1. Highly successful couples are intentional about their greetings and goodbyes
Success in marriage requires prioritizing your relationship each and every day. Being intentional about your greetings and goodbyes is a small way to practice this. When you kiss or hug your partner upon leaving/coming home, it sets your relationship up for success. It says “I value you” and “I choose you.” The longer you hug/kiss, the better it is for your connection (and your sex life).
2. They don’t let arguments get the best of them
All couples fight. If you’re fighting, it means that you care enough about your partner and the relationship to dig in your heels for it. (The caveat to this statement is when someone is using power and control to manipulate and intimidate their partner. That’s not love, that’s domestic violence). When couples stop fighting, it usually means one or both has given up on the relationship.
Now you may wonder, “If all couples fight, what do successful couples do differently during arguments?” These couples maintain positivity towards one another (and often humor) during disagreements. They don’t try to “win” but instead find a compromise. They hold firm on nonnegotiables and give on other areas. They listen to their partner’s point of view, avoid criticizing and blaming, and they self-soothe. And afterwards they repair. They reach out and show their partner that they love them.
3. They turn towards one another
Couples routinely reach out for one another with small comments, jokes, statements, and physical touch. Highly successful couples reach back. They respond to their partners bids for connection (and initiate their own) routinely. They know that their partner is there for them. And they are there for their partner.
4. They take responsibility and own their stuff
People’s reactions have more to do with their own emotional state than what their partner did “to provoke them.” Knowing your baggage, owning it, and being able to calmly convey why you are triggered is a habit of highly successful couples.
5. They practice gratitude
Couples who are on the verge of breaking up see very little that they like about their partner. Highly successful couples, on the other hand, focus on their partner’s positive traits and are grateful for these things. When we focus on the positives, we notice more positives. When we fixate on the negatives, we mostly see negatives. Highly successful couples see their partner and their relationship in a positive light. But even more than that, they are grateful for other things in their life. Their partner is not their be-all-end-all. Their relationship looks like a Venn diagram and they have a fulfilling life outside of it via friendships, family, and hobbies.
6. They are comfortable talking about, advocating for, and negotiating sex
It’s amazing how few couples talk about sex. We all have it. Many enjoy it. But our Puritan roots run deep and we don’t often talk about it. Highly successful couples talk about it, advocate for it, negotiate when/what/where, and are able to turn down their partner with grace. Shaming has no place in the bedroom. Highly successful couples can negotiate their mismatched libidos by attending to each other’s needs without disregarding their own. Intercourse isn’t the only way to get your partner off.
7. Highly successful couples are transparent about their expectations and are open to accepting their partner’s influence
If you’ve been following my blog, you already know the biggest predictors of divorce. But did you know that ultimately marriages end because of unmet expectations? Being clear on your expectations for the relationship helps head off disappointments down the line. Truly successful couples are clear on their expectations but they are also flexible and accept their partner’s influence. Highly successful couples are open to hearing and trying to understand and accommodate their partner’s point of view. They know when they need to hold firm and when they are able to give on things. They are master communicators.