There’s no such thing as the perfect relationship, yet everyone knows at least one couple that defines #relationshipgoals. Whether it be your happily married parents or blissfully in sync in-laws, some seemingly perfect relationships exist that lead all of to wonder just how they make it work.
In an effort to understand the inner workings of successful, long-term relationships, we asked Marissa Gomez Schursky, a Manhattan-based marriage and family therapist, to identify key habits that ultimately result in happier unions. “Understanding the following themes and working on them together as a team will foster a partnership that feels secure and prepared for possible challenges,” Shursky says of these six habits.
1. You Trust Each Other
Trust is a base-level need for most couples as it can serve as the foundation for individuals to open up to a partner and share deeper details of their intimate lives. “Trust is what allows us to be vulnerable, and vulnerability is key in blossoming relationships,” Schursky says. “As trust grows in a relationship, partners feel safe with each other, and that safety results in more transparency between individuals.”
2. You’re Transparent
With trust comes transparency—the ability to discuss uncomfortable topics. But according to Schursky, being transparent helps both parties grow together and collaborate. “Ask yourself if you feel open to being honest with your partner rather than feeling like you need to hold things in,” she says. If the answer is yes, that’s a good indicator that your relationship is on the right track.
3. You Find a Compromise
Another major indicator of mutual, long-term happiness is compromise. According to Schursky, if both partners are open to the other’s differing perspective, there’s more room in the relationship to understand the needs of each individual. “Compromising encourages people to hear one another out rather than critiquing,” she says. “It’s a positive sign if a couple finds they can both slow down and share their opinions, even when they’re opposing.”
4. You Identify Your Differences
Despite the strength of your bond, Schursky stresses the importance of recognizing your autonomy. “It’s helpful to consider that together, you are not one person,” she says. Remembering that you are two separate individuals is essential for those moments when you do disagree since you’re more likely to be aware of your partner’s feelings, even if they don’t make sense to you. “Keep in mind that you both have different experiences and contrasting reactions to various circumstances,” she says.
5. You Make Time for Weekly Check-Ins
Regular check-ins with both yourself and your partner are useful for reflecting on your feelings. In fact, according to Schursky, regular reflection on your feelings eases the process of sharing thoughts in a constructive manner. During these check-ins, take inventory of how things are going and ask each other if you’re happy and feel cared for. “After you check in with each other, you’ll have a better gauge on what’s working and what needs altering in your relationship,” she says.
6. You Identify Resolutions
Disagreement in any relationship is inevitable, yet reconciliation is key. “As a couple, are you resolving issues head on as opposed to sweeping your problems under the rug?” Schursky asks. “If so, you’re working toward creating repairs.”
fOLLOW US @GLUSEAGH