8 Things Healthy Couples Don’t Do

A few habits to avoid to keep your relationship healthy.

Last week, I saw a woman slam the car door in her husband's face and storm off inside the grocery store. Then there was the couple sitting next to me, the man staring at his phone the entire time his wife shared with him her concerns about one of their children. I saw someone post a rant on Facebook about their spouse that ended with, "MEN!"

Relationships are hard, and we've probably all done something similar to the examples above. But that doesn't excuse the cavalier mistakes we sometimes allow for in our romantic relationships. Dating and especially marriage relationships can be tools for showing Christ's love—to the other person and to those around you. Too often, we take our spouses for granted and forget that good relationships don't just happen. They take work.

It's often harder to see the good relationships, because they aren't out slamming doors and stomping around and airing grievances on social media.

Here are eight things healthy couples don't do:

1. Post Negatively About Each Other on Social Media

12-year-olds post negatively about their boyfriends or girlfriends on social media. It's a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with your spouse when the time is right. Don't fall into the trap of getting others on your side, on social media or otherwise, because healthy marriages only have one side.

Don't fall into the trap of getting others on your side, because healthy marriages only have one side.

2. Make Their Career a Priority Rather Than Their Relationship

Yes, career is important. But as you are being pulled in every direction imaginable, something will get less attention, less time. Something in your life will have to be sacrificed. Your goal is to make sure that "something" isn't your relationship. You can always find another job, but you only have one chance to make it work with the love of your life.

3. Have All Their 'Together-Time' With Technology

Of course there will be plenty of times that you're together and using technology, but healthy couples know how to put down their phones and computers and turn off the TV to spend quality time together. Healthy couples don't check Twitter on dinner dates. My husband and I have a rule that we put our phones upstairs each night after work so our dinner or together-time is not interrupted.

4. Avoid Hard Subjects

Relationships are about intimacy. If you can't talk about the hard subjects, then your intimacy factor is off. There are seasons of marriage that are easy, and other seasons where you must make difficult decisions together. Nothing should be off-limits between the two of you, and conversations should always be approached with an abundance of grace and kindness.

5. Punish One Another

Punishing one another often comes out in the silent treatment or withholding sex or affection. Healthy couples know when it's good to take a break from a disagreement, but also know how to come back together and find a resolution.

6. Withhold Forgiveness

Relationships run on forgiveness. You can't have a healthy relationship without abundant forgiveness. The best relationships forgive quickly and frequently. Living with another person will always bring conflict and hurt feelings; the trick is knowing how to handle it. Forgive, and ask for forgiveness.

7. Say 'Yes' to Everything

Healthy couples have good boundaries—with family, with friends and with each other. If I've had a long week at work and my husband asks me to rally and go out with friends on Friday, whose fault is it if I get mad at him on the way home because I didn't want to go in the first place? Mine. Healthy couples know their limits, know how to ask for help, and understand that "no" is a complete sentence.

8. Throw In the Towel

Healthy couples don't give up when things are hard, even when things are really hard. If your spouse is important to you, you can get through this. Quitting is never an option for healthy couples.

24 Comments

Brett

110

Brett commented…

Your blog post keeps on coming across my screen and so i keep on ending back here and it's great to see how much attention it has received - does remind me of one other series i ran a few years ago when 22 of my married friends wrote a piece for a series called "How to save your marriage [before you need to]" giving good advice and recommendations and it was also pretty popular at the time: http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/how-to-save-a-marriage-before-...'

keep on
love brett fish

Prince

4

Prince commented…

Ruthie, this is sooo RELEVANT. This article is amazing and it is a "must-read" , I loved it.

Wesley Morgan

3

Wesley Morgan commented…

Ruthie, what a great post! Loved it. I wrote something along the same lines on my blog. You can read it here: http://crowntv.co/girlfriend-pregnant-im-dating-best-friend-wife-knows/

Paul Perkins

53

Paul Perkins commented…

The 9th thing healthy couples do: they don't simply apologize after fighting, they seek reconciliation. It makes all the difference.

I wrote a blog about this topic here: http://paulperkins.com/first-year-of-marriage/

Cole Comstock

5

Cole Comstock commented…

Navigating relationships in a healthy God center manner is definitely difficult. Glad to see you're helping us out.

Here are seven things great Christian relationships focus on: http://www.faithandchristianity.com/2013/12/10/the-seven-essentials-chri...

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