‘Till death do us part is a commitment that takes more than a little effort from both partners. If you’re hoping to stay together with your partner long-term, then hopefully you’re up to that challenge. Arming yourself with a positive attitude, devotion and a willingness to put in the effort to make it work is a good part of what keeps couples together.

Couples who are successful at staying together have found a way to blend two unique personalities into one united family. Whether you yourself are part of a long-term couple or you’d like to be, here are 5 things that couples who stay together do often.

5 Things Couples Who Stay Together Do Often

couples who stay together

1. Embrace New Experiences

Couples who play together stay together.

A German study found that couples who were more open to new experiences were more likely to be married longer term. The researchers looked at openness as a personality trait which both members of the couple shared. Personality similarity seemed to be an important factor for couples who stay together.

One of the challenges that long-term couples face is maintaining the spark that initially brought them together. When they choose to seek out new experiences, the excitement of that challenge helps them to bond in a new way. For example, couples who try a sport together for the first time learn good sportsmanship which can help them during their next argument.

2. Communicate Positively.

No one wants to stay in a relationship where arguing happens too often. Anger and resentment are emotions that drive couples apart. Disagreements will happen in any partnership, but fighting fairly in a positive way is something that couples who stay together have learned to do. You can read more about how to fight fair here.

Even if you aren’t fighting with your partner, the way in which you communicate can help or hurt the likelihood of you staying together. A positive communication style is one where each person acknowledges, respects and learns from the other. Couples who stay together don’t use demeaning language or make their partner feel like they are less than themselves.

Not only is positive communication important when speaking, it is also important non-verbally. In a study in the journal Human Communication, researchers found that communicating non-verbally in a positive way also increased relationship satisfaction and longevity. These non-verbal behaviors include touching, smiling, nodding, and making eye contact.

3. Listen For Understanding.

“It’s not at all hard to understand a person; it’s only hard to listen without bias.” – Criss Jami

It’s difficult to listen to someone without automatically thinking of what we want to say in response. Couples who stay together long term work to understand their partners, then after they know their partner’s meaning, they work on being understood themselves. Listening to understand someone fully requires us to put aside our own agenda until we really know what feelings and meaning our partner is trying to communicate.

Rather than being a give and take, listening deeply is a gift that you give to your partner. Your full attention should be focused on your partner when they speak. Your body language should also show that you are listening with eye contact, nodding and appropriate facial expressions. You can read more about effective listening here.

4. Find a Win-Win Compromise.

Couples who stay together know that neither of them can have things their way all the time. When disputes pop up in a relationship, it’s time to find a compromise that works for both partners. Couples who stay together compromise effectively to make sure that both of them have their needs met. They may sacrifice a little in the negotiating process, but they work together to make sure that both of them are happy in the end.

Compromise is a way for couples to solve problems creatively. They ask themselves, “How can we solve this so we are both happy?” By having a discussion that is focused on solutions, they can often find one that will benefit both partners.

5. Enjoy Spontaneous Fun.

Couples who stay together know that quality time that they spend together is more important that the quantity of time together. When they are together, loving partners make an effort to pack as much teasing, playing, flirting, touching, smiling and laughing into each hour as they possibly can.

You know these couples when you see them because they have inside jokes that no one else could possibly understand. They share a laugh over burning the dinner and having to order take out. Other people admire the playful way that they tease each other as they tell their shared stories.

Final Thoughts on the Things Couples Do to Stay Together for the Long Haul

For couples who stay together, fun is its’ own reward; the more fun that couples have, the more often they want to spend time together. The positive interactions that they share work like a reinforcement of their behavior. They feel good when they are with their partner, so they want more of that positive emotion. The reward for both of them is a stronger relationship.