lunch shows that you’re thinking of (and missing) them.

EVENING: Ask your partner about their day. Be sure to follow up on things they mentioned before, like an ongoing project or a new hobby they’ve started.

NIGHTTIME: If you have a nighttime routine, like exercising or skin care, encourage your partner to join you. Similarly, consider watching their favorite nightly TV series and cuddling!

Related Reading:How to Improve Communication to Create a Drama-Free Marriage.”

Relationship Key #4 - Create a list of why you fell in love with your partner.

If you are beginning to feel a strain in your relationship, it’s time to evaluate your feelings towards your partner.

There is a reason why you’re still together and committed to each other. Could it be love?

Try writing down the reasons why you fell in love with your partner. What do you love about them? What do they do that makes you smile? What is your fondest memory?

As mentioned before, past experiences shape us. The reasons you fell in love with your partner could possibly be the same reason why you’re still together. Bring those memories to the forefront of your mind. Feel the loving endearment. Elevate the positive.

Whether the two of you were high school sweethearts or an office romance, this refocus can help you recall the best parts of your relationship and highlight what made the honeymoon stage so intoxicating. Reconnect with that love.

Another version of the writing exercise is to write about the things that made you feel your partner’s love intensely early on. (This list is for your eyes only, so feel free to be as intimate and honest as possible.)

Here are a few prompts to help you reminisce:

I love how you:

  • Call and text me throughout the day.
  • Go above and beyond for my birthdays.
  • Get ready quietly in the morning to let me sleep in.
  • Like to cuddle even when the weather’s hot.
  • Kiss me on my forehead to say goodnight.
  • Always say the right thing to cheer me up.
  • Think that a cozy Sunday is watching romcoms together.
  • Carry the heavy stuff when we shop together.
  • Be honest and open—even when it makes you nervous.

When compiling your list, you can also start off with “I love you because…” Either way will help make the list more real and personal. It is about how you feel about your partner.

But, don’t feel compelled to only include habits that your partner does. This list can cover your partner’s personality traits, such as humility or kindness; their hobbies or talents like creative writing or woodworking; and their physical attributes, such as their smile or sparkling blue eyes.

Once your list is complete, hopefully, a new appreciation for your partner will bud and make the next suggestion easier.

A black couple relaxing and talking in the living room.
Relationship Key #5 - Make spending quality time together your utmost priority.

Across all healthy relationships, the time spent together is time well spent. Quality time, not just bickering!

Recognized as one of the five love languages, quality time involves spending time dedicated to one’s partner, usually alone and uninterrupted. Quality time is characterized by undivided attention, close intimacy, meaningful conversation and feeling present.

Where intimacy is concerned, an act as small as hugging your significant other counts!

One Harvard report confirmed the benefits associated with physically embracing your loved ones. They found that hugs or cuddles lasting more than six seconds released high levels of oxytocin and serotonin,  the compounds that scientists recognize as mood-boosting hormones!

Oxytocin encourages us to trust and empathize with our loved ones, along with promoting feelings of tranquility and relaxation. Serotonin is known as the “feel good” hormone. It instills feelings of happiness and is linked to better emotional stability. Both can drastically improve your mood.

But hugs and cuddles aren’t the only keys to a healthy relationship. When was the last time you both had a date night?

From picnics to staycations, date nights are fun ways to spend quality time with your partner. Planning the date night can be a shared experience between you two. Having young children makes it considerably harder to plan, but that doesn’t make it impossible. So, there should be no excuses!

Using your communication skills—which we touched on earlier—sit your partner down and discuss what they’re interested in. Would they rather stay in or go out? Is there a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try out? Are there any places that you've visited together in the past (like an old date spot, for example)?

Once you’ve settled on a date idea, take the next steps involved, including:

  • Hiring a babysitter and/or pet sitter
  • Confirming that you can both make the date
  • Book your reservation (if the date is at a restaurant or get-away spot)

Some research confirms what we’ve been hinting at: Married couples who go on regular dates are more likely to remain together.

Ideally, researchers recommend aiming for at least once per month though weekly is even better! The frequency may vary from couple to couple.

Date nights hold more benefits than simply keeping your attention occupied. They are also great for creating new experiences, reminiscing about the past or envisioning the future.

Some other quality time ideas for couples include trying a recipe together, staying in bed on a rainy day and binge-watching a TV series.

If all goes well, you’ll want to recapture the joy of going out on dates, which can turn this habit into a connection to keep the love alive! Like all positive habits, spending time together is something that can transform your life.


All healthy and happy relationships are built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust and understanding. If your relationship is struggling, don't postpone getting support.

There’s no "right time" to start patching relationship problems.

EVERY day is a choice to love, to communicate, to connect.

Will you?

The average couple waits six years before seeking support for marital problems. That equates to six years spent inadvertently allowing the problems to fester and grow.


Recap of Relationship Tips

Practicing self-awareness in your relationships is the first step to a healthy union. From past relationships to old childhood memories, you must understand how your past affects your present. What's the emotional baggage that you’ve been lugging around, and what can you do to heal from that hurt?

Next up on our recommendations is creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. Boundaries are the cornerstone of every healthy relationship, one that promotes respect. If your partner attempts to overstep your boundaries, re-enforce them.

Thirdly, healthy communication in relationships is a must-have for keeping your relationship healthy! By practicing honesty and vulnerability, you are encouraging your partner to do the same. Remember, arguing is one of the leading causes of divorce. Remedy disagreements by practicing your listening skills and apologizing where necessary.

For this next step, you’ll need to focus your thoughts on your partner. Write a list of all the reasons you fell in love with your partner. Unlike boundary-setting or communication, you don’t need to include your partner in this tip; simply jot down your favorite aspects of your partner and what caused your feelings to develop.

Lastly, spend time with your partner! Date nights can slowly become a thing of the past as we grow older. There's work, keeping up on the house, raising children, and many other responsibilities thrown into the mix. If you are unable to leave the house, you can always plan a ‘staycation’ or spend time cuddling, sleeping in or watching TV together. It's a mindset; quality time does not require going to Hawaii for a week.

Along with implementing these tips, it’s also important to seek professional advice outside of your immediate family or partner. Don't wait too long. An objective party can give you a fresh perspective and shift the challenges to deeper love.

Your happily-ever-after awaits you! We’ll keep an eye out for your email when it happens!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the number 1 reason married couples divorce?

A lack of commitment (75%) was found to be the most cited reason divorced couples gave over all other stresses and reasons for breakups. However, other polls found that communication breakdowns ranked very high as well, with arguing too much (56%) or a lack of communication (73%) 

So it makes sense to focus on improving communication skills and how to navigate intense emotions and conflicts in a relationship. Master these and your chances of crossing over to a happy marriage go way up!

And if you desire a healthier relationship, reach out to us at support@heartmanity.com.

Googling "relationship counseling near me"? Contact us today!

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Jennifer A. Williams / Heartmanity FounderJennifer A. Williams / Heartmanity Founder
Jennifer, as the Heartmanity Founder, has coached couples for over two decades. With her extensive experience and vast knowledge of emotional intelligence and brain science, Jennifer provides profound insights. She specializes in communication and teaches EQ skills needed to create healthy relationships. Jennifer is happily married and the mother of three grown children who are incredible human beings.

Posted in Love, Marriage, and Relationships

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