Time flies when you’re in love, and if you’ve made it to your 1st anniversary as a couple, you know a few things you didn’t know before. You and your partner are two different people who somehow made it work despite the odds and past failed relationships.

Congratulate yourselves on reaching this couple milestone. It didn’t always come easy, but being in love made it easier. If you could pass on what you’ve learned, you’d tell new couples that every couple should know at least five things by their 1st anniversary.

5 Things Every Couple Should Know by Their 1st Anniversary

Great advice for every new couple.

fighting about money
1. How to Fight Fair.

You won’t always agree on things, and when you don’t, there can be raised voices and hurtful words. You’ve survived at least one major blowup by now, and you learned a lot about each other in the process. You now know your partner’s hot-button issues, and they know yours.

Couples in longer-term relationships know that frustration is an emotion that rears its ugly head occasionally. Part of being a successful couple is compromising to make you both happy. But that means giving up some things that you liked but your partner didn’t.

Psychologist Dr. Nathan Cobb has nine rules of fair fighting that avoid yelling, foul language, and blaming to help couples learn to achieve greater closeness by reaching a mutual understanding. You can read his rules for fighting fairly in this link.

At this point in your relationship, when a fight happens, you both make your cases and somehow come to an agreement or an impasse. Arguing teaches couples about the importance of good communication. Advanced couples learn how to prevent a fight from happening in the first place, but don’t rush the process. You’ll get there eventually.

2. How to Make Your Partner Laugh.

Humor in a relationship is so important. Teasing, joking, flirting, and playing are the highlights of your relationship. Whether your partner is down and needs a smile or you love to see them giggle, you learn what makes them laugh once you’ve been with someone for a while.

Couples who play together stay together, and the more fun they have, the more relationship happiness they seem to enjoy. According to a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, sharing new and exciting activities is consistently associated with better relationships. Having fun creates a positive environment without stress where couples can connect.

A relationship takes work, and the most valuable thing that you can do for each other is give your time. Time spent doing activities you enjoy creates a bond over shared experiences. Howard Markman, a psychologist at the University of Denver’s Center for Marital and Family Studies, says, ‘The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time.’

3. How to Handle a Setback.

Life is not always a bowl of cherries. Sometimes there are major pits to deal with. As a committed couple, you work together to get over the problems that you face together. Whether it’s the loss of a job, an illness, or the loss of an aging relative, by your 1st anniversary, you’ve had at least one major negative event in your lives as a couple.

How you respond when something bad happens is key to the health of your future relationship. Loving partners provide emotional support to each other in times of hardship. You both work through the emotional pain of the loss and remind each other of better times.

Successfully dealing with a negative event in your life is a hurdle that you have to face. Now that you’ve done it, you know that you can handle anything that life throws at you, and you’ll be stronger together as a result.

4. What is Most Important to Your Partner.

Interests, goals, beliefs, and values; by your 1st anniversary, you know all of these for your partner. It’s part of what makes them the fascinating person that you fell in love with. You know what makes each other tick at this point in your relationship.

While getting to know each other, you learned about your partner’s political views, their culture, family history, medical history, and why their past relationships failed. As much as you know about your partner, there are still new ways for them to surprise you, and that’s part of what your future together will hold.

5. How to be Intimate in Many Ways.

Couples who make it to their 1st anniversary know that although their initial passion kept the flame of love burning brightly, things cooled off slightly in the following months. You know how to turn each other on, but now you also know that intimacy isn’t just about having sex.

Long-term couples find many ways to be intimate beyond sex. Holding hands, cuddling, and massages, as well as daily hugs and kisses, are all a part of successful intimate partnerships. Just touching your partner shows them that you care about being connected to them physically and nurtures that intimate bond.