6 Things Successful Couples Do That Help Them Stay Together

Happy couple

Here’s how to have a successful relationship| LittleBee80/iStock/Getty Images

After you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you and your partner will hit a rough patch every now and then. The important part is how you navigate that rough time. Some couples move through conflict with ease while others buckle under the pressure.

One reason some couples survive life’s ups and downs is because they’re mindful of how they treat each other. The most successful couples make an effort to consistently nourish the relationship. If you want your union to last, it will be important to work on developing your relationship skills.

Here are six things successful couples do that help them stay together.

1. They don’t take each other for granted

Successful couples show their appreciation for one another every chance they get. They don’t take each other for granted and they realize each day with their partner is a gift to be celebrated. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia found that expressions of gratitude could predict the quality of a marriage. “We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influence how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last,” said Ted Futris, the study’s co-author, in a statement.

2. They’re kind to each other

Couples who have relationships that work are kind to each other. They choose kindness even when they are angry. An argument doesn’t turn into a shouting match where each person is vying to be right. Instead, disagreements are seen as opportunities for understanding. Sanaa Hyder, a psychotherapist as well as an author at The Gottman Institute, writes on the institute’s blog that practicing kindness can be as simple as mentioning nice things your partner does.

Remind yourself of the nice things your partner has done each day. For instance, did they take out the recycling or come home early one night for dinner? However small the action, make it a habit of noticing the kindness as it is happening and make a mental note of how happy it makes you feel. When you see your partner, mention it to them. Noticing the good things about your partner helps to keep you in what Dr. John Gottman calls the Positive Perspective or Positive Sentiment Override. It is a sense of hopeful well-being that arises from positive thoughts and positive interactions.

3. They pay attention to each other

Successful couples have perfected the art of listening to each other and being aware of one another. They know how to resolve conflict by attempting to learn each other’s needs and making an effort to fulfill those needs as best they can. In his book, The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman describes these basic needs (or love languages as he refers to them) as words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

4. They have compassion

Successful couples gracefully repair relationship ruptures. Instead of walking out of the room in a huff or giving the silent treatment, these couples pause and smooth out their differences with love and care. Letting things “blow over” isn’t their style. Rather, they intentionally work on resolving a relationship disruption by letting each other know how they feel and making an effort to repair what isn’t working in the relationship. They honor each other’s feelings and move forward by talking through their issues and doing what they can to alleviate emotional pain.

5. They’re playful

Successful couples, although generally happy, understand relationships can be tough. Consequently, they know how to diffuse tension with playfulness and a bit of humor when needed. A dose of laughter is one of the key ingredients to their recipe for a fruitful partnership.

Author and therapist Enda Junkins said she believes seriousness is the killer of many joyful relationships. “It is my belief that it is overwhelming and enforced seriousness in relationships that brings unhappiness and divorce. For many different reasons, we give up a playful attitude toward life together and the laughter it brings. Without laughter, we lose our perspective about things so our issues are always “in our face.” It’s no wonder we eventually want out,” said Junkins in her book Belly Laughter in Relationships: Something Else Positive Below the Belt.

6. They’re committed

Couples who enjoy a satisfying partnership are committed to each other and the health of their relationship. Their goal is to stick it out even when things get tough. Most importantly, they choose to love each other even when they don’t like each other. Their relationship is a top priority.

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