These days it seems like broken relationships are the rule of life.
But I still know happy couples who’ve been together since I can remember and who I can honestly say will probably stay together well into the future.
Here are the top habits of couples who are going to go the distance.
1) Honesty as a policy
Couples that last tell the truth.
But let’s be honest here:
Honesty doesn’t mean talking about everything.
Couples who are going to be in it for the long run tell the truth about important things, but they don’t overshare.
They respect each other’s space and speak honestly when asked, but they don’t treat each other as a ward or someone they’re overseeing.
This ties into the next point…
2) Rock-solid trust levels
Couples who go the distance have rock-solid trust levels.
In fact, the reason there’s no need to share everything and constantly watch each other is that they trust each other for real.
This isn’t trust where you cross your fingers and hope your boyfriend doesn’t text that cute ex.
This is trust where you know he won’t do that or at least that you don’t even worry about it because you’re so sure that he wouldn’t.
Trust is always an act of faith, but for couples who last it’s something they choose to do and stick with.
3) Sharing responsibility
Couples who will never break up share duties.
This will work differently between each couple, of course.
But I have yet to meet a happy couple who lasts where one of those involved sits around or expects the other to pick up all the slack.
Happy couples share responsibilities and have a mutual agreement to do their fair share to contribute to what needs to be done.
This generally means household duties, sharing the financial burden, caring for kids and handling home repairs and maintenance.
Sometimes it ends up along traditional gender lines, sometimes not.
Every couple is different, but those who last share their responsibility.
4) Laughter chemistry
I don’t know any long-lasting and happy couples who don’t laugh together.
Having a shared sense of humor and the ability to make each other laugh is absolutely crucial in being a long-term couple.
Life throws so much at us all, and it’s necessary to have humor about some of it.
Plus things would just be kind of boring without laughing sometimes!
The most boring dates I’ve been out on have been with women where my jokes didn’t land and vice versa.
There are clearly going to be serious times and situations where laughter isn’t called for.
But couples who stay together also laugh together.
5) Actively listening and pay attention
Active listening is hearing what’s being said as well as why it’s being said.
Couples who end up lasting practice communicating and listening in a real way.
They stay connected even when they’re tired and check in daily on how their partner is doing.
They actively listen and pay attention to what’s going on with each other, even at times it might be easier to just not care or not bother.
This makes a big difference.
“Connection is the lifeblood of a vibrant relationship,” notes Reta Walker. “Attention is the food and water of a relationship but it is least likely to get the time it needs.”
6) Include couple rituals
Every successful couple rituals.
They can be small things, but they’re always something:
- Sunday night dinner after cooking together
- Watching a romantic film every Monday night
- Practicing a hobby they both love once a week
- Going to karaoke Fridays at their favorite bar
Whatever the couple ritual is, having one or more is found in relationships that last.
The key element here is that it’s not just the love between the couple keeping the relationship going, it’s also what they actually do together.
By keeping the real-world ties going, a couple continually fans the flames of romance even once some element of the physical passion and novelty of the relationship has worn off.
7) Valuing the moments of connection
When the relationship does have moments of deep connection and euphoria, it’s crucial to value those.
Sometimes couples take the best times for granted and the relationship crumbles partly due to this.
It’s true that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
That’s why the longest lasting couples already keep this in mind and avoid having it ever end in the first place.
They treasure those small and beautiful moments.
“Just as you would pick up a coin or dollar bill if you saw one on the street, think of every potential moment of connection or engagement as something of value, even if it seems small or fleeting.”
On the other hand, couples that last also need to deal with the hard times.
Which brings me to the next point…
8) Weathering the valleys
There are going to be valleys in any relationship.
One of you may be going through something and may be distant. Both of you may be going through things and want to be alone.
There are just so many times that a relationship won’t always be fun (part of why the humor I mentioned earlier is so vital).
The couples who stay together have realistic expectations and ideals about a relationship.
They don’t expect it to always be fun and they’re willing to keep loving even through the pain, including when that means giving some more space.
9) Willingness to apologize
Couples who last aren’t afraid to say sorry.
This requires removing the ego from some situations, because saying sorry can be difficult.
When you have messed up or fallen short in some way, you may feel like “why should I say sorry, my partner already knows.”
But he or she may not know, or might just want to hear it anyway and have you own up to it.
Another issue is when both of you have done things wrong: it takes a lot to be the first person to come forward.
10) Spicing up their intimate life
Love has three elements: mental, physical and emotional.
Couples who last have at least some attraction in each area:
Their minds are able to stimulate each other, they feel emotionally close and affectionate and they also get turned on by each other and want to have sex.
Obviously physical desire varies by each couple, but keeping their intimate life spicy and interesting is a key component.
This doesn’t have to be kinky stuff, but it doesn’t not have to be.
It’s whatever couples find exciting for each other and their intimate life.
11) Courage to do what works for you both
Couples who never break up do things their own way.
The above advice is usually part of their relationship in some way, but successful couples always do it their own way.
They don’t try to make their relationship fit a cookie cutter in any way, nor do they look to other couples or individuals to validate them.
They live and love in the way that works for them and makes sense to them, and talk through the rest.
There are no guarantees in life. We all know that.
Even the greatest relationships sometimes hit the rocks and break up.
But when it comes to cultivating the habits of couples who end up lasting, you can’t go wrong with the guide above.
These are the habits I’ve seen in work in the best relationships I know and they all speak to two key ingredients:
Authenticity and communication.
Be true to yourself and your partner and talk through it, and every relationship that’s meant to last will last.