1They’re in tune
Happy couples communicate with each other – on several levels.
They might talk non-stop over a table for two in a restaurant, but they’re equally comfortable sitting in companionable silence.
When they’re apart during the day, they’ll text or message on social media just to keep in touch – but won’t worry if there’s no response. They’ll understand their partner is busy, or perhaps their phone battery is flat.
If there’s a problem, they talk about it rather than punish each other with the silent treatment, leaving one partner wondering what they’ve done wrong. If one forgets an anniversary, it’s not the end of the world because the other knows it doesn’t mean they’re not loved.
They are content with each other, picking up on each other’s moods and fitting around them, rather than feeling they must walk on eggshells.
2They show trust and respect
Without these two qualities, it’s said, there can be no relationship. Committed couples don’t need to live in each other’s pockets. They allow the other freedom without worrying it will negatively impact on them as a couple. They don’t get jealous if their partner spends time with other people or on activities that exclude them. They accept and respect the need to pursue their own interests and friendships.
They have an unshakeable commitment to each other and their lives together. They’re not afraid to show their vulnerability or insecurities, knowing the other person will support them without judging.
This belief in each gives them strength to deal with the challenges life brings and come out of the other side.
3There is acceptance
We are who we are, and none of us is perfect. Love means accepting all of someone – the good and the bad.
This ranges from superficial idiosyncrasies – snoring, leaving dirty cutlery in the sink, always being late – to more serious issues, such as a difference in intrinsic values or beliefs. Happy couples don’t try and change the other person, because then they wouldn’t be the one they love.
Couples who aren’t really happy will often spend time complaining about each other’s faults, blaming them for any discord in the relationship, and possibly denying their own.
4They are passionate
Over time, the heady intensity of those early days settles into something deeper and more lasting.
If they’re not there, you miss them. And when you catch sight of them unexpectedly, if your phone vibrates with a sudden text and your heart jumps, even just a little, that’s passion.
It gives the relationship colour and vitality. It makes it whole.
5They’re not afraid to argue
Have you ever heard a couple claim: “Oh, we never argue.”? So have we.
But it’s not natural. Nobody can be 100% in agreement with someone all the time – not unless they’re smothering their own feelings.
Obviously, constant or violent fights aren’t a good sign, but having the confidence to speak up when you’re annoyed about something shows you are secure in the relationship. You know you can express dissatisfaction without worrying the other person’s opinion of you will change.
You both understand the argument is part of you working through the problem together, and that it will ultimately benefit your partnership. Daring to disagree shows you care enough to make things right, and reaching a resolution or compromise will strengthen the bond you share.
Whether it’s a shared joke, poking fun at themselves or teasing each other, the strongest couples display a healthy sense of humour.
It makes their journey entertaining and helps them deal with life’s habit of throwing obstacles onto the path.
We know a couple who decided to get married after a disastrous weekend away – the weather was terrible, the hotel was a dump, her handbag was stolen, he got food poisoning, and the car broke down in the middle of nowhere.
It was so bad, it was funny – and they agreed there and then that as long as they could laugh at the bad times, they could cope with pretty much anything life threw at them.