PARTNERS SUPPORT EACH OTHER’S OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH – People are more satisfied in a relationship when a partner actively supports their efforts to expand their own horizons.
THEY SHARE THEIR EMOTIONS – It’s not enough to talk with a partner; couples in thriving relationships engage in emotional self-disclosure – the communication of thoughts and ideas with another person.
PARTNERS PAY LESS ATTENTION TO ATTRACTIVE OTHERS – The kind of commitment that appears in thriving relationships activates an implicit attentional block against the allure of attractive alternative partners.
COUPLES SEE THE POSITIVE SIDES TO COMMITMENT – Romantic commitment is multifaceted, reflecting positive, negative, and constraining elements. How people view their commitment predicts the quality of their romantic relationship.
THEY PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION – Good partners are kind to themselves. Being gentle toward oneself after a failure, for example, predicts the types of behaviour that promote healthy relationships – such as offering empathy and concern for a partner in need.
THEY EXPRESS THEIR GRATITUDE – Feeling grateful is one thing, but telling your partner is another. Sharing feelings of gratitude is linked to positive partner perceptions and more willingness to voice relationship concerns.
BOTH FOCUS ON HUMILITY – Those who keep the ego in check are more attractive and are evaluated more positively as potential partners. According to research by Daryl Van Tongeren at Hope College, humility may be an important ingredient for relationship success. In addition, humility is tied to forgiveness, a powerful tool in happy unions.
(This article appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of Psychology Today, courtesy The Everett Collection.)