Even if you don't read gossip magazines, watch reality television, or peruse the self-help section at your local bookstore, you may still find yourself wondering how solid your relationship truly is. If you're anything like me, you've even pondered if there are definitive signs your marriage is strong. On a typical night spent socializing with my friends who are married, the topic of marital longevity always seems to come up, whether in jest or out of genuine worry. Though there's no way to predict the future, experts have offered up evidence as to how to identify if your marriage is strong.
To paraphrase the always wise Beyoncé, you might think that just because your partner liked it and consequently put a ring on it, that your relationship has been solidified for eternity. But just to be doubly sure, it's always nice to know what the characteristics of a healthy, enduring union are. Whether you simply curious or seriously concerned, thankfully relationship experts and psychologists have agreed upon a few universal truths about lasting relationships.
Ready to see what research has to say about endless love? Then without further adieu, check out some of these top signs your marriage is strong.
1You're Comfortable With The Uncomfortable
No one likes to think about, much less discuss, uncomfortable or challenging issues. When was the last time you were stoked to talk about your bills, for instance? As it turns out, being able to have a conversation with your spouse about anything—even the hard topics—is a good sign for your relationship. Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage therapist, told The Huffington Post, that people in strong marriages are comfortable talking about difficult subjects, like finances, children, or health issues.
2You Have Genuine Fun
Although it's rare to find a couple with oodles of free time on their hands, those who make an effort to still go out are showing their continued commitment to their marriage. Dr. Tina B. Tessina, a psychotherapist, told Prevention, "successful couples make plans to have fun, laugh, and play." Mom was right, laughter truly is the best medicine.
Your grandparents were on to something when they told you to always say "please," and "thank you," to other. Florida State University researcher Nathaniel Lambert told Women's Health that regularly expressing gratitude is a sign of strong, healthy marriages. Though you may truly be thankful for your partner, it's always nice to say it out loud and remind them how much you appreciate them in your relationship.
4You're Not In It For The Sex
Who would have thought that Fred Durst wasn't a great role model for lasting marriages? Though sex definitely can play a large role in any relationship, it's not necessarily the end all, be all. According to a University of Toronto study led by researcher Amy Muise, a successful relationship isn't about how much sex you have, but how connected the partners actually feel during intercourse. The quality of intimacy, not the frequency, is the key element to a strong marriage.
5You Talk About Movies
In a recent issue of Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, a study led by Ronald D. Rogge, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, noted that couples who watched and discussed romantic films cut their chances of divorce in half. Perhaps seeing conflict, sensitivity, or romance playing out between two fictional characters allows for an easier conversation about the state of your relationship rather than solely using each other as references.
6You're Willing To Forgive
Though some mistakes are more difficult to mend than others, it turns out that being in the habit of graciousness over grudges is a defining aspect of a marriage. Dr. Mark Goulston, a clinical professor of medicine at UCLA, told Psychology Today that, "when they have an argument, strong couples default to trusting and forgiving." So if you and your partner are able to press pause, take a step back, and resolve things without resorting to fighting dirty, then it looks like your marriage has the potential to last.
7They Talk, You Listen
Comedians always make jokes about partners tuning out during conversations, but apparently talking and listening are serious matters. Marni Feuerman, a marriage expert, told Prevention, "healthy couples are empathizing with each other, listening attentively, and responding." You don't necessarily have to always have the answer, but just by listening and showing you care, you're nurturing your marriage.