A happy couple in a healthy relationship knows how to keep the romance and passion alive so their partnership lasts for a long time.
When my husband Charlie and I were interviewing the happiest couples we could find, we could clearly see that they were among the group that kept their passionate romance alive over many decades.
Happiness and healthy relationships don’t just happen. They require plenty of work, patience, and communication, among many others. Once you learn what traits in a relationship make it a good and healthy one, you learn how to be happier with your partner.
There were some common themes that ran through the stories we heard and there are plenty more out there that apply to your own happy relationship.
Here are 30 unsexy traits and characteristics of a happy couple in a healthy relationship, according to relationship therapists:
Hold a grand vision of what your partnership can be. Prepare to roll up your sleeves and do the work to manifest that vision.
2. A definition of romance
People have different ideas about romance. Be sure to have conversations defining what romance means to you so you can finally have what you are longing for.
Commit each day and demonstrate that commitment.
Have an interesting career, hobbies, and separate areas of interest to keep each individual lively.
Keep your sense of adventure alive, try new things, and take risks.
Be curious about the wonder of a child.
Ask questions that show your sincere interest.
Heal all past wounds.
Keep learning and growing. When you remain open, your partner will continue being open with you. Being willing to unlearn and relearn things with and about your partner makes the relationship continue to thrive.
Honor their privacy by spending time apart.
12. Staying Power
Don’t quit during the hard segments of the partnership.
Be honest and trustworthy.
Keep agreements. Big ones like fidelity, and even the small ones count.
Be tolerant and accepting of your partner’s shortcomings.
16. Good news
Focus on your partner’s assets and strengths.
It’s so important.
18. Conflict Management
Arguments can be enlivening and exciting. Those who are conflict-avoidant can repress emotions as a result of flattening the relationship.
Disappointments, frustrations, hurts, and grievances need to be brought forward. Only then can the couple negotiate to have their needs met. Respectful airing of differences breathes passion into the partnership, keeping the romantic quotient high.
19. No threats or ultimatums
Don’t do it.
Be willing to forgive past transgressions.
21. Questioning myths
Examine your beliefs to find if there are limiting ones that may be detracting from having an excellent partnership.
Reveal rather than conceal; express rather than repress.
23. No secrets
No secrets or lies.
24. Expressing needs
Tell your partner what you need.
Humor is associated with novelty and the unexpected and will bring lightness and fun.
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Stretch into your partner’s world if you possibly can.
Refine your sexual relationship for maximum pleasure. Making love in a place in the house other than your regular bed adds sparkle.
Non-sexual intimacy is a deep knowledge of each other and the innermost parts of each other.
Express gratitude for the way your partner enriches your life.
The above characteristics of couples that keep the romance alive over decades can be yours.
Please don’t be confined to this list. If there are other items that you can give yourself credit for, by all means, do so. And if there are attitudes and behaviors that you identify as those areas where you need to improve, by all means, note those.
It’s unlikely that you would get a perfect score of 100 percent by checking off every item on the list, but it’s a worthy goal to master each one over the years together. It requires some work on our part to be eligible for such a passionate, long-term romance.
But what have we got better to do with our time?
Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, MSW, have been trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors. They have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975.
This article was originally published at PsychCentral. Reprinted with permission from the author.