Being in a relationship can feel like a full-time job. So what’s the secret ingredient to relationship happiness and longevity? The secret is that there isn’t just one secret!
Successful couples do a number of things to keep the spark alive and to manage conflict. The tactics that’ll work for you and your main squeeze will be unique to your relationship and your personalities, but you’re bound to find something on this list that works like a charm.
Being in a loving relationship means coming down with the flu without worrying about what your partner thinks. Hygiene still matters, though, regardless of how long you've been together. Don't get lax when it comes to things like brushing your teeth, showering or wearing clean clothes.
When it comes to what people want in life, love and partnership outweigh marriage. Sharing a life together doesn't have to include marriage, and as social norms change, the tradition of marriage is less important (to some people). Love and partnership, though, have remained priorities.
Accepting the person you’re with is easier and more realistic than attempting to change them. Instead of pressuring them to become someone else, work on improving your outlook. Bonus: Wholeheartedly accepting one another means you’ll get into fewer arguments.
Happy couples make time to be intimate regularly, and they feel satisfied (if not thrilled) with their level of connection. They may be willing to take chances and think outside the box in the bedroom. While stress can get in the way of intimacy, the strongest couples have alone time at least once a week.
Is there anything more annoying than trying to talk to someone as they look back and forth at their phone? Happy couples recognize when one person needs to speak, and they’re glad to listen intently. By looking at your partner while they’re talking, you communicate that they’re important to you.
Laughing is the quickest way to release feel-good endorphins and get in a better mood (and it’s more fun than running a mile). Happy couples make each other laugh or purposely watch something funny, like standup comedy. They go out of their way to inject fun into their time together.
Happy couples knew they wanted to be committed from the beginning. No, they didn’t necessarily know they wanted to commit to the person they took on a first date, but they knew that they wanted to be in a relationship.
Compliments are lovely for the recipient to hear, but they do the giver just as much good. When you compliment your significant other, you remind yourself of all the things you love about them. It's hard to take someone for granted when you compliment them every day.
Quality time is a must if you want to have a solid relationship, but the busier life gets, the harder it is to spend time together. If you're in a long-distance relationship, the struggle is even more real. It's a good thing there's so much tech to help out.
Nobody likes feeling suffocated, and spending every second together is a quick way to burn a relationship out. It’s healthy to spend time apart. Happy people understand this and ask for their own time, and they happily allow their partners some alone time, too.
Small and large gestures add up to a happy relationship, but the key is to not keep score. That means not noting what you do for your partner or what they do for you. If you feel guilty for not doing enough or you're upset that you’re not getting more in return, the purpose of those gestures gets lost.
You’d never dream of being rude to someone on a first date, but as you get more comfortable with your other half, manners can fall by the wayside. Make a point to be polite to the person you love. Say "please" and "thank you" and hold the door for one another.
Happy couples don’t just vote; they vote the same way. They share the same outlooks on political and societal issues like gender equality or healthcare. This isn’t an accident — they likely chose partners with similar views from the very beginning.
Relationships aren’t all romantic getaways and dinners by candlelight. The basic stuff of life creeps in, and the smartest couples know that they should tackle it together. Things like washing the car, packing boxes for a move and running errands are necessities, and doing them together promotes companionship.
One of the biggest strains on a marriage is money, and it's no wonder that some of the happiest couples earn high enough combined incomes to be comfortable. But that’s not true for everyone. Covering up money problems or concerns doesn't help your relationship, and they won't go away if you keep quiet.
Even if you love nothing more than a night in with your guy or girl, it pays to get out into the world and have a social life. Try to form a joint friendship with at least one other couple. (P.S. It's okay if they're part of your family!)
Every relationship comes with serious conversations. Whether you're discussing a huge fight, a job loss or your child’s temper tantrums, try to take some of the pressure off.
It's easy to celebrate the significant milestones like your anniversary, but what about the smaller ones that go unnoticed? Think about the experiences you shared, and make events out of them when the dates come around. You could relive your first date by going to the same restaurant and renting the movie you saw.
The happiest couples can acknowledge what they need and then say what those needs are out loud. You should be able to take in what your partner is telling you and act accordingly (within reason). Each person should feel safe enough to express their authentic feelings.
Chances are that you have something in common with your partner; otherwise, it would’ve been hard to start a relationship. As time goes on, you may realize that you have more solo interests than shared ones. That’s okay as long as there are a few things you love doing together.
Even couples who have been together for decades regularly flirt with one another to keep that youthful spark alive. Everyone loves being reminded that somebody finds them attractive. You don't have to stop courting each other even if you've been married for years.
When it comes to relationship happiness and longevity, "opposites attract" doesn’t apply. The happiest couples share personality traits, education and income levels, political affiliations and even the amount of power they wield in the relationship.
Relationships don’t stay in the infatuation stage forever. You may wear rose-colored glasses in the beginning stages of a relationship, but once real life settles in and the initial spark dies, you have to get real. Every couple goes through this at some point.
Nobody likes negativity in their relationship, but neglecting to fix a problem is a problem in itself. Successful couples know that to grow their relationships or to maintain the status quo, they have to deal with problems before they get out of hand.
There are all types of ways to make a person feel loved. For some people, hearing "I love you" will do it. For others, a different "love language" is necessary. Smart couples realize that what works for one of them won't necessarily work for the other.
Going to bed at the same time is a reliable way to ensure you have time for each other. That intimacy may be sex, but it may also be your time to talk about something that's on your mind or to just lie near each other while listening to music.
Treating your partner like another piece of furniture makes them feel unworthy. Instead, when your S.O. walks into a room, even if it's just through the front door after work, make a point to show that you're happy to see them. They'll immediately feel positive about your relationship.
The level of PDA you're comfortable with is personal, but happy couples are usually okay with expressing some affection in public. Hold hands when out together, and don't worry about kissing each other or snuggling up if it's cold out.
Smart couples respect individual boundaries even if they don't share them or understand them. This can mean giving your partner space when they're angry or being available by phone during the day. It may also mean compromising if two of your boundaries clash.
If you live with your significant other, you probably part ways every morning and then see one another at the same time later on. Creating "hello" and "goodbye" rituals helps you both acknowledge that you’re parting or coming back together.