The perfect couple. You’ve seen them in the park walking hand-in-hand or sitting across from each other in a restaurant (having a conversation, not looking at their phones). They have that special look. There’s a peace in the space between them. You wonder how they do it. What makes their relationship special? What are they even talking about? How do they have so much to say to each other?
A good relationship is not easy. Not everyone can maintain one. Instead of giving into every emotional outburst and speaking every word that they think; solid relationships have the skills to stay glued together, no matter how hard life tugs at them, as it tries to pull them apart.
1. They don’t let their past define their present.
The traumas and dramas of years gone by serve no purpose now. Everyone has a story. Healthy partners leave their stories in the past. They remember the lessons learned then move forward to build a bright future together.
2. They are authentic.
Solid relationships are genuine. They don’t play mental games or act phony. They are free to be who they are with each other. What you see is what you get.
They are honest but know how to use good judgment. They know that every word does not have to be spoken. Often people confuse honesty with authenticity. Great relationships know how to be authentic and when to say the right words.
3. They try to inspire each other rather than change their partner.
Solid partnerships motivate and inspire each other to flourish and grow in the direction of their dreams. These relationships bring out the best in each other.
4. They let themselves be vulnerable.
There’s an invisible zone between them; a safe space to be able to let their true feelings show. It’s a place where deep dark secrets can be revealed, without the fear of rejection or abandonment.
5. They give willingly.
They don’t see “giving in” as a sacrifice. They give and expect nothing in return. There are no scorecards in a great partnership. It’s not about the time I went to your parent’s house but you didn’t come with me to my friend’s dinner party. When they give, it is pure and only because they want to make their partner happy.
6. They don’t hold grudges.
What’s done is done. Problems are resolved and finished. Their love for each other and value for the relationship overrules any lingering discontent.
7. They allow their partner to be the expert in something.
Each person has his/her strengths and weaknesses. These relationships value the each other’s strengths and allow them to have their own area of expertise. If one person is great with managing finances, both people agree that person is the expert who manages the budget. The other partner knows this and is not insulted or walking away with a bruised ego.
8. They make each other laugh (even if the jokes are bad).
Not everyone has the same sense of humor: different jokes for different folks. But in a great relationship, there is a comical connection. You can make each other laugh and sometimes, even laugh at each other. Just seeing your partner laugh makes you laugh, whether you think it’s funny or not.
9. They can see the positive side to a negative annoying habit.
Every trait has a negative and positive side to it. Great relationships can flip to the positive side of an annoying behavior. When your partner gets on your nerves because he/she wants everything done immediately, asks a lot of questions, and wants every item in the fridge in its proper place, (believe it or not) the smart partner sees this as the trait that makes him/her the president of a successful company.
10. They respect each other’s differences.
Great relationships don’t “agree to disagree.” They hear what their partner is saying, give it credibility, honor it as simply another point of view, and then discuss the pros and cons of each opinion. The words, “No, you’re wrong,” are never heard.
11. They don’t scream at each other or engage in nasty arguments.
Loud voices, cursing, and insults are never an option. They don’t put each other down or make of checklist of their partner’s negative qualities. Of course, there are angry moments (even in the best relationships), but great relationships never let anger turn into nastiness.
12. They sit down and talk things out and know when to talk.
When problems arise (as they certainly will), they need to be discussed. Great relationships know how to do talk it out during stressful times. A smart woman knows to never present an issue to a man with an empty stomach (and vice versa). It’s always best to know when the time is right to have a talk. They also know when to “pick their battles” knowing that every problem does not require a discussion.
13. They know how to pause.
They know when to be quiet. There are times when it’s best to let things settle, when no answer is the best response. And when silence is healing. Great relationships know when it’s time to take a time-out and when it’s time to re-visit the situation.
14. They share life goals.
Even though they both may take a different route, they desire the same end result. Opposites do attract as long as they are opposites with shared life goals.
15. They have the same values, moral, and ethics.
Values are different than goals. Ethics, morals, and values are what you live by as you are striving towards your goals. Great relationships share the same basic values.
16. They show up for one another.
There’s a deep (sometimes silent) connection. They can read each other’s mind. It may be as simple as a text that says, “Hi honey, I’m thinking about you. Are you ok?” Or “Let’s shut the TV tonight and hang out together.” They know when they are needed and they make themselves available.
17. They don’t keep a relationship scorecard.
There’s no saying, “I went to your mother’s house, why can’t I go out with my friends.” It’s not measure for measure or tit for tat. They know that there are times when the give-and-take balances out and each person will feel they had their fair share.
18. They greet each other when they enter the house.
After a busy day, it’s easy to come home carrying a bag of stress along with your bag of groceries. It’s important to pay attention to each other. If you’re chatting on the phone with your friends, great partners say, “I want to hang up now. My honey just came home.” A little attention goes a long way.
19. They gently remind each other that “maybe you could have said that a little nicer.”
Sometimes it’s important to give a gentle reminder that harsh words were spoken. Not everything has to turn into a dramatic scene. Once in awhile, it’s ok to say, “Next time could you try to be a little nicer?”
20. They make their relationship a priority.
Bottom line is, their relationship comes first. It comes before their friendships, family, and yes; even before their children. They make time for each other and time for their relationship.
21. They know when to put their egos aside.
It’s easy to jump into a conflict and fight to be right. Good relationships don’t let that happen. They value the relationship over their ego.
22. They are in it for the long haul.
Fights don’t make them run home to their mothers. They have a solid commitment to maintaining a long relationship. A conflict or disagreement is not a marriage-breaker, it’s simply a difference of opinion that needs to be worked out.
23. They bring out the best in each other.
Most important of all, in a fabulous relationship each person makes the other one an even better person. They balance each other as well as elevate each other. They feed off each other’s good character traits and grow from them.
Life changes people. There are tests, crises, and stages of growth that everyone goes through. Great relationships are on solid ground.
Even though times get tough and the waves rock their boat; great partnerships work to keep the ship afloat, steering the sails through the storms, together.