All couples have fights. All couples go through dry spells. All couples hit a rough patch sooner or later. But if you are in the middle of one, you may be wondering if your relationship is going to survive. Here are 9 signs
couples therapists say show them that a relationship is going to survive.
1. You Have Fun Together
"The skills couples need to keep intimacy alive in a long-term relationship aren't obvious because people don't talk about them," says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage
. "Most couples need to lower their expectations of romance and glamour and raise the level of fun they have together," she says. This means planning date nights, having relationship check in talks and taking time out to enjoy doing things together. "Successful couples make plans to try new things together, go out, have fun, laugh, and play," adds Marni Feuerman, a marriage expert in Boca Raton, Florida. "They know that novelty breathes positive energy into a relationship."
2. You're Trustworthy
Hiding things from your spouse isn't cool. This can include hiding purchases, online relationships or your feelings. "Couples in successful marriages have each other's backs and do not keep secrets," says Feuerman. "They behave in ways that better both each other and the relationship—not just themselves."
3. You're In It Together
"The most powerful thing you can do to keep a marriage strong is form a partnership in which both parties feel respected, cared about, and needed," says Tessina. Even if you are having problems, tackling them as a team is the best strategy. Michael J. Salamon, PhD, a couples therapist based in Hewlett, New York and author of Every Pot Has a Cover: A Proven System for Finding, Keeping and Enhancing the Ideal Relationship
, points to a couple he recently worked with as a great example of teamwork. "Financial stress caused them to cut their budget way back, and the stress was exacerbated every month when bills arrived," he explains. Salamon asked them to develop a plan to manage their bills. "Just giving them the task of working on it together changed the tone. They saw the challenge now as something that belonged to both of them and, and something they should work on together," he says.
4. You Touch Each Other
And you do it often. Couples that love each other, show it. Even in hard times. If you want to make it, touch your partner as often as possible. Put your hand on his/her leg while driving, hug and kiss each other. Make a point to cuddle in front of the television or out on the porch swing. "Intimacy is the art of making your partner feel understood and accepted," says Tessina. "When this feeling is created, barriers fall." And then, of course, there is sex: "If a marriage is going to last, both partners need to be able to demonstrate their love by giving and receiving physical affection," says Feuerman. "A romantic relationship is a sexual relationship and not just a platonic friendship."
5. You Let Go Of Grudges
Resentment will destroy a marriage. You need to step up and say what is on your mind. "When one spouse claims to be 'fine' when he is in fact agitated, it creates an environment in which one person has to guess the other's true feelings, and no one likes that game," says Karissa Brennan, a New York City-based psychotherapist and and founder of Cloud Counseling, an online counseling site. "The more you show your partner what bothers you, the more she'll understand how to help you through it," she says. Marriages succeed when couples learn to express themselves clearly and respectfully in the moment.
6. You Lean In
In your body language. "A tilt of the head, a shift of the leg, a look or a change in tone can all indicate a breakthrough, a change in awareness that says they are now hearing, understanding and are being responsive to one another," says Salamon. Take time for the little things. Kiss good bye in the mornings, say hello when you get home from work. It isn't really all that hard but those are the things that sometimes disappear when life gets in the way.
7. You Like And Respect Each Other
Spouses in successful marriages work hard to make the other happy because they genuinely like to see that person happy. "They're concerned when their spouse seems unhappy and don't just blow it off, thinking 'that's his problem,' " says Feuerman. They ask what is wrong if something seems off. They show gratitude and appreciation by thanking each other and hearing them out.
8. You Empathize With Each Other
"I notice if couples are empathizing with each other, listening attentively, and responding," says Feuerman. "Good partners turn toward each other—not away—when one of them is trying to make an emotional connection." Successful couples try to avoid locking horns on impassible issues. "Some issues in a relationship are just not solvable (for example, personality traits) so a couple that is going to make it practices things like tolerance, empathy, and negotiation when problems arise," says Feuerman.
9. You Make Up The Right Way
The biggest clue to whether a marriage is sustainable is how couples reunite after a tiff, says Jeannette Raymond, PhD, a licensed marriage therapist in Los Angeles and author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don't!
. "Taking the initiative to invite your partner back into your world after a disappointment is a good sign," she says. "It doesn't mean you have necessarily gotten over it, but it shows that your need to restore your emotional connection and security in the relationship takes precedence over your hurt feelings." Sometimes making it work means you have to be the one to say you are sorry, to stick around and solve the problems. Feuerman says, "One of the most important things I notice is that the couple views their marriage as a life-long journey and not something to quickly bail on when things get rough. The couples that make it ride out the ups and downs together as a team and stay committed."
Do you notice any of these signs in your relationship? Share with us!
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