Let's face it: We've been in some pretty awful relationships in our lifetimes. We've had our hearts broken, our self-confidence crushed, and our trust tested. In fact, some of our unhealthy past relationships might've ended so badly or been so hard while they were happening that they took years for us to get over. And then, when we finally did get over them, they still left us a bit weary and hesitant when it came time to be with someone else. However, just as we've had awful relationships, we've also had great, exciting, and wholesome relationships. We've been with men that have made us feel needed, loved, and appreciated. They showed us new ways to love and in turn, we grew as human beings. Even, if for some reason, these positive relationships didn't last, that's all right. Why? Because they taught us what it's like to be in a happy, fulfilling and successful relationship. Read below to find out 15 things all successful relationships have in common.
15 A Mutual Respect
In successful relationships, both partners have complete respect for each other. And by complete respect, we mean in every aspect of the partnership. Both partners have respect for the other's occupation. Partner A would never act as though their profession is better than Partner B's or make Partner B feel as though he/she were less successful. Both partners have respect for the other's belongings and personal property. Partner B would never drive Partner A's car more recklessly than they'd drive their own and if they borrowed something of Partner B's, they'd return it the same way they got it. Both partners have respect for the other's time and how they decide to spend it. If one Partner A wants to have an alone night by his/herself, Partner B would respect his/her wishes. Finally, both partners have respect for the other's emotional life and feelings. Partner B would never make Partner A feel dumb for being upset or for anything he/she shared. Basically, both partners act and treat each other as if they're equals who value and appreciate the company of the other.
In successful relationships, both partners talk about everything. No matter the subject or the time, they make an effort to stay involved in each others lives. And, even when they get busy and can't seem to find the time to even sleep, they still force themselves to open up to their partner about what's going on with them. Some even set times in which they're going to communicate. Why? Because they know how important it is to be on the same page as their partner. What's exceptional about successful couples, though, is how they communicate. When one speaks, the other listens. If they ask questions, they're truly interested in the answer. They don't analyze what their partner is saying or assume they already know what's going on with them. They hear their partner without defense and with an open heart. Additionally, to further prove that they're listening, both partners make an effort to remember and cherish what's going on in the other's life.
13 Team Work
In successful relationships, the partners work together as a team. They divide up responsibilities evenly and are always on the same playing field. They never feel as though they put more effort and work into the relationship than the other person does. They balance each other out. If one person has a hard time dealing with stressful situations, the other person does their best to relieve the stress. If one person is extremely sensitive, the other does their best to show them that everything's all right. Their personalities compliment each other. If one partner is having a hard week at work, the other picks up their slack and offers their support. Why? Because if the situation was reversed, they know their partner would do they same. They help each other where they can but do their best to carry their own weight. If they have children, they do their best to be on the same team when parenting. If they live together, they both take care of the household. They're always on the same page because they make an effort to communicate about their wants and needs.
12 A Sense Of Humor
Let's face it: When life gets tough, it's really important to have a sense of humor. Not only is it a great coping mechanism, but it's also a way to bond with someone. In successful relationships, most of the time, both partners share a similar sense of humor. What do we mean by that? We mean, both partners either turn to humor when they need to lighten a situation (like a flat tire in the middle of rush hour traffic) and/or both partners find the same things funny (perhaps they both have a dry sense of humor). Additionally, both partners find and bring out the humor or goofiness in their partner. Because they're so comfortable around each other, they don't get embarrassed or shy about cracking a joke or dancing around the kitchen. They enjoy making their partner laugh and they enjoy laughing with their partner. No matter the situation, both partners never fail to bring to light a little bit of humor, even at the darkest times.
Sure, passion and fire are great. However, in successful relationships, there's also a sense of stability. For some reason, people tend to stray away from "stability" because they think it sounds boring or as if they're "settling," but that's not actually the case. Why not? Well, it's simply human nature to yearn for a healthy, safe environment to live in, a routine to follow, and all around happiness. Therefore, in successful relationships, it's important that both partners are fulfilled in these ways. For example, both partners must feel as though they can do and say whatever they need to whenever they're in the security of their own home. One should never feel unsafe when they're around the other, or that they're walking on eggshells. One shouldn't leave for work in the morning and fear the other will not be there when they return. One should never feel as if the other is going to intentionally hurt or disrespect them. Basically, both partners feel as though they have a healthy support system and a steady ground to walk on.
10 Positive Reinforcement
We've all been there. We've had a really bad day, or maybe, even a really bad year. We feel as though everything we do is wrong and that perhaps, things won't get better. All we want to do is give up. In successful relationships, whenever this happens, your partner has your back. They'd never waste their time criticizing you or telling you what you might've done wrong. They'd never belittle you or confirm all of your insecurities. Instead, they help pick you back up. If possible, they offer advice and guidance. They do everything in their power to be there for you and encourage you. They help get you back to a good place in your life just as you would do for them if the situation was reversed. Each couple takes turns being "strong" for the other, no matter the problem at hand. After all, everyone needs a shoulder to cry on from time to time.
It's easy to lose yourself in a relationship- especially if you're not a relationship pro. For example, your identity becomes completely linked to your partner's and in that way, you become co-dependent. However, this is not the case in successful relationships. In successful relationships, each partner remains true to who they are. They take the time to hang out with their friends, to do things alone, and to re-evaluate their wants and needs. They divide their time evenly. They do not allow themselves to give up independence for the sake of their partner's happiness. They understand that relationships take hard work and patience. Even if maintaining their independence is harder, they take the time to do just that. Why? Because when one partner's identity and happiness is reliant on the other partner's, they know that the relationship will suffer due to the added pressure. Neither partner would ever ask that much of the other. Instead, they take responsibility for their own happiness by taking control of their own life.
Trust is perhaps the core of successful relationships. Why? Because it affects every aspect of the dynamic in a partnership. In healthy relationships, each partner trusts the other equally. They truly believe that they're always being open and honest with them- that they'd tell the other the exact truth even if it's a hard thing to say. They don't play games or intentionally try to hurt each other. They'd never be unfaithful, leave without warning, or do anything that might effect the other's wellbeing. They trust that when their partner says something, they mean it. They know in their hearts that they'd always be there for them if they needed them; that if they make promises, they'll keep them; and if they need support, they'd give it. They know that their partner undoubtedly wants the best for them and the relationship. Each partner knows that together, they could get through anything because the trust they spent so much time building is strong enough to withstand whatever comes their way.
7 Space To Grow
Just as we change, our partner's do too. It's important that we understand that. It's easy to convince yourself or to see your partner as the same person they were three years ago when you first met them. And while they might be similar to that person you've always known, in time, people grow and evolve- especially if they make a point to do just that. In successful relationships, each partner gives the other space to grow. They don't expect that their partner feels or thinks the exact same way they did when they met them. Instead, they accept them for however they come. In a way, it's as if each partner acquires short term memory loss. For example, if one partner has been working on not lashing out in anger whenever they get frustrated, the other partner won't assume that the next time they get in a fight, the partner will fall back into old patterns. Each partner gives the other the benefit of the doubt- they don't just automatically think they know how the other will be or what the other will do.
Chances are, the interests of both partners in the relationship are different. For example, one may love to paint pottery in their spare time and one may like to read science fiction novels. However, both partners show interest in the hobbies of the other. They ask questions in an effort to get to know one another better and to stay current on what's going on each other's lives. They find ways to be interested in what their partner is doing, even if they don't initially find whatever they're doing exciting or relevant to them. Additionally, in successful relationships, both partners find shared activities that they enjoy doing together. For example, they may both love cooking and bond while taking cooking classes or while trying out new recipes on a Sunday. They make an effort to spend time together doing leisure actives they have in common.
It's easy to get comfortable in relationships. You stop surprising each other, you get into routines, you lose the "spark" that you had when you first started dating. However, in successful relationships, both partners make an effort to keep the magic alive by engaging in selfless acts. For example, if one partner is running a marathon, the other will still go out of their way to show up and support the other instead of just sleeping in. If one partner knows the other has had a bad day, they may surprise them with flowers or a back massage. If one partner has something worth celebrating, the other will make sure they feel appreciated. Instead of getting mad at each other for every way that they may fall short or "disappoint" the other, both partners focus on ways that they can help make the other's life a bit easier, not harder.
4 Open Dialogue
In successful relationships, it's important that each partner feels as though they can say whatever comes to mind. If one partner is having a problem or is angry at the other partner, they feel as though they can be open with their feelings. They're not scared that their partner will react poorly or over react. They trust that they can say anything and not have to face cruel judgment or harsh punishment. There's never an "elephant" in the room. Neither partner would ever avoid confrontation just so they wouldn't have to "deal with" something that's truly bothering them. Additionally, successful partnerships also have an open dialogue when it comes to making big decisions. For example, if one partner is thinking about quitting their job, they talk openly about the pros and cons with the other and discuss how it might affect their relationship.
Chances are, you and your partner are not twins and do not think the same way. In fact, often times, opposites attract. Therefore, it can be difficult understanding why one partner might feel or might want to do a certain thing. However, this is where compromise comes in. In successful relationships, each partner takes the time to see things from the other partner's point of view in order to understand their wants and needs. If you and your partner have different ideas of what "fun" is or different ways that you enjoy spending your free time, you take turns doing what the other person wants to do. There is an equal about of attention placed on each partner. Why? Because each partner understands that compromising is more important than constantly getting what they want.
There really is no such thing as an easy relationship. Trust us, if there were, more people would be in them. That being said, knowing that, it's a bit easier to understand that it takes a lot of patience to be in a committed, successful relationship. Let's be honest, it can be really really difficult to spend a lot of time with the same person year after year; to hear them talk about their same problems and insecurities over and over again without getting bored; or to watch them constantly face failure and still believe in them more than they believe in themselves. It's hard to constantly show another person love and affection, to have to make an effort to communicate, to stay up to date with your partner's life, and to make selfless decisions when all you want to do is what you want to do. In successful relationships, both partners' practice patience religiously. No matter what, they do their best to take a deep breath, stay calm, and do what's best for both themselves and their partner.
1 Unconditional Love
You know deep in your heart that no matter what, your partner will accept you for who you are. Even if you told them your deepest, darkest secrets, they'd be able to forgive you. You're not embarrassed or ashamed by anything you've done and if you are, they make you feel better about it after you confess to them. They're not judgmental and you've never felt like you have to hide from them. They love you at your best moments and even more at your worst moments. They cheer you on when you're successful and lift you up if you're feeling down. You're comfortable in anything you wear and any way you look. If you gained ten pounds, he wouldn't even notice. If he smelled awful, she'd still let him hug her. The love between the two of you is more than skin deep, therefore, neither of you ever feel insecure in the presence of the other.