7 Unexpected Habits You Need To Cultivate A Successful Relationship, According To Science
There are so many things that can be unpredictable and out of your control when it comes to relationships. After all, emotions often aren't rational or logical. And because so much can sometimes seem up in the air, it sort of makes sense that humans would want to find ways to "solve" or explain relationships in a more orderly, scientific manner. There's tons of research about how to best communicate with a partner, how to attract someone, and the things that can make or break relationships, but the unexpected habits you need to cultivate a successful relationship, according to science, can add a little bit more certainty to something that's often uncertain. These are things that you can actually do that science says might help give you a little peace of mind and maybe make your relationship a bit more successful.
You already knew that your personality traits, likes, dislikes, communication skills, and more all can play a very central role in determining whether or not your relationship is ultimately successful, but intentionally cultivating certain habits might also help make a difference. From investing in your friendships to fighting earlier on in the relationship, being more mindful of these sorts of things might, science says, help your relationship go the distance.
1. Being Kind
In a paper published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, researchers concluded that when one person is kind to another, that person is more likely to be kinder themselves, as The Atlantic reported. Essentially, kindness begets kindness, so if you develop of a habit of exhibiting kindness toward your partner, there's a better chance that your relationship will be more successful.
It might not sound surprising to hear that couples who are kind are more likely to be successful, but the idea that it's so important and is, in fact, scientifically-backed might be a bit more unexpected.
2. Fighting In Person
You might not think that the form in which you fight matters as much as how you deal with conflict with one another, but it turns out, it can, in fact, make a difference. Researchers at Brigham Young University found that women associate fighting via text message with a lower quality relationship. Disagreements and the like might be best handled face-to-face.
3. Being Generous
Generosity is important in many different kinds of relationships, but it might be especially important if you want your relationship with your partner to last. Ty Tashiro, a psychologist, told The Atlantic in the aforementioned article that giving your partner a bit of a break and trying to recognize their intentions, even if they fall short of meeting expectations, can help bolster your connection.
4. Staying Positive
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that when a husband is positive, that can decrease the likelihood of conflict. If you're hoping to keep relationship satisfaction high, staying positive and trying to see (and appreciate) the good in different situations can help.
5. Fighting Openly & Honestly Early On
You may not think that fighting early on in your relationship necessarily bodes well for the long-term success of the relationship, but it actually might. A release published on Science Daily noted that James McNulty, a researcher at Florida State University, found that openly angry conversations early on in your relationship can, in some cases, help your relationship be more successful.
6. Investing In Friendships
You've likely heard that outside relationships are still important when you're in a serious romantic relationship, but you might not realize that that's actually backed by science. A different release published on Science Daily noted that experts at the University of Maryland Baltimore found that having strong friendships with other couples can make your relationship happier and more successful in the long-run.
7. Supporting Each Other In Trying New Things
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that actively encouraging and supporting your partner in trying new things or taking chances on opportunities that would allow them to grow can also help your relationship be more successful. In happy, healthy relationships, couples lift each other up, so making it a mindful habit can keep your connection strong for years to come.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.