11 Qualities Every Truly Happy Relationship Has In Common
Chemistry and physical attraction may have brought you and your partner together, but you need more than a spark to maintain a happy, lasting relationship.
With that in mind, we asked marriage therapists to share the one quality they believe couples need to develop in order to stay together for the long haul. Here’s what they had to say.
“You have to be able to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Compassion toward your partner allows him or her to feel respected, appreciated and cared for and it fuels the connection, intimacy and partnership. Think of it as the essential food that every healthy relationship needs.” ― Carin Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist in Sherman Oaks, California
“So many couples believe that a lack of problems, or the ability to anticipate and avoid them, is a key to a happy relationship.
But in my experience, it’s not so much about avoiding problems so much as it is about being able to solve them together. Problems are always going to happen, just as life does.
Knowing you can face them together keeps a relationship strong and healthy.” ― Alicia H. Clark, a psychologist in Washington, D.C.
“The strongest couples I’ve met have the capacity to laugh at themselves.
When a partner can laugh about their own messiness or their wish to have the table set in a certain way, they can communicate what they want without turning their partner into the enemy.
Laughing at ourselves instead of judging makes the journey entertaining instead of a constant battle.” ― Ryan Howes, a psychologist in Pasadena, California
“As a specialist in infidelity, I can tell you that trust is the most important thing in a marriage. It takes years to build and a second to break. But it’s more than just sexual fidelity.
A spouse is trusted with so much: fears, vulnerabilities, painful wounds from childhood. In a good marriage, a spouse discloses these innermost thoughts and trusts that it won’t be used against them in future arguments.
” ― Caroline Madden, a marriage therapist and the author of After A Good Man Cheats: How to Rebuild Trust & Intimacy with Your Wife
“We all need to be praised and appreciated but we so often get the opposite ― criticism ― even from our partner. Positivity is needed in relationships, especially ones that have grown past the honeymoon stage.
Whether it’s a simple ‘thank you’ or ‘I love you’ or a specific compliment for something done, we all need to hear it. When we praise our partner we strengthen our connection, bond and love.
” ― Kurt Smith, a therapist who specializes in counseling for men
“Sexual and emotional intimacy is the bright shiny star of relationships. Intimacy is the difference between your relationship with your barista and your relationship with your spouse. You build intimacy over time. Intimacy is the feeling of belonging and being loved.
It’s the feeling of being known and understood. It’s the feeling of being accepted and appreciated. If you have ever experienced or heard someone describe their relationship as hollow or empty, it’s probably because it’s lacking intimacy.
” ― Laura Heck, a marriage and family therapist in Salt Lake City, Utah
“Life tends to throw some unexpected curveballs along the course of a relationship. The one quality that consistently helps couples through adversity or tragedy is mutual respect.
Self-esteem is essential to feel secure and satisfied with yourself so it makes sense that a high esteem and respect for your partner is an essential ingredient in a lasting relationship, both in joyous and challenging times.” ― Elisabeth J.
LaMotte, a psychotherapist and founder of the DC Counseling and Psychotherapy Center
“Being present is more than just putting down your devices and paying attention ― it’s showing that you’re deeply interested in the inner life of your partner and want to make their world better in any way you can.
Being present means freely giving your partner the gift of your full focus and being there for them in a way that’s deeper than just being physically present. It means seeing things from their point of view and not just your own.
” ― Debra Campbell, a psychologist and couple’s therapist in Melbourne, Australia
“You need to love, honor and cherish one another. These vows are what keep people together happily over the long term. Here’s a brief rundown on what each mean: ‘To love’ means you demonstrate your love. Love is a verb ― an action word. There is no other way to show your spouse you love them except through action.
We love through physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service and gifts. ‘To honor’ is to respect the one you love. You approach them in conversation in a way that shows you want the best for them and don’t want to harm them. ‘To cherish’ means to show your S.O. how much you value them. You treat them as the special person they are – your one and only.
” ― Becky Whetstone, a marriage family therapist in Little Rock, Arkansas
“There’s no problem you can’t resolve when you’re listening to each other and acting a team. Create regular times during the week when you can talk uninterrupted and don’t let a week go by without a date night. Keep listening and understanding each other. Every ounce of listening effort will pay off tenfold.” ― M. Gary Neuman, a psychotherapist based in Miami Beach, Florida
“Couples who are good friends know each other well, give each other the benefit of the doubt and are fond of one another. When you take the time to strengthen your friendship, you’re more successful long-term. Making friendship a priority will help you weather any storm that comes your way.” ― Danielle Kepler, a therapist in Chicago, Illinois
What are the 5 most important things in Relationships?
Relationships are our most prized possession. Be it our parents, siblings, friends or partner – every relationship must be nurtured properly.
Love relationships must particularly be nurtured with utmost care as these are sensitive to them all.
Falling in love takes a moment, getting into a relationship takes some effort but maintaining a relationship with your partner requires a good amount of effort. You need to take care of every single detail to build a strong relationship.
Trust is one of the most important ingredients of a happy and healthy relationship. If you don’t trust your partner and constantly doubt his words and actions you will never be happy. If you have decided to get into a relationship then you must learn to trust as well.
In case, there have been situations that have given rise to mistrust then you should get to the root of it to know the truth and act accordingly.
Doubting your partner and reacting your apprehensions is not the right thing to do. Secondly, as you expect your partner to be loyal and trustworthy, you must yourself possess those traits.
You must be honest and truthful and maintain transparency in relationships.
Respecting the individuality of your partner is another important thing in a relationship. Many people begin to criticize their partners for various things. They fight over dissimilarities and try to change each other. This creates a rift. In order to maintain a healthy and happy relationship, one must respect the opinions and decisions taken by their partner.
If there is no love between the couple, the relationship cannot go on for long. The feeling of mutual love and admiration has to be there in order to keep the relationship strong.
Also, just having the feeling of love is not enough it is equally essential to express love for each other. Let the other person know how you feel for them, how important they are in your life and how you admire their qualities.
The feeling of being loved is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. They will certainly reciprocate these feelings and this will strengthen your bond.
Giving attention to your partner and listening to all that they have to say is as important as expressing your feelings for them. Giving attention makes the other person feel special and loved.
As you listen to what’s going on in their mind and what’s happening in their life every day you will get to know them better and this will lay the basis for a healthy relationship and bring you closer.
This will also give them a sense of security as they will be assured that no matter what there is someone who is always there to listen to them and understand their feelings.
Communication is of utmost importance. Many couples tend to suppress their feelings when they are hurt or angry. They give each other the silent treatment instead of communicating and resolving issues. This makes things worse. Communication is the founding stone of a healthy relationship.
The more you communicate with each other the more you get to understand each other and the better your relationship gets. The more you refrain from communicating your thoughts and feelings to your partner, the more misunderstandings and mistrust is created. Communication is the key to a happy relationship.
However, communication always has to be two way.
So, while love is important for any relationship it alone cannot help establish a strong and long-lasting relationship. Love coupled with trust and respect helps in creating a strong bond.
Apart from this couples must also communicate well with each other and listen to the other person attentively. These simple virtues can make an ordinary couple stand apart.
These are a few things that can help build a lasting relationship.
7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success
Most of us want to meet and settle down with the “right” person and make such a relationship last. Yet 53 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, along with 48 percent in Canada, 47 percent in the U.K., and 43 percent in Australia.
What are some of the most important ideas when it comes to making your love last? Below are seven crucial factors, my book: “7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success”.
1. Do You Trust Your Partner?
Trust is the first and perhaps most important predictor of long-term relational success. Without trust, none of the other six keys that follow will have much meaning. Ask yourself the following questions: In general, is your partner reliable and dependable? Can you count on your partner as the “rock” in your life? Do you play the same role for your partner?
For some, trust is a complicated matter. Some people trust blindly, while others have trust issues. Evaluate your partner’s trustworthiness based not upon unproven promises or wishful thinking, but on a strong overall record of dependability.
2. Are You and Your Partner Compatible in the Dimensions of Intimacy?
Authors Ronald Adler and Russell Proctor II identified four ways with which we can feel closely connected with our significant other. The four dimensions of intimacy are: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Shared Activities.
Here’s a quick exercise to check you and your partner's compatibility in intimacy. List the four dimensions as follows:
Partner A Partner B
Next to each dimension, rank whether this is a “Must” have, “Should” have, or “Could” have for you in your romantic relationship.
After answering for yourself, next ask your partner to rank; or, on your own, put down how you think your partner would prioritize.
The more “must-must” and “must-should” combinations between you and your partner, the greater the possibility of an intimate relationship. Since relationships are not static, a couple may evolve in the dimensions of intimacy.
Understanding one another’s priorities, and connecting in ways that are important to both partners help ensure long-term relational success.
3. What Type of Person Shows Up Within You in this Relationship?
Consider the friends in your life. Do different friends bring out different sides of you? Maybe you’re more reserved with one and more rambunctious with another. Perhaps you’re patient with some and quarrel with others. A friend may trigger your higher or lower tendencies.
Just as a friend can elicit a particular side of you, so does your partner. Consider the following questions: Does my better self show up when I’m with my partner? Does my worse self show up when I’m with my partner? Perhaps it’s a combination of both? If so, what situations tend to bring out a particular side of me? Fundamentally, do I myself in this relationship?
Your honest answers to these questions offer important clues to the long-term health and happiness of your relationship.
4. Does Your Partner’s Communication Lift You Up or Bring You Down?
Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, a foremost expert on couple studies, concluded after over 20 years of research that the single, best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show contempt in the relationship.
Contempt, the opposite of respect, is often expressed via negative judgment, criticism, or sarcasm regarding the worth of an individual. In communication studies, this is known as being “tough on the person, soft on the issue.
” An effective communicator knows how to separate the person from the issue (or behavior), and be soft on the person and firm on the issue.
An ineffective communicator will do the opposite — he or she will literally “get personal” by attacking the person, while minimizing or ignoring the issue.
Ask yourself the following: Does your partner’s communication lift you up, or bring you down? Is your partner’s communication with you “soft on the person, firm on the issue,” or the other way around? What about your communication with your partner?
If your relationship suffers from ineffective communication, the good news is that as long as you and your partner are willing, improvements can be learned quickly and put to use immediately. For more tips on this topic, see my book (click on title): “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People”.
5. How Do You and Your Partner Deal with Conflict in the Relationship?
Couples with poor conflict resolution skills typically engage in Fight, Flight, or Freeze behaviors. They fight and stay mad, sometimes holding grudges for years.
They flight and avoid important issues by sweeping them under the rug. Or, after endless arguments with no resolution in sight, they freeze emotionally and shut down.
Someone who freezes in a relationship typically goes through the motions on the outside, but has stopped caring on the inside.
Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let it go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Even when angry, they find ways to be upset and stay close at the same time.
Once the matter is resolved, they forgive and forget. Most importantly, successful couples have the ability to learn and grow through their interpersonal difficulties.
fine wine, their relationship improves with age and gets better over time.
6. How Do You and Your Partner Handle External Adversity and Crisis Together?
One of the traits of highly successful and enduring relationships is the partners’ ability to stand together in the face of external challenges. A true test of a relationship is whether two people have each others’ back when times are tough.
Consider these questions: Do external adversity and crisis bring you and your partner closer together, or pull you farther apart? In difficult life circumstances, do you and your partner act adults or children? Can you and your partner share the bad times, or only enjoy the good times? As Adler and Proctor II state, “Companions who have endured physical challenges together… form a bond that can last a lifetime.”
7. Do You Have Compatible Financial Values?
Numerous studies have identified disagreements over finances as one of the top reasons couples seek marital counseling, as well as one of the top reasons for divorce.
According to Jeffrey Dew of the National Marriage Project, “Couples who reported disagreeing about finances once a week were over 30 percent more ly to divorce over time than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times per month.”
Differences in financial values often appear early in a relationship.
For example, who pays for the first date? What about the second date? And the third? Is your partner happy when you give a thoughtful but non-monetary birthday gift, or will he or she feel disappointed because you didn't purchase something? Additional questions to consider include: Is your partner generally happy with what he or she owns, or is there a constant, insatiable desire to always acquire more? Are you and your partner able to solve financial difficulties and differences as a team?
Formulating with your partner a viable financial plan, paying attention to patterns of financial discontent, initiating conversations early to resolve differences, and seeking financial or couples counseling when needed are some of the keys to maintaining financial peace.
In closing, whether you’re single, dating, or in a committed relationship, these seven keys to long-term relationship success may serve as a “check-up” of your relational health and well-being.
With self-honesty, openness, and a desire to grow, you can significantly increase the possibility of not only having a wonderful partner in life, but making the love last.
To grow old with your life mate, knowing that in each other’s warm embrace you have found Home.
For more tips on relationship success, see my book (click on title): “7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success”.
© 2012 by Preston C. Ni. All rights reserved worldwide. Copyright violation may subject the violator to legal prosecution.
15 Essential Qualities Of Relationships That Last
Last updated on February 26, 2020
Healthy relationships require something much deeper than just shared interests and strong attachment to each other.
Maintaining a happy, healthy relationship requires you to make daily choices that leave your ego behind and to act in the best interest of your relationship rather than just yourself.
Here are the most important characteristics of a healthy relationship:
Any partner will have qualities, characteristics, and behaviors that push your buttons and test your sanity. To make your relationship last, you have to accept your partner unconditionally—quirks, behavior, flaws, and all. First, you make the commitment to accept them completely. Then, you speak up and say what it is that's bothering you.
Once the chase is over, we often just forget about our partner's feelings and needs. In lasting, healthy relationships, partners value each other and take care with their words, actions, and behaviors. If you want to be with that person each day, make them feel that way.
If you're not willing to share what's going on with you or what you need from your partner, you're not going to get what you need.
Yet people— shame or a habit built over a lifetime of bottling up our feelings—don't want to let anyone else in on what's going on with us.
If you can trust your partner enough to share your feelings, you're more ly to find yourself in a safe relationship that lasts.
You have to be willing to trust your partner not only with your feelings but with your weaknesses. You will have to learn trust at the emotional, physical, and spiritual level. Trust takes practice and is earned one step at a time. Even when trust is broken, you can find a way to repair a breach in trust if you're willing to work on it.
You have to be willing to share what's going on, no matter how ugly. You can't hide behind lies and deception if you want your relationship to last.
If you can't believe your partner when they tell you something, or if your partner is hiding things from you, it's going to be hard for you to feel safe.
Honesty helps foster trust and a belief in each other, which is crucial to making it over the long haul. (Here's what open and honest communication in a relationship looks .)
Empathy means trying to understand what your partner is feeling. It isn't about trying to fix your partner's concerns and problems, necessarily, but about being able to be there for them. If you can pay more attention to what's going on with your partner and strive to see things through their eyes, you will find yourself getting closer over time rather than more distant.
Do all the things for your partner that you would do for your best friend. Try to anticipate their needs. Think about what they need help with and try to be there for them. Cut out the behavior that gets on their nerves, and find ways to uplift your partner. Thoughtfulness, consideration, and kindness is the recipe for lasting relationships.
You have to be committed to your partner, yes. But more than commitment to your partner, you have to be committed to the relationship.
If you think about the health and future of the relationship instead of just your own, you're ly to take more constructive actions and behave differently. It's not just about getting your needs met.
It's about replenishing the fire so your relationship can last.
Thoughtfulness is keeping your partner in mind and striving to do things that will make their lives better.
It's knowing their preferences, opinions, and quirks so you're able to dance with them, not fight them with. The better you know your partner, the more you can practice thoughtfulness.
What can you do today to help them or improve their lives? What can you do today to make your partner's day?
You will be offended and feel hurt many times throughout a relationship. The key is to forgive quickly, let go of grudges, and start over each day. Yes, this is easier said than done, but forgiveness is crucial to the long-term health of the relationship. You have to let go of trespasses and also be willing to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness takes courage, vulnerability, and practice.
It may sound clichéd, but giving up on firm positions, unbendable views of the world, and what you each want to do independently of the other person is another important step to lasting love.
Our egos usually hold us hostage, and we can't get the “win-lose” mentality. Compromise is letting go of what's important to you individually in order to do what is important to the health of the relationship.
It's finding common ground.
Gentleness comes through in thoughts, words, actions, and your general state of being. It's understanding and accepting your partner completely and treating them delicately. It's not yelling, not name-calling, and not being verbally or emotionally harsh with each other.
Gentleness is treating your partner in a respectful, kind, and compassionate way. It's recognizing your soulful connection and appreciating their inherent humanness.
After some time in relationships, we often forget to show love and affection toward our partners. Affection can be as simple as touching, holding, or kissing your partner for no reason at all. It's a warm embrace, a light touch, a loving word, or any other small way you can show your partner that you love them.
To be most affectionate, you have to know how your partner receives love best and do more of that.
Is it a loving word, a thoughtful gesture, help around the house, or doing something special for them? The better you know what your partner enjoys, the more affectionate you can be.
The love languages quiz can help you figure out how you and your partner can most effectively show your love to each other.
We all take our partners for granted sometimes. If you can regularly remind yourself how lucky you are and how valuable your partner is, and tell them so, you will boost the happiness and longevity of your relationship. Partners who stay together appreciate each other and compliment each other. Recognize what your partner is doing, and let them know that you're thankful for it.
Most of the time, people don't really understand us. Everyone has different opinions, and needing to always be right can negatively affect your relationship. Validating your partner shows them that you're on their side.
When you understand and accept what they say, they feel fully seen, heard, and accepted. It's acknowledging what your partner is saying to you and showing them that you get them—you understand what they're saying and experiencing. When you validate, you accept.
And when you accept, you show unconditional love, which is ultimately what keeps people and relationships together in the long run.
Now that you know the characteristics, here are some tips on how to have a healthy relationship.
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