If you really want a successful relationship, science says start doing these 9 things every day

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Ever pondered about the ‘secret’ to a successful relationship?

Well, I certainly have. I’m always curious.

Through my own experiences, countless books, and expert advice, I’ve stumbled upon a few daily habits that have genuinely made a difference in my relationships.

They’re not exactly ‘secrets’, but these simple practices have significantly improved the quality of my interactions and connections.

It was a process of trial, error, and learning. But these particular habits? They’ve revolutionized my approach to relationships, bringing in more satisfaction and joy.

Maybe they can do the same for you.

Ready to find out?

1) Embracing open communication

In an age where everyone seems to have their own language, it’s easy to misunderstand or misinterpret each other. This can lead to unnecessary conflicts and hurt feelings.

Reading “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman was a real eye opener. It showed me that understanding your partner’s language of love and expressing your own in a way they can understand is critical to a successful relationship. 

For me, this goes beyond just expressing feelings or complaints. It’s about creating a safe space where you and your partner can openly share thoughts, ideas, and emotions without judgment or fear.

Open communication sets the foundation for trust and mutual understanding in a relationship. It’s not just about what you say; it’s about how and when you express it.

2) Practicing active listening

As a young adult, I was always keen on sharing my thoughts and ideas, often forgetting to truly listen to what others had to say. It was only when I entered into a serious relationship that I realized the power of active listening.

One day, it dawned on me—I wasn’t fully present in our conversations, making my partner feel unheard and undervalued. This realization was a turning point.

Embarking on a journey to become a better listener, I delved into various resources.

It was when I came across “Just Listen” by Mark Goulston that everything started to make sense. Active listening, he argued, isn’t just about being silent when someone else is speaking—it’s about engaging, empathizing, and responding in a way that makes the other person feel truly heard.

The discipline of tuning into my partner’s words, the patience to let them express themselves fully, and the empathy in understanding their point of view—all of these elements have deepened our connection immensely.

3) Prioritizing quality time

Research from the Gottman Institute, a leading entity in relationship studies, emphasizes the importance of spending quality time together for a successful relationship.

In my early days of dating, I often confused quantity of time with quality. It wasn’t about how much time we spent together, but how we spent that time.

After reading Dr. John Gottman’s work, I realized that it wasn’t about being together 24/7 or doing grand things all the time. Instead, it was about being fully present and engaged during our shared moments, no matter how small or brief they might be.

This practice isn’t just about planning romantic dates; it’s about creating shared experiences and memories that strengthen the bond between you and your partner.

4) Cultivating a gratitude mindset

In a world filled with busyness and distractions, it’s easy to take things, including our relationships, for granted.

I initially found the concept of consciously practicing gratitude slightly clichéd, but it’s since become my grounding force, a catalyst for appreciation and positivity.

As it turns out, it’s not clichéd at all. Research from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley reveals the profound impact of gratitude on relationships.

Every day, I take time to reflect on what I appreciate about my partner. This isn’t just about acknowledging their positive traits or actions; it gives me an opportunity to truly appreciate their presence in my life. 

Cultivating a gratitude mindset has become a tool for relationship enrichment, allowing me to appreciate my partner in new ways and fostering a greater sense of connection between us.

This practice of reflection has also significantly enhanced our relationship’s happiness quotient. By regularly expressing appreciation, we’ve created an environment of mutual respect and admiration.

Moreover, this habit offers a sense of contentment amidst the chaos of life.

It’s a moment of peace where I can reconnect with my feelings for my partner, away from the distractions and demands of the external world.

5) Keeping the fun alive

Ever wonder why the initial stages of a relationship feel so exciting and full of joy?

As time goes on, it’s easy for the thrill and playfulness to fade, replaced by routine and responsibilities.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Rekindling that sense of fun is about incorporating little moments of joy and laughter into our daily lives.

Playing a board game, trying out a new recipe together, or simply sharing a funny anecdote from the day; these seemingly small activities have the power to bring back the excitement and deepen our connection.

Keeping the fun alive is not just about what you do; it’s about how and why you do it. It’s about embracing joy, celebrating each other, and not losing sight of the fun side of love.

By integrating this habit into our relationship, we’ve managed to keep the spark alive and make our journey together even more enjoyable.

Remember, it’s the little things that often make the biggest difference.

6) Regularly showing affection

Picture this: You’ve had a long day, your energy is drained, and you’re feeling disconnected from your partner. Then, a simple hug or a loving word changes everything.

Sounds familiar? That’s the power of affection in a relationship.

Studies have found that physical affection such as hugging and kissing is linked to higher relationship satisfaction.

For me, this habit goes beyond just expressing love—it’s about making my partner feel valued and cherished every single day. It’s about reminding them that they matter to me, irrespective of the ups and downs of life.

Regularly showing affection is not just about what you do—it’s about how sincerely and frequently you do it. It’s about maintaining that emotional connection, even during challenging times.

It’s a small effort with a big payoff—strengthening the bond between us and creating a loving environment where we both feel appreciated and cared for.

7) Embracing vulnerability

It’s easy to present the best version of ourselves to our partners, but true intimacy lies in revealing our authentic selves—flaws and all.

Embracing vulnerability wasn’t easy for me initially. It meant letting down my guard and exposing parts of myself that I’d usually keep hidden.

However, as I started opening up to my partner, it paved the way for deeper connection and mutual trust.

Renowned researcher Brené Brown’s work on vulnerability highlights its power in forging authentic relationships. Her insights resonated with me deeply and pushed me to practice vulnerability in my relationship.

Embracing vulnerability is not just about what you share—it’s about how courageously and genuinely you share it.

It’s about creating a safe space where both you and your partner feel seen and accepted for who you truly are.

8) Respecting personal space

As important as it is to spend quality time together and nurture your bond, it’s equally crucial to respect each other’s personal space.

In the early stages of my relationship, I assumed that spending every waking moment together would strengthen our bond. 

But over time, I realized that maintaining our individuality and respecting each other’s personal space was just as important for our relationship’s health.

Science backs this up. Research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that maintaining a sense of self while in a relationship contributes to its longevity and satisfaction.

This isn’t just about giving each other time apart; it’s about respecting each other’s need for personal growth and self-care.

It’s about understanding that we are two individuals who choose to be together, not two halves completing each other.

Respecting personal space is not just about what you do—it’s about how thoughtfully and consistently you do it. It’s about fostering a relationship where both partners feel free to be themselves and pursue their interests.

By practicing this in our relationship, we’ve managed to maintain our individuality while growing together as a couple.

9) Regularly resolving conflicts

Disagreements and conflicts are part and parcel of any relationship. It’s how we handle them that can make or break our bond.

At the start of our journey, arguments would often escalate, causing unnecessary stress. But over time, we realized the importance of resolving conflicts constructively and regularly.

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, supports this, suggesting that couples who tackle disagreements head-on tend to be happier and healthier.

This habit is more than just about reaching a compromise; it’s about understanding each other’s perspectives, validating feelings, and finding a solution that respects both parties’ needs.

Resolving conflicts regularly is not just about what you do—it’s about how empathetically and patiently you do it. It’s about ensuring that every disagreement strengthens your bond rather than weakening it.

It’s not the absence of conflict but the ability to resolve it that keeps a relationship thriving. After all, disagreements are opportunities for learning, growth, and further understanding each other.

In the end, building a successful relationship isn’t about grand gestures or fairy-tale moments. It’s about daily habits, mutual respect, and genuine love. 

And remember, every relationship is unique—find what works for you and keep nurturing your bond. Because love, like everything else worthwhile in life, takes a bit of work.

Isabella Chase

Isabella Chase, a New York City native, writes about the complexities of modern life and relationships. Her articles draw from her experiences navigating the vibrant and diverse social landscape of the city. Isabella’s insights are about finding harmony in the chaos and building strong, authentic connections in a fast-paced world.

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