10 Relationship Experts Reveal The Small Patterns Of Couples Who Stay Married For Life

These habits give a relationship the chance to last a lifetime.

smiling couple PeopleImages.com - Yuri A / Shutterstock

While there is no formula for a perfect marriage, small, meaningful habits that couples practice and perfect over the years give their relationship the chance to last a lifetime.

Research by relationship experts such as John Gottman reveals that the true bonding element for couples who last is not the grand gesture or the lavish vacation. It's not even shared parenthood or establishing a comfortable home life.


Here's what matters: the little things we do every day. They give a relationship its contours and create a context for lasting love.

It's the smile and murmur of thanks when he does something small that you appreciate. It's the hug and kiss goodbye when you leave for work in the morning — and the hug and kiss hello when you get home.

It's washing the dishes or folding the laundry together. It's offering to walk the dog in the snow.

It's reaching for her hand as you walk side by side.

With this in mind, we asked YourTango Experts to reveal the small, everyday patterns of couples who stay married for life.


RELATED: 8 Sweet Ways Happily Married Couples Stay Happy Together

Here are 10 small patterns of couples who stay married for a lifetime, as revealed by Yourtango relationship experts:

1. They show their appreciation

One small habit for happy couples is taking the time to appreciate each other.

My husband and I still say please and thank you, and I share how much I appreciate him whenever the opportunity arises.


Appreciation goes a long way to keep warmth and love alive.

- Ronnie Ann Ryan, intuitive coach

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2. They do the little things for each other

Find that one thing your partner loves and do that thing for them daily (or as often as possible). My husband makes me coffee just about every morning, it's our little ritual of love.

- Cyndera Quackenbush, writer, card reader

3. They use the right words

Words of affirmation are an effective daily habit to implement if you want to stay married for life.

Words of kindness and admiration allow our spouses to know that they are adored, accepted, valued, and loved.


It fills our love tanks and allows us to want to thrive and continue to be our best selves individually and in the marriage. Of course, the opposite is true when we don’t have a kind or nice word to say about our spouse it makes them feel unappreciated and devalued.

Couples in long-lasting relationships say thank you and I love you and I appreciate you. Words are very powerful as they can lift up or tear down.

- Dr. Susan Pazak, clinical psychologist and life coach

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4. They show affection easily

Common courtesy like always saying “thank you for….” Daily or nightly check-ins; Listening and remembering details and promises. Keeping promises. Cultivating new and common interests.


Showing affection in whatever way is easy and comfortable for each of you.

- Bill Meleney, marriage and family therapist

5. They keep their love fresh with creativity

My favorite habit is to keep wooing each other.

Take a day every week or every other week to make a date night.

Have fun with it. Get creative. Stay away from “the usual.”

Most couples transition into a different lifestyle after they are married, which becomes routine and runs the risk of becoming boring.

We have a need for certainty but we also have a need for uncertainty. Be mindful of both.

- Erika Jordan, love coach, NLP

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6. They always say 'good night'

One of the most important habits that couples who stay together for life practice are to take a moment to say good night.

Couples in healthy relationships prioritize spending quality time with one another and make sure their last thought of the day is one shared in mutual love.

Saying good night is not only a potent signifier of endearment but a tangible reminder that your partner cares about you and your relationship.

Although this gesture may seem small, it can create strong bonds and reinforce feelings of security within the relationship — something essential in any long-lasting union.

- Clare Waismann, founder of Waismann Method Rapid Detox Specialists and Domus Retreat


7. They laugh together

A small habit that keeps a marriage going is humor.

Make a mistake, admit it, and have a good laugh. See a funny cartoon, and make sure you share it with your spouse.

Have a crazy funny thought? Couldn't share it with anyone else? Make sure you share it with your spouse and have another laugh together.

Laughter reminds us that much of life is worth fighting for, not fighting about.

-  Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, EdD, psychologist 

8. They treat each other with kindness

Kindness as a bonding agent for lifelong marriage is key.

Maya Angelou is often quoted as reminding us that, "... People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."


Offering your partner kind words, gestures, or assistance on that project that is overwhelming for them isn't really about any of these acts.

It's about the result of your partner feeling support and love as a result of your kindness.

Kindness in the context of a committed relationship builds trust, it reassures anxious souls and it bonds partners in a way that other acts may not.

- Angela Bixby, consciousness coach, psychic/medium


RELATED: 20 Couples Reveal What They've Done To Make Their Marriage Last This Long

9. They are always there for each other

A small habit that goes a long way to staying married the rest of your life is being present.

Really slowing down and listening to your partner, making eye contact, not interrupting, and acknowledging that you hear them without judgment or trying to fix things for them.

One of the main reasons that couples' eyes wander or that they stray, is that they don't feel heard or understood.

- Marla Martenson, life coach, matchmaker

RELATED: 8 Communication Skills That All Happily Married Couples Know

10. They never take each other for granted

Daily connection with appreciation is the secret sauce to a happy, lasting marriage.


Don’t take your partner for granted. Every day, take time to be fully present with each other, share a touch or hug, and say thank you, I love you, I’m grateful for your help, or I appreciate you.

Notice the small things and let your partner know you appreciate the grocery shopping, dishwashing, picking up the kids from school…also the backrubs, date nights, vacation planning, and more.

Practice this small habit daily and you’ll have a chance to stay happily married for life.

Dr. Wendy Lyon, psychologist, master certified relationship coach

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Carter Gaddis is the senior editor for experts and wellness with YourTango.