Ten signs of a great relationship

By Lisa Merlo-Booth

A client once told me that she’d been in two great relationships in her life—and didn’t realize it until they were over. She was determined to not repeat that same mistake the next time a great one came around. My first thought was she’d have to know what one looked like in the first place. She’d then have to recognize one when she was in it—not after she left it.

Unfortunately, there is little information on what a great relationship actually looks like. The relationships portrayed in the movies and media are often either horrific or glorified fantasies that have little to no basis in reality. Where would we go for a realistic view of what healthy, great relationships look like? If we don’t have friends, family, or relatives who modeled them, chances are we have no clue about what one looks like.

The media portrays great relationships as ones with gorgeous partners who have no conflict and hot sex. Give me a break. How many couples do you know of who are gorgeous, can’t keep their hands off each other, and never argue? If you know of any couples who fit this description, chances are they’re under twenty-five and have been seeing each other less than a year. This kind of love is simply the honeymoon period and not a sign of a great, lasting relationship. The media’s images of a great relationship, I believe, perpetuates our difficulties in recognizing one when we see it or are living in it.

Over the years I’ve come up with several signs of a great relationship… relationships that actually exist. Below are factors inherent in all great relationships most, if not all, of the time:


Mutual respect

Great relationships are always respectful… even in anger. Even in great relationships however, there is conflict and disagreements; the difference is in how these disagreements are handled. There is no swearing, yelling, belittling, or name calling when angry in a great relationship. Period.


Mutual sharing

When something really bad happens, the first person someone in a great relationship wants to talk to and share the news with is their partner. This is also true when something great happens.


Mutual liking

Great relationships consist of two people who genuinely like each other and enjoy one another’s company.


Mutual attraction

Both partners are attracted to one another and are sexual as a way of expressing that attraction and love. This is not just a physical attraction, although that is part of it. This aspect differentiates lovers from friends; great couples are both.


Mutual cherishing

Great relationships have a lot of positive energy and loving acts in them. Both partners give compliments, say kind words, do kind deeds, and show one another love in both words and actions.


Mutual friendship

Great couples share their lives and stories with one another, support one another’s goals and dreams, and provide a shoulder for one another’s sorrows. Great couples have each other’s back.



Great couples have fun together. There’s often a lot of laughter, playfulness, and joy.


Mutual listening

Both partners listen to what the other one says and does his/her best to make adjustments whenever necessary. Each partner is interested in being the best partner he/she can be and is open to any feedback that will help in this area.


Mutual bubble

In great relationships the bubble is around the couple first and foremost. It then expands to family, friends, and extended family. Both partners are clear that their relationship is the first priority.


Relaxing environment


when you’re in a great relationship—it feels good to be home.

Great relationships are not always happy, stress free zones. Life is hard sometimes and even great couples feel the struggles of that. Great couples know however, that even in the hard times, they have each other’s support. They maintain respect and the good times far outweigh the bad.

The bottom line with great relationships is they feel great to be in and you miss them when they’re gone. They bring out the best part of you and help life go a little easier.

CHALLENGE: Take a relationship inventory: go through the above list and see which factors you and your partner already have and which ones you need to work on. Choose one or two areas and commit to working on them.


Arrow Up  back to top