Emotional Fitness

Harness the power of emotion to deepen your love with your partner, become more successful at work, and more

10 Relationship Behaviors of the Happiest Couples

Doc Barton's 10 "Be's" of a successful relationship

Couples in successful relationships have some things in common. Much of the time it's not about what they do or don't do, it's about who they are as people and how they behave with each other. Here are some of the many ways the happiest of couples interact with one another.

  1. Be best friends. The happiest couples say that they are best friends with their spouses. People who don't think that having a best friend as a partner is romantic are usually single and bitter. Having a best friend in your heart and bed is the best part of a loving relationship.
  2. Be able to laugh at yourselves. Having a sense of humor about your life and your relationship is one of the keys to thriving. Life throws us many curves and without the ability to see and appreciate the irony, you could end up hating the world and each other.
  3. Be open to new ideas and experiences. If your partner only wanted to do the things you like to do, life would soon become dull and uninteresting. Having a partner who exposes you to different perspectives and dreams will make your world and soul fulfilled.
  4. Be willing to be willing. When change or compromise is called for you don't have to accept it immediately. Just being willing to look at things from another perspective can often be enough to help you resolve most differences that occur in an emotionally fit relationship.
  5. Be kind. Kindness and courtesy are perhaps the most under valued and under used human virtues. Courtesy, communication and kindness can turn conflict into consensus, and controversy into cooperation with a single act of kindness.
  6. Be able to give all of your attention. Giving your partner 100% of your attention when they want to talk to you is one of the most bonding and powerful things you can do. Couples who engage in this all too rare ritual have a deeper and more loving relationship.
  7. Be demonstrative. Couples who touch and hold each other often have fewer arguments, enjoy life more, and stay healthier. Touching is one of the deepest forms of communication.
  8. Be trustworthy. To be trusted one must behave in trustworthy ways. Never give your partner any reason to doubt your loyalty or devotion. Whenever you are away from each other check in regularly to let them know you're okay.
  9. Be available. If your partner has a problem, be the one they call first. Commitment means that you can count on your partner to be there for you when you need them.
  10. Be proactive. Don't wait for things to go wrong before you make an effort to work on your relationship. Couples who take a relationship inventory and see what they have as well as what it is they might need in the future, are much better prepared for difficulty and have longer lasting, more successful relationships.

Being the best you can be for your partner and for yourself is one of the most rewarding parts of coupledom. It's not very complicated, just remember to put your best self forward and behave the way you would like your partner to behave. That makes it safe for both of you to come from the heart - that is how great relationships are made.

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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