Research has shown that couples who have lasting relationships behave a certain way. They resolve conflict with respect and humor, and they have many more positive interactions than negative ones. Here are five things you can do to make your relationship last.
Showing consideration for your partner and for his or her goals, perspectives and opinions is vital for a thriving relationship. While you may not always agree with each other, it is important to acknowledge and respect the other person’s point of view.
A 5:1 ratio
Relationship expert Dr John Gottman found a very specific ratio that makes love last. That “magic ratio” is 5 to 1, which means that for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five (or more) positive interactions. If you want your relationship to last, focus on appreciating your partner more rather than criticizing or harping on his or her shortcomings. If you can’t get a 5:1 ratio, try for at least three positive interactions for every negative interaction.
The ability to laugh at yourselves
Without a sense of humor, it’s not going to be an easy (or fun!) ride. Being able to share a laugh is an important part of any enduring relationship. Research has shown couples who have an emotional connection and are able to laugh together have more resilience. The next time you’re in a fight, see if you can make it comical by using exaggerated gestures or facial expressions until you’re laughing instead of screaming.
A “me” and a “we”
Many couples mistakenly believe that both people should do everything together and always sacrifice their individual needs for the sake of the couple. This is not true and can lead to unhealthy codependency. Each person must grow as an individual and invest in their own personal development for the relationship to thrive. All truly healthy relationships are comprised of two individuals who are grounded in a “me” in addition to co-creating a “we.”
This sounds obvious, but a surprising amount of couples have fallen out of love and stay together out of loyalty, friendship or a fear of being alone. If you’re settling for someone out of comfort, it might be time to take a hard look in the mirror. Or, if it’s more of a case of wanting to recreate your initial spark, try surprising your partner with a date night or special treat to get out of your usual routines. Get back into the love mindset with this free guided meditation.