Here are the 3 Qualities a Therapist says You Need to Look for in a Life Partner If You Want a Healthy Relationship
According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40-50% of first marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for second marriages is even higher, with approximately 60-67% of second marriages ending in divorce. If you're looking for a healthy relationship and to not become a part of the statistics, it's important to look for certain qualities in your life partner. Healthy relationships are built on trust and mutual respect, but there are key essential qualities. According to marriage and family therapist Tamara Thompson, there are three key qualities that you should look for in a prospective life partner. If your partner doesn't have these qualities, then your relationship is likely to be unhealthy. In this interview, Tamara discusses the three qualities that are essential for a happy and healthy relationship.
Usually, when someone has been to therapy, they have a higher level of self-awareness and overall emotional intelligence. When you are with someone who has self-awareness, they know their triggers, they know how to self-soothe, and they know how to effectively communicate their needs. Partners who are self-aware can more easily hold themselves accountable and can own their role when things go off-track/get derailed. "Oftentimes in couples therapy, I meet couples that are getting into heated discussions and constant bickering with each individual finding it challenging to identify how their “stuff” contributed to things escalating. I talk to all of my clients about getting to know, accept, and love all parts of themselves. I often reference the Matt Kahn quote, “People can only meet you as deeply as they have met themselves” which lets us know that without fully knowing and loving ourselves, it can be challenging to go deeper with others." Tamara shares. If you want to be able to go deep and create a healthy relationship, get to know yourself deeply and become self-aware. You can then identify and attract a partner that can do the same.
To keep your heart open and be vulnerable with your partner you have to feel safe and to feel safe, you need to know you have a partner who is committed to you and the relationship you both envisioned. Where there is loyalty, there is commitment. Commitment is the promise or agreement to stick it out. Loyalty is fidelity and faithfulness to that commitment. Most people want to know that their partner is committed to figuring things out, that they will not opt out of the relationship after the first fight or challenge, and that they are committed to what your shared goals are for the relationship. One of the most damaging things that individuals in couples do is to use exit language, such as “maybe we should break up” or “perhaps we should get divorced!” Every time exit language is used it can leave a partner questioning the level of commitment. Identifying shared goals for the relationship and committing to the goals early on will provide ground rules and clear expectations. Loyalty creates an overall sense of well-being because it makes people feel safe and has been attributed to people living longer and leading more fulfilling lives.
A kind person will have empathy, and compassion, will be supportive, will not judge, will hold space, they are respectful, and they are giving without an agenda. A kind partner will check many more boxes because they genuinely have a kind, loving, and giving heart. Kind people make great partners because they can put themselves in your shoes and listen without making it about them. When someone is kind, their goodness can bring out the best qualities in their partner. They inspire you to grow and extend more kindness to others as they have extended to you. Kindness breeds kindness, love breeds love. If you find a kind person, your relationship is off to a great start. Just be kind back.
How to Identify these key qualities effectively
Finding a life partner is one of the biggest decisions we will ever have to make. It can be incredibly daunting and intimidating, with so many considerations and factors to take into account. A good life partner is someone who can understand you, support you, and help you grow both as an individual and together. When looking for this person, it's important to stay true to yourself and your values; if the match isn't right initially, keep searching until it feels comfortable. Tamara explained the top three qualities of a life partner and here are the ways to identify them.
For A Self-Aware Partner
You can identify a person who is self-aware by observing how they handle difficult situations and how much insight they can provide regarding their behavior. Self-aware individuals usually take accountability regarding their responses and actions and can share what their role was in an interaction. When people are self-aware, they can express their needs, wants, and desires and can go deeper when asked questions such as, “what made you do that?” You can tell that they are introspective based on how they can objectively speak about both their strengths and challenges. When people are self-aware their values and actions are aligned. People who are self-aware know who they are.
For A Loyal Partner
You can look to see if the person commits to things and people in their lives. Do they quit their commitments? Do they justify not keeping their word? If you notice those signs early on, you may want to continue to pay attention or ask more questions. If they say they are going to do things, do they do them regardless of it becoming challenging? Do they look for shortcuts and/or find ways to not show integrity? What is their relationship with their family and friends? If they have longstanding, solid relationships, that usually means they have navigated the ebbs and flows that come up in relationships. If they have many broken relationships, you may want to find out more. Loyal people accept that people change, relationship dynamics change, and they can continue to navigate and show up for the person they care about.
For A Kind Partner
A kind person is usually easy to identify. They are usually polite, they say please and thank you. They volunteer their time, energy, and resources. They ask you about your day and are interested to hear your answer and get to know you. Kind people want you to be happy and experience joyous moments, they are supportive and encouraging. Most people experience more happiness when they spend time in the company of a kind person. Kind people do not speak negatively about others, they are not judgmental, and they give they are inclusive. Kind people do not discriminate. Kind people express gratitude and appreciation openly and wholeheartedly. Kind people are not driven by external validation, they are driven and guided by their hearts.
The benefits of pre-marital therapy
Every couple can benefit from pre-marital therapy. "I offer a pre-marital journey package and encounter couples who originally believed they were on the same page and then discovered that they saw things differently," Tamara states. Pre-marital therapy allows couples to check in on core values, roles, and expectations. More often than not, couples discover something they did not know and it allows them to discuss it and gain clarity. No matter how aligned a couple is, pre-marital therapy offers a great check-in. "When I meet with the couple individually, there is usually a topic that they want to talk more about and would like additional support around. Roles in the relationship, how the money is handled, in-laws, sexual intimacy frequency, expectations around children/child rearing, and who has the “power” in the relationship are topics that come up most often." By the time a couple leaves pre-marital therapy, they usually have gained more clarity, they have a few more communication tools, and they are aware of their love languages and how it shows up in their dynamic. Pre-marital therapy is a great way to start your upcoming marriage on a positive note, as you are setting the tone for open and honest communication, as well as teaming up to create a happy, healthy, and fulfilling marriage. When you are looking for a self-aware, loyal, and kind partner, pay attention to how they interact with the people in their lives. Do they follow through on commitments? Are they open, inclusive, supportive, and encouraging? Pre-marital therapy is an excellent way to check in before making such a big commitment. Through pre-marital therapy, couples can gain clarity on their core values, and expectations and grow in communication tools to ensure that they have a happy and healthy marriage.