1. YOU’VE GOT A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR
Being able to laugh both at yourself and at a situation is a powerful way to prevent little arguments from turning into huge fights — and a great way to repair your relationship if you do end up arguing. “Couples who have a child-like spirit never take things too seriously. Humor creates a special bond that, in my experience, makes couples happier and more resilient when they face the challenges of life,” says Sameera Sullivan, professional relationship coach and CEO of Lasting Connections. “Playfulness and humor is a dynamic part of any good relationship – it denotes a sense of openness with your partner and the ability to enjoy one another independent of circumstances.”
2.YOU’VE DONE COUPLES THERAPY
Marriage counseling is helpful for couples in serious crises, sure, but it’s also great for helping with your everyday issues. Couples who have done some therapy together show their willingness to be open to their partner’s concerns and to work on the relationship, says Wendi Dumb off, licensed professional counselor and sex therapist. “Many couples come with a genuine desire to improve their relationship and it really does work,” she says. “When both partners are truly actively engaged in the process of couples’ therapy, and they are both genuinely motivated to work on the marriage and create change, I often see a long, happy outcome for them.”
3. YOU KNOW HOW TO DISAGREE
Disagreements are an unpleasant, yet fundamental, part of any marriage — you don’t love that they happen but you recognize they’ll help you both learn something important. “People think that ‘letting things go’ or being passive can reduce the number of fights they have and therefore decrease their chances of divorce. But, what I’ve seen time and again are couples who, because they keep things inside, lose their ability to communicate and loss of communication is behind nearly every divorce today,” Sullivan says. People who have long-lasting relationships have conflicts but they discuss those conflicts and solve them together.
4.YOU SUPPORT EACH OTHER’S GOALS
Does your husband want to start his own kite surfing business? Does your wife want to go to art school? Even if his or her goal doesn’t seem important or realistic to you at first, supporting them in their hopes and dreams is key to a lasting relationship, Morin says. “Working toward new personal and professional goals fosters growth,” she explains. “Couples who support that growth —rather than fear it — are likely to grow together, rather than apart.”
5. THERE SHOULD BE MUTUAL RESPECT
Respect is the one thing that has the power to make or break your marriage because it underlies everything else you do. If a relationship is based on a good foundation of friendship and respect, it will be more flexible and resilient. If your partner truly believes in you as a person they will be there for you through all life stages and adapt to support your dreams.
6. YOU MAKE DATE NIGHT A PRIORITY
Date night makes every “How to have a good relationship” list for a reason — the couple that plays together, stays together. But it’s not enough to just default to dinner and a movie once a month. You need to plan and prioritize your time together. Long-lasting couples stay connected. This doesn’t have to be extravagant; it can be a television show that you both really enjoy and always watch together. Or you can take up an activity for just the two of you, like paddleboarding or a certain game. When you have a set activity, you have something new to talk about and it becomes a touchpoint that makes the couple feel more connected.
7. YOU DON’T LET THINGS FESTER
Ever had an entire fight with your partner — completely in your own mind? It’s normal to dwell on things that are upsetting, but letting them fester can wreck your marriage. Instead, partners in successful long-term relationships speak up immediately when something’s bothering them, James says. On the flip side, they also check in regularly with their partner to see if they can help them in any way. It takes both the asking for help and helping to make a happy couple. No more simmering and stewing speak up!
8. YOU GIVE EACH OTHER THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
When you see the credit card bill it can be easy to jump to conclusions about what your mate has been up to. But long-lasting couples will give each other the benefit of the doubt, allowing their partner a chance to explain or come clean first, Ranger says. They try hard to empathize with their partner instead of automatically believing that their partner was intentionally trying to hurt them.
9. YOU DON’T JUST TALK, YOU COMMUNICATE
Some couples think they “talk” but there’s a lot more that goes into healthy communication than simply reciting the facts of what happened during your day. “The best sign that a relationship has a good chance of lasting is when partners are emotionally engaged and responsive to each other on a consistent basis,” says Marni Feuerman, Ph.D., a licensed marriage and family therapist in Boca Raton, Florida. “This means turning toward each other for comfort or support in times of need as well as for the smaller events that occur throughout the day. They engage with each other by talking about feelings and the impact of the general goings-on of their day-to-day life.”