Do you know any couples whose love you admire? Grandparents or neighbors, colleagues or parents, people whose romantic relationships have endured year after year, inspiring awe for their deep caring, commitment, and joy?
Creating a loving and lasting partnership clearly isn't easy. Most people enter marriage fully expecting to share a life together, but in reality, 40-50 percent of those marriages are predicted to end in divorce. Stable marriages, moreover, are not necessarily happy: People stay in unsatisfying relationships for a variety of reasons (e.g., children, finances, religion). The question then is not one of mere stability, but also of quality: How do two people create and maintain a mutually happy relationship? What are the secrets to a successful marriage?
Relationship researchers are deeply motivated to identify interpersonal patterns characterizing successful marriages. While plenty of empirical questions still remain, certain behaviors commonly appear among happy couples. If you're looking for the perfect someone, or wondering if you've found that person already, these behaviors should be of interest to you.
Will you and your partner adopt the kinds of habits that make for success? Here's how to begin setting the stage for long, healthy relationship.
Romantic relationships are dyadic interactions, and as such, they are ever-changing and intensely complex. The recipe for a successful marriage isn't fully clear, but this sample of findings points to the importance of work and effort. Successful relationships don't just happen: They emerge when two people invest in their relationship and have the structural support (e.g., manageable life stress) to do so well. Note that much of the research on relationship satisfaction and stability focuses on predictors, which may or may not be causal forces. As such, more research is needed to identify the exact role of critical interpersonal factors on relationship outcomes.
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Marigold, D. C., Holmes, J. G., & Ross, M. (2007). More than words: reframing compliments from romantic partners fosters security in low self-esteem individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 232-248.
McGill, J., Adler-Baeder, F., & Rodriguez, P. (2016). Mindfully in love: A meta-analysis of the association between mindfulness and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension Volume, 4, 89-101.
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Overall, N. C., & McNulty, J. K. (2017). What type of communication during conflict is beneficial for intimate relationships?. Current Opinion in Psychology, 13, 1-5.
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