From eating and exercise to screen time and sleep, we’re all trying to build good habits and break bad ones. Our relationships are no exception. As couples get closer, they tend to fall into shared habits. “Like so many things in life, habits in relationships aren’t black and white,” says Maven Mental Health Provider Seida Hood. Here are 6 habits healthy couples have.
Habit #1: They support each other
Couples in fulfilling relationships are always “actively seeking ways to support one another,” Hood says. Ask yourself what makes you feel supported by a partner, and whether you’re receiving that in your relationship. Encourage your partner to do the same, and share the results.
Habit #2: They have a “good amount” of communication
“I say ‘a good amount’ because nobody has absolutely perfect communication,” Hood says. If you and/or your partner aren’t naturally inclined to share your feelings, turning communication into a habit can take practice. “This looks like check-ins with one another about how you feel things are going in the relationship,” she says.
Habit #3: They feel and express gratitude
A study observed the effects of gratitude on couples who live together. The partners recorded thoughtfulness in their relationships and gave a gratitude rating for how they felt. At the end of the two-week period, the researchers found that subjects who experienced gratitude for their partner felt closer.
Habit #4: They can navigate conflict well
It’s not that couples in the healthiest relationships don’t experience conflict—they just manage it in a loving way. All couples argue and go through difficult periods. They just don’t get stuck in the conflict or bury it deep down where it can cause more harm. Don’t shy away from tough conversations, or assume that having a disagreement means there’s a problem in the relationship.
Habit #5: They respond to one another
Psychologist and relationship expert John Gottman found that romantic partners reach out to each other in subtle ways many times a day—up to 100 times during dinner alone! That could be a meaningful glance or a hand placed on their partner’s shoulder. It’s how you respond to those reach-outs, which Gottman calls “bids,” that can help determine whether your relationship will last long term.
If you turn toward your partner when they issue a bid, meaning you respond with your full attention, you’re more likely to have a long, happy relationship. Turning away has been a predictor of a relationship’s demise in many of Gottman’s studies. When your partner reaches out to you, even to say something as simple as, “Wow, look at that beautiful sunset,'' respond and engage. It’ll help you build your connection.
Habit #6: They reflect
“As a relationship progresses, both people should frequently evaluate their expectations,” Hood says. And if it isn’t meeting their expectations, they need to decide whether or not the issue is something they’re willing to accept. Ask yourself, “Am I happy with what’s happening in this relationship? Do I need something different? Do I need more support in a particular area? Could I be more supportive in a particular area?”
How Maven can support you with building a healthy relationship
If you don’t recognize these habits in your own relationship, you can certainly develop them. You can reach out to Maven providers, anytime, to talk through any relationship questions you have. You and your partner can check if you have access to Maven for individual or couples counseling.
With Maven you can:
- Talk to Mental Health Providers to talk about building healthy habits in relationships
- Book an appointment with a Sex Coach for relationship coaching and sexual health support
- Read through our library of clinically-vetted content on relationships
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