When you have found that special person, you can feel the sparks are flying. However, a stable relationship is more than holding hands and remembering your first date. So what is the secret to a long-lasting relationship? There is not a magical answer, but some couples have specific habits they practice together without even knowing it.
This article isn’t meant to be a checklist to see if you and your partner pass some type of test. Don’t determine your love for each other off of this list. Instead, keep reading for the top traits found among healthy couples.
1. Relaxing Together
Many people think that they have to be actively doing something with their partner in order to maintain their relationship, but the quiet times matter too. Even just sitting on the couch and watching television together is enough.
If they’re on the bed reading, grab a book and read by their side. Do chores together and help each other out from time to time. Sometimes, it’s just doing the normal things together that matter.
2. Giving Each Other Compliments
Compliments are the quickest way to put a smile on someone’s face, and they mean even more when they come from a significant other. Healthy couples tend to find something appealing about the other person and are willing to let them know that they like it or that they did an excellent job with something.
Even something as small as saying how they look in certain clothes is enough, as it demonstrates to them that you’re paying attention and are thinking about them.
3. Saying “I Love You”
Declaring it the first time is a big step for most couples, but once that threshold has been made, couples tend to forget it or only say it on special occasions. Many people are afraid to say it often as they feel like it and lose its meaning.
However, that is farther from the truth. Looking into your mate’s eyes and saying, “I love you,” even when slipped into any conversation, solidifies it in your mind and your partner’s that your love is deep and continuous.
4. Showing Appreciation
It’s not that hard to show gratitude to the person you’re living with and love. A simple “thank you” for completing a chore around the house deserves some appreciation. Forget about arguing over who’s turn it is to do the dishes. Pointing blame goes nowhere.
Thank you goes a long way in keeping the relationship healthy because it demonstrates that no one is taking the other person for granted. Saying thank you also shows that you respect them, and you will be respected in kind.
5. Having Public Displays of Affection
Healthy couples want to show the world that they love each other in their own unique ways. It’s not just for lovey-dovey teenagers either who are in the honeymoon stage of their relationships. Holding hands or kissing provides a feeling of connection that they like to lean on, even in public.
It also demonstrates to both parties that the other is willing to be vulnerable in front of other people, which can establish or strengthen the trust between them.
6. Checking on One Another
We don’t mean texting 24/7. However, healthy, happy couples are known to share text messages and pictures of random things throughout their day when they’re not together. It lets the other know that they’re thinking about them or that they found something that reminds them of their partner.
Moreover, when they don’t have anything to really say? Sending funny jokes they found on the internet seems to be a close second in messages they send each other.
7. Going to Bed at the Same Time
This habit between happy couples doesn’t mean that they necessarily fall asleep at the same time. However, winding down for the night together brings a sense of peace over the couple. It also establishes trust between them, which is essential in any healthy relationship.
Going to bed together also gives them time to talk about their day together, whether it was something the other accomplished or to make plans on what to do tomorrow. This helpful hint also gives them time to have a quickie, if they’re in the mood.
8. Laughing Together
Living your everyday lives together can make it hard to find time for each other. There are chores to get done, schedules to keep, and pressing matters to discuss. But what every healthy couple does to ease the tension is to laugh together.
Laughing not only adds joy to the relationship, but it also keeps things light when things are dangerous. Just don’t have lousy timing; pulling a prank or teasing is going to have the opposite effect if your partner is solemn about something.
9. Sharing a Hobby
Happy couples usually take up hobbies that they can do together. They have common interests that they like to share because it makes them feel connected.
That doesn’t mean that you have to do everything together. However, sharing a few common interests or trying to get involved in a partner’s interests can bring you closer and give you something to talk about together.
10. Asking for What You Need
Couples in a healthy relationship ask for what they want, and they listen to each other’s requests. It’s better to be authentic with your feelings than to expect them to read your mind all the time. That’s now how people work.
Openly talking about their feelings and what they expect from the other person will create a middle ground that they can both come to instead of butting heads and never arriving at solutions. This habit goes back to saying “thank you” when your partner does what you ask too, as they’re more likely to please you since they feel validated.
11. Working as a Team
They work together in all things that they do, lifting each other so that they can become stronger together. Personal needs are essential, but your wants shouldn’t override the other.
It starts with trust first so that you can function together as a unit when it’s called upon. Always battling each other means that there will forever be a winner and a loser, and that’s not healthy for any relationship.
12. Giving Without Expecting Anything in Return
In a relationship that’s not healthy, someone uses giving as a tool to get something in return. That makes the connection very one-sided and dishonest. Happy relationships, on the other hand, involve giving without expecting compensation of any kind.
Giving a gift just because you want to, no matter how small it is, tells your partner that you care and are thinking about them. The most you should expect in return is a thank you and nothing else.
13. Realizing that Potential is Not Paramount
You should not love someone for their potential, but for the person that they indeed are. Healthy relationships are focused on the person as a whole, not how their situation can bring about improvement to your life.
Many selfish people try to change their partners to become people they want them to be or could one day become. That creates expectations that could never be met, leading to dissatisfaction.
14. Considering the Relationship a Safe Space
Happy couples look to the relationship as a getaway from all the problems going on in their lives. The relationship becomes a bubble where they can share their concerns, knowing that they won’t be divulged to other people.
The creation of this safe space does require much mutual understanding and being judgment-free. The breaking of that understanding and trust will only lead to the entire relationship falling apart.
15. Fixing, Not Fighting
When a problem arises, a healthy relationship looks to solve the problem, not point fingers. Shifting blame back and forth only makes the situation worse until you have a full-blown argument on your hands.
Finding a solution, on the other hand, means that you’re listening to what the other person is saying and wanting to find the means to make both of you happy in the process. Again, it shouldn’t be about winning or losing, as no one should have the upper hand in a relationship.
16. Finding Common Ground, Not Competition
Those in a healthy relationship work towards a common goal rather than fighting to be on top. Actions are taken to bring the partnership to the forefront towards success. Any individual success is one for the team as a whole.
Self-interested parties, on the other hand, require that one person sacrifices their own dreams for another person. That can lead to a lot of resentment that can foster itself into hatred over time.
17. Seeing the Best, Not the WorstAppreciating what’s good about the other person will create positive energy between the two of you. Moreover, they’ll come to understand what’s good about you too.
Nitpicking on bad points is an excellent way for the relationship to spiral towards disaster and come to an end more quickly than you imagine. By accepting that no one is perfect, happy couples learn to accept each other for all their faults and work on improving them.
18. Avoiding Generalized PatternsHealthy, happy relationships don’t make sweeping statements such as “you never” or “you always” to explain their partners’ behaviors away. It can be easy to lump specific actions into patterns and slap labels on them, but doing that won’t help anyway.
It will also make the other person feel like that nothing they do is right if everything they do is going to be unappreciated. They much prefer to treat each instance as a unique event so that it can be dealt with appropriately.
19. Learning to GrowAs was said earlier, no one is perfect. At the same time, couples shouldn’t rely on their partners as excuses for their lack of growth. Personal growth is always significant, but it’s easy to lose one’s self in the relationship.
The relationship should be treated as a part of someone’s life, not the basis for it. It should help a person to evolve into a better version of them, not smother them from having a personal experience.
20. Focusing Less on the NegativesBecause a healthy, happy relationship is centered on the mutual happiness of both parties involved, they tend to make requests that aren’t wholly negative. Instead of saying that they spend too much time with one side of the family and not enough with the other, they word it differently to be more positive, that they want to spend more time with their family.
It takes practice and understanding to get this right, and it just comes naturally to some people. A more positive approach tends to bring about a more peaceful mindset instead of your partner waging for war.
21. Avoiding Passive-Aggressive BehaviorHealthy communication brings the needs and interests of both parties to light. Being passive-aggressive, on the other hand, fosters an air of distrust and apathy that can smother a relationship.
It will also put the other party on guard that they can never know what you really feel or think; you will not know how to make you happy in the future. It’s better to just get it out in the open instead of bottling it inside and pretending as if everything is fine.
22. Doing All of the Little ThingsEven if couples don’t say “I love you” every single day, there are small acts that they do for each other that demonstrates that they do. Small acts of kindness, such as picking up a pint of their favorite ice cream at the grocery store, are something that sticks with loved ones forever.
Grand, sweeping gestures are sweet and even brilliant, but doing that every day can be a little over the top. Putting in the effort to demonstrate that you care means more than you can imagine.
23. Not Taking Choices PersonallyCouples tend to think that the decisions and actions of their partners are personal attacks on them when that isn’t the case. You’ve created this life together, so how could you not? The answer to that is easy: please don’t make it your problem.
If your partner is doing things that you think they should change, have a conversation with them, but it’s ultimately their decision to change. It shouldn’t be your problem anymore if they decide not to. If their choice makes the relationship feel draining, then things have definitely become unhealthy.
24. Apologizing When It’s ImportantSaying “sorry” out of the blue doesn’t fix the problem, make it go away, or make you the right person in an argument. The point of apologizing is to show that you care and that you regret that things have devolved.
It’s even less about faults and who did what; healthy partners understand that concept. Good apologies should accept responsibility rather than add a qualification. Another important notion about apologizing is being able to accept it. You can prove your acceptance by moving on and not bringing up past fights during new arguments.
25. Practicing Personal Self-CareA healthy approach to a happy bond is for it to reflect the joy of the individuals involved, not to expect the relationship to create happiness. If things are not going well in a relationship, then it is a reflection of the people in it.
That’s why healthy relationships are created by those who practice self-care on themselves as individuals. This self-care helps to remove any negativity before it taints the relationship itself.
26. Not Letting Outsiders Call the ShotsA partnership can look weird from the outside, but that’s no one’s call to make on whether it’s healthy or not (other than the obvious signs that a relationship is abusive). That’s why it’s not always great advice for couples to let others dictate how their relationship should go.
A healthy, happy relationship is created by raising issues with your partner rather than seeking advice from the outside. Talk it out and see where common ground is; ignore those on the outside who don’t know the intricate details of your relationship.
27. Being Keen ListenersHappy couples listen to each other first before responding. They allow each other to get their words out before offering their own feelings on a matter. Being without judgment is also important because not everyone is going to think the same way.
Adopting the perspective of your partner will help you to understand why they think the way they do so that there can be some mutual understanding. Listening first also minimizes the chances of you reacting in anger first.
28. Cheering for Each OtherNo matter what it is they’re doing, they always have each other’s back. Partners should want each other to succeed in whatever endeavor they’ve taken upon themselves.
Happy relationships cheer for their victories and are there to offer their support when things don’t go their way. They’re encouraging each other through the hard times and boosting their self-esteem to keep going because they want that person to succeed.
29. Playing No GamesNo, we are not talking about board games or card night! Couples that love each other don’t play games with each other’s hearts and heads. Playing with someone’s emotions, lying, and cheating only serve the purpose of making things worse. It creates distrust and hurts the other person involved.
Healthy couples prefer to face each other with honesty in their hearts so that there are no secrets between them. Getting each other riled up about past fights or trying to be spiteful is a big no-no. Happy relationships only want what is best for the other person, and it is reflected through constant respect and kindness.