Your Ultimate Healthy Marriage Checklist


A lasting, fulfilling marriage takes effort and intention. While each couple is unique, research shows certain qualities that characterize healthy partnerships. This healthy marriage checklist summarizes core elements experts say contribute to marital bliss. Review it to identify strengths and areas you may want to nurture more in your relationship.

Key Marriage Statistics in America

Average age at first marriage26.5 years for brides and 28.7 years for grooms.
The average length of marriage before divorce8 years
Percentage of marriages that end in divorce43%
Top reasons for divorceLack of commitment, too much conflict and arguing, infidelity, marrying too young, unrealistic expectations
Annual rate of couples seeking marriage counselling21% of married adults

What Does a Healthy Marriage Look Like?

No relationship is perfectly harmonious at all times. However, researchers have identified these common traits of satisfied, stable couples:

  • Maintain a strong friendship
  • Keep emotional intimacy through ongoing closeness and vulnerability
  • Have fun together frequently
  • Respect one another as autonomous individuals
  • Share key values and life vision
  • Communicate openly, honestly, and often
  • Fight fair by managing conflicts in constructive ways
  • Have each other’s back through life’s highs and lows
  • Keep the romance alive through affection, intimacy, and closeness
  • Commit to the partnership completely and invest in its success.

This checklist elaborates on each of these components of healthy marriages below.



Spouses who are best friends make the healthiest marriages. They genuinely like, care for, and respect each other. Partners should be able to confide secrets, dreams, and fears without judgment and share silly humor. Recalling positive memories builds history that sustains couples through rougher patches.

Tips for Building Friendship:

  • Take an interest in each other’s hobbies
  • Share childhood stories and family history
  • Send encouraging texts during the workday
  • Exchange compliments and expressions of affection regularly

Emotional Intimacy

Partners thrive when they cultivate openness, vulnerability, and sensitivity to each other’s feelings. Understanding inner emotional worlds prevents misunderstandings while aligning behaviors with actual needs. Physical intimacy also comes more naturally when emotional intimacy is strong first.

Tips for Emotional Intimacy:

  • Check-in often about stresses or worries
  • Be fully present during conversations
  • Provide comfort and reassurance when needed
  • Remember and respect sensitivities

Shared Fun

Shared Fun

Laughter relieves tension during hard times while injecting ongoing vitality into relationships. Having compatible senses of humor and liking to play together are predictive of happy marriages. Taking mental breaks from practical concerns through entertainment, amusement, and adventure is important.

Tips for Having More Fun:

  • Be silly and goofy together
  • Share funny videos, movies, or jokes
  • Try new activities just for thrills
  • Go exploring via staycations or day trips
  • Laugh about the ups and downs of married life

Mutual Respect

Spouses in healthy marriages speak positively about each other privately and publicly. They admire strengths in one another while avoiding criticism or contempt. Each makes sacrifices because their beloved’s needs matter alongside their own. Respect means letting small annoyances slide in favor of picking battles carefully.

Tips for Showing Respect:

  • Thank your spouse for his/her efforts
  • Brag about them to family/friends
  • Consult each other on important decisions
  • Follow through reliably on promises made

Shared Values and Vision

Shared Values and Vision

Successful couples share ethics, religious beliefs, parenting approaches, and visions for their futures. These provide guiding rails, keeping relationships on track through life’s complex journey. Unity of purpose promotes teamwork toward aspirations while avoiding dissatisfaction-causing value conflicts.

Tips for Aligning on Vision:

  • Discuss dreams, goals, and callings often
  • Strategize together on plans for achieving them
  • Check-in on how each feels about progress

Open Communication

High-functioning couples communicate frequently, candidly, and clearly. They discuss problems immediately before resentment escalates and share positive news, hopes, care, and appreciation. Listening attentively without interrupting also nurtures intimacy. Silences often or walls that block meaningful exchanges lead to problems.

Tips for Improving Communication:

  • Set regular times to talk without distractions
  • Avoid accusations or global criticisms
  • Repeat back key points to ensure understanding
  • Express affection and gratitude openly/often

Fair Fighting

Fair Fighting

All couples sometimes argue, but the healthiest ones fight gently by attacking problems, not each other. Taking timeouts to cool off, resisting name-calling or dredging up past grievances, and apologizing for blows too low is imperative. So, it is important to recognize valid points from the other’s perspective. Seeking to understand rather than blame makes resolving conflicts easier.

Tips for Fighting Fair:

  • No yelling, aggressive tone, or threats
  • Keep disagreements from escalating into vendettas
  • Compromise on some points after hearing each other out
  • Resolve arguments before bedtime

Reliable Support System

Spouses in satisfying marriages uplift more than undermine each other. Partners know they have each other’s backs during adversity, career moves, childrearing challenges, and extended family issues. They celebrate successes and console hurts, both significant and mundane. Lending non-judgmental ears builds trust to carry couples through occasional blunders.

Tips for Providing Support:

  • Help with tasks the other dislikes
  • Show interest in each other’s jobs/creative outlets
  • Cheer on their dreams and share in disappointments
  • Surprise with your favorite snack after a bad day


While passion inevitably evolves in longer relationships, couples focusing on sustaining romance keep strong emotional and physical bonds. They flirt, hold hands, hug, and kiss regularly. Playful date nights, loving gestures (cards, gifts, meals prepared), and verbal compliments keep connections vibrant amid life’s routine.

Tips for Nurturing Romance:

  • Initiate sex or physical closeness
  • Recall favorite memories together.
  • Update playlists with “our songs.”
  • Rotate planning special outings

Complete Loyalty and Commitment

Complete Loyalty and Commitment

Vows include promising fidelity plus determination to cherish one another fully through all seasons. Couples who thrive earnestly believe they’ve found lifelong, loving partners deserving of such devotion. They give each other affection, attention, and support unrelentingly by upholding their marital pact as sacrosanct.

Tips for Showing Commitment:

  • Put your relationship first above outside obligations
  • Defend your marriage against corrosive habits like addictions
  • Protect intimacy from intrusions like kids/screens in bed
  • Nurture your partner’s growth into the best possible self.

Relationship Wellness Check: Rate Your Marriage’s Health

Assess how your partnership stacks up currently regarding healthy marriage components above using this 5-point scale:

5 = Very strong currently
4 = Good, but with occasional issues
3 = Moderate strength and problems
2 = Significant struggles and dissatisfaction exists
1 = Very poor currently; crisis level

Friendship: ___
Emotional Intimacy: ___
Shared Fun: ___
Mutual Respect: ___
Shared Vision & Values: ___
Communication Habits: ___
Conflict Resolution Skills: ___
Reliability as Support System: ___
Romance & Affection: ___
Commitment Level: ___

Now, reflect on 2 to 3 areas you’d most like to improve and discuss specific steps with your partner for nurturing those facets of your bond. Rechecking and reviewing progress twice annually keeps relationships vibrant. Consider meeting with a counselor or mentor couple to gain support if facing any serious challenges. With attentiveness and effort, nearly every marriage can become more satisfying.

Research Insights on Habits of Happy Couples

Scholars studying marital success uncover helpful insights about practices separating healthy vs. unhealthy relationships for application to one’s own. Here is a summary of key findings:

Happy couples prioritize each other first above other obligations. Partners support each other’s careers, friendships, hobbies, health goals, etc. They celebrate successes and console hurts as their closest confidante.

These couples use plentiful compliments, small gifts, and encouraging words to reinforce affection. They flirt and have fun together often to nurture bonds. Accepting influence from each other also maintains intimacy.

Partners that thrive don’t hesitate to express appreciation and gratitude regularly. They give each other the benefit of the doubt during periodic misunderstandings, too. They accentuate positive qualities in the other while overlooking pet peeves and flaws.

Additionally, satisfied husbands and wives take responsibility for their own happiness and do not expect a spouse to fulfil them constantly. They calm themselves when upset and are slow to anger or blame. These couples give love freely without tallying sacrifices or keeping score.


Finally, flourishing pairs build shared rituals, cementing their partnership as a team, such as date nights, bedtime catch-ups, morning coffee, or walks together. They support each other’s personal growth towards being their best selves. Their commitment never wavers.

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