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 the following:
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.
All relationships need to grow stronger. Even small things can make a big difference in a relationship. Here are some simple ways to strengthen your relationship.
- Have a date night-Getting out once a week to do something as a couple will enhance your relationship.
- Small things are meaningful-Little gifts, flowers or a dessert can be meaningful
- Call or text-Reaching out to your partner to say hello means a lot to your partner
- Ask questions-Even after being together for years. You can learn something about your partner
- Show affection on a regular basis-Affection is critical for a couple. Without love, you may as well have a business relationship
- Get time for yourself, too-Being a couple is important, but you need time alone, too. Get out once awhile on your one for a meal with a friend or family member.
Strong couples are easy to spot. You can’t ignore them. They’re the ones who show one another respect in public, listen to one another, and are committed to making their relationship successful. They communicate well. They’re easy to spot because they don’t care what others say about them; they care more about one another and what the other partner thinks is important.
These partners stick together through the tough times. They find ways to grow their relationship, so it’s even stronger. Strong couples get old and gray together, and that’s something to never ignore.
Connect with your partner by asking questions
Our needs, dreams, and goals change in life. Strong partners keep attuned to those shifts. Ask questions to ensure you remain aware of your spouse’s evolving needs!
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with good questions. Here’s some you might want to ask your partner.
- What would a romantic night look like to you?
- Do you have any fears?
- If you had an hour and wouldn’t get interrupted, what would you do?
- Is there something I could do to help you with work, school, the house?
- What do you sometimes feel anxious about?
- Is there something you wish I did more? Less?
- Do you feel like I meet your needs?
- Am I affectionate enough?
- Can you count on me?
- Are you happy with our sex life? How can I help make it better?
- Would you like to be a singer? An actor?
- What is a perfect day, in your opinion?
- What’s your favorite song? A beloved cartoon character?
- If you were on a desert island, what two foods would you want to have with you?
- What’s the worse experience you had in elementary school?
- What do you think is vital in friendships?
- What’s your most treasured childhood toy?
- What was your most embarrassing moment in high school? College?
- When was the last time you cried in public?
- Who was your favorite teacher in middle school? Why?
- What was your favorite pet growing up?
- If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
- Who is the most influential person in your life?
Others around them may envy strong couples. But the underlying truth is clear. They work hard together to maintain that happy status. Every relationship deserves such thoughtfulness and care. And any couple who wants to strengthen their partnership can apply these same principles.