This is what the REAL thing looks like.
Some couples have that glow. That glow that makes you wonder what it is they're doing differently. Their relationship seems effortless. Everyone who knows them describes them as the 'perfect couple' and they use terms like 'soul mates' or 'meant to be'. But the truth is, it's very unlikely that it's as 'effortless' as it seems.
Great couples put in hard work and dedication to keep their relationship running smoothly. But what does that look like? Well, everyone's work is going to be a little bit different, but I've boiled it down to five core habits that are a must-have in any successful relationship.
1. They always tell the FULL truth.
Sure. Honesty. I think we've all heard that it's the best policy, but sometimes we skirt around telling the full story.
Without total transparency in a relationship, it will fail. It really is as black and white as that. And that doesn't mean you have to describe, in detail, every moment of everything you've ever done and plan to do with your partner. But, it does mean full disclosure of things that are important.
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You should be able to discuss all the big topics … communication, finances, how you saw your ex on the street and felt kind of weird about it. If you feel like you're holding something back, then you probably are. It's as simple as that.
2. They spend time together.
That's right! All the closest couples actually spend time together. Shocker.
You need to carve out time in your schedule to be together. No phones. No business. No kids. No excuses. Only dedicated one-on-one time between you and your partner.
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It really doesn't matter what you do. It doesn't have to be a lavish date. It could be as simple as sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and breaking down your day for one another. As long as that time is completely yours. This is the intimacy that holds your relationship together. And if this time ends in sex ... even better.
3. They're not scared to spend some time apart.
Independence from your partner is just as important as intimacy in a relationship.
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We need time to connect with ourselves, just as much as we need to connect with our partners. There will always be a certain amount of healthy interdependence in a relationship (otherwise it wouldn't hurt at all when you broke up) but we should always maintain our sense of self. If you don't, you start to depend on your partner to keep you entertained. It becomes their job to create joy in your life and no one has the bandwidth for that.
4. They are kind to one another.
No one can push our buttons better than our significant other. Because we have such a deep connection with our partners, we tend to think that they will forgive us for almost anything. And sometimes that means we're less than sympathetic to their needs. When your partner becomes a little harsh with you, it's best to broach the situation by assuming that they have the best of intentions. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps you're hearing a tone in their voice that they're not even intentionally putting forward. Maybe they're thinking about something else that is frustrating them.
Another way to show kindness is to always fight fair. And you know when you're not. It's that brief second when you’re about to bring up something they did six months ago, or compare them to one of their parents... your body has this 'I really shouldn't say this' moment seconds before it comes spewing out of your mouth. Listen to your body. Are you bringing your emotions to the table so that you can be seen and heard? Or are you setting out to intentionally hurt your partner?
5. They make sure to show their appreciation.
I want to make something clear. Telling someone you love them, is not showing appreciation. It can be part of it, but the stand alone statement of 'I love you' can get a little worn out in a long term relationship. After awhile, you have to find more creative ways to really SHOW your love and appreciation. Which can still be a verbal thing.
If you come home to a clean kitchen, take note of it and say something. "I noticed you took the time to clean the kitchen today. I know we had a huge dinner last night and I really appreciate you taking on that job."
Make sure they know you've noticed how hard they've been working. "I can tell that you've been really stressed lately with work and I want you to know that I love and respect your drive so much. I really do believe you can achieve anything you put your mind to."
Or just remind them that you find them attractive. "Your butt looks ridiculously amazing in those pants. I want to chew on it."
Any verbal praise and appreciation is always... well... appreciated. And, if you're looking for ways to show your love in a more obvious way, check out my book on romantic gestures for a few ideas.
Really working at infusing these habits into your day to day life will make a world of difference.
Send this article to your partner and make a plan to start implementing them this week!