You’ve seen those pictures of the cute little elderly couple holding hands and smiling sweetly at one another as they celebrate sixty years of being together. They usually get asked the secret to their long relationship. It’s inspiring. Many people wonder what strengthens a connection. So, here are ten habits of strong couples to never ignore.
10 HABITS OF STRONG COUPLES
1 – COMMUNICATE
One of the best practices of strong couples is their ability to communicate with one another. Communicating well means you can share what’s on your heart of mind without fear that the other person will laugh at you. Being vulnerable when you talk with someone deepens your relationship. Things you may want to talk about with your partner include
Communication also means feeling the freedom to share something your partner did that you don’t like without fear of them getting angry at you. One study found that couples who learn how to communicate during a conflict will sustain their relationship. It takes commitment to keep talking during a battle, instead of running away. You may need to take a break to calm down but then get back together later to talk it out. Strong couples value communication and make it work.
2 – RESIST BLAME-SHIFTING
Healthy, strong couples resist the urge to blame-shift. Blame-shifting is easy to slip into if you’re not careful, especially when you’re feeling upset. But it’s a damaging habit to a relationship. If you feel like your partner blames you without taking responsibility for their actions, you should gently push back. Point out their contribution to the problem and own up to your contributions. Tell your partner honestly how it makes you feel when they blame-shift. Sometimes people don’t realize what they’re doing or how they affect others. It’s essential to help them understand how their actions affect you. Stable couples can work through bad habits like blame-shifting and learn to change.
3 – GOOD LISTENING
Listening is an essential skill in any relationship. It shows you care for them enough to hear what they’re saying to you. Checking your emails while they’re talking or glancing at the television while they pour out their heart won’t go over well. Your actions are clearly saying you don’t care. One study found that when a partner shows careful listening as their partner talks, it improves their communication and boosts the overall happiness of the relationship. Healthy couples value good listening and desire to become better listeners.
4 – ASSUME THE BEST ABOUT ONE ANOTHER
Assuming the best about your partner means you aren’t believing that they’re being unfaithful, lying to you, or out to get you. It means you trust them and their choices, and you don’t feel superior to them. This attitude can weaken your relationship. Your partner will feel they can’t do anything without being questioned and mistrusted. Strong couples have mutual trust for one another without jealousy or accusations about intentions.
5 – LAUGH TOGETHER
Strong couples know how to laugh together. They aren’t worried about how the other person will take a joke or loving “put down.” They deliver their humor with kindness, not being mean spirited. They don’t take themselves too seriously so they can’t laugh at themselves. Like the old proverb says, “Laughter is good medicine,” one study revealed that laughter makes you healthier and helps fight stress. A strong couple knows how to use laughing to enhance their relationship and make it more fun.
6 – EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
Supporting your partner emotionally means you encourage them in their difficulties at work or school, or home. Emotional support is essential because you feel like your partner understands you; they want the best for you and will do whatever they can to support you through tough times. Learning how to ask the right questions is vital for couples.
Healthy couples seek to learn how to help one another. They’re continually learning how to improve their relationship by reading books or encouraging quotes, listening to podcasts, or attending seminars on how to build better relationships.
7 – ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
Encouragement is a great way to build up your relationship. It’s something that a lot of couples don’t do. They assume their partner doesn’t need to be encouraged. Studies show that encouragement makes partners feel supported. Here are some encouraging things you can say to your partner.
- I love you
- You are amazing
- I appreciate you did that
- Thank you
- You make me feel loved
- You make me feel cared for
- I’m so glad you are my partner
- I missed you today
- I appreciate your thoughtfulness
8 – HAVE THE SAME FRIENDS
Having your friends is great, but strong couples make it a priority to have shared friends. Hanging out with other couples can help your relationship. As the couples share what’s going on in their relationship, you’ll find out that your relationship has many of the same struggles. You also learn from other couples how not to act. If you notice the cruel way one partner treats their partner, it makes you not want to do that in your relationship.
9 – SHOW RESPECT
Stable couples respect one another. Respect means you regard their feelings, rights, and opinions. Other ways to show respect include
- If your partner asks you to do something they need, you are ready to help them
- No eye-rolling
- No sarcastic or snarky comments
- Patient rather than irritable
- Being compassionate
- Allow them to contribute their ideas freely
- Acknowledge how important they are
- Apologize when you make mistakes
- Take responsibility for hurtful words or actions toward your partner
- Forgive quickly without strings attached
- Show respect in public
10 – COMMITMENT TO THE RELATIONSHIP
One of the best habits of a strong couple is that they are both committed to the relationship. They showed determination from the beginning. They want the partnership to succeed. Here are some ways to tell if your partner is committed to your relationship:
- They build you up, not tear you down
- They say “we” instead of “I”
- Both partners value the relationship
- Don’t look around at other potential choices of partners
- Value the relationship above other relationships
Strong couples are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the relationship. One study found there was greater trust in a relationship for couples as they saw their partner moving away from self-interest for the relationship.