You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but here it is again: Relationships are tough and they require constant work. You and your partner have to be ready to put in the work every single day. One way of doing this is through regular evaluation of your relationship.
Here are 5 important questions to answer both individually and as a couple about your relationship. These questions will give you a more clear picture of your relationship.
1. Do you feel safe in your relationship?
In your relationship, you should be able to really be yourself without fear of being judged. Do you feel like your partner has the capability to stick with you through tough times? Will they be there if you have cancer or depression? If it is difficult for you to answer this question, seeking professional help can provide a safe place to talk about this.
2. Are you both happy?
As humans, we rely on our romantic relationships to provide us with some level of happiness. Having bad days is normal, but if your relationship is rife with anxiety and tension, then there might be a problem. If you find yourself feeling sad or angry about your relationship more than you feel happiness and contentment, then you need to re-evaluate things.
Relationships require work, but they shouldn’t drain you emotionally or affect your mental health.
3. Do your plans and visions for the future align?
To strengthen your commitment, you need to agree on your vision and goals for the future. Is your partner ready to show up, do the work every day and accept you without harsh criticism? You need to be sure they are in it for the long-haul and you’re on the same page about what’s important to each of you in life. Checking in regularly about your thoughts and plans for the future is critical to a healthy relationship.
4. Are your arguments healthy?
Arguments are normal, but how you argue is what really matters. Do you argue with love or anger? Are you critical? Defensive? Do you stonewall? Are you able to keep your arguments from getting out of hand? Do you find a way to calmly discuss and reach a solution?
You need to argue in a way that makes both parties feel heard and understood. If things often get violent or out of hand, then you need to rethink things. Name-calling, yelling, degrading, stonewalling, and defensiveness are all sure ways to ruin your relationship.
5. Are you sexually compatible?
Sex is important in any romantic relationship. Are you physically attracted to each other? Do you agree on issues relating to sex, such as when and how it occurs? If one person feels sexually deprived or pressured to do things they aren’t comfortable with, it will likely lead to conflict.
It’s critical to create space in your relationship to talk openly about your sex life. As with most aspects of your relationships, communication is never more important that when it comes to sex. There is too much opportunity for misunderstandings, resentment, and hurt feelings to occur if one relies on things like assuming and mind-reading.
If you answered yes to most or all of your questions above, then you and your partner are probably in a great place. If not, it may be wise to carefully reflect on the questions and revisit them when you’ve had time to think about them properly. Sometimes it’s helpful to have an objective third-party, like a well-trained therapist, to help you explore these questions on a deeper level.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.