Lewis Howes is the host of the “School Of Greatness Podcast,” where he has inspiring conversations with various thought leaders, designed to help everyday people unlock their own greatest potential.
He recently shared takeaways from a discussion with Dr. Nicole LePerla about how to succeed in romantic partnerships.
The couple’s therapist noticed 7 consistent patterns in relationships that actually make it.
1. They establish boundaries with family members.
“They put the relationship first and had clear boundaries with family,” LePerla noted. “They didn’t vent to them about issues or make decisions based on what their family wanted. They did what was best for their partnership, together.”
Couples with a long-lasting relationship are able to work together, communicate well, and present a unified front toward outside interference, which in some cases, might be family members.
By focusing on their partnership, first and foremost, couples set themselves up for longevity and commitment.
2. They’re actually friends.
Romance is important, but so is genuinely liking and appreciating your partner for being exactly the person they are, and not who you want them to be.
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Making a solid friendship the basis of a partnership is a great sign that a couple is built to last. If you’re excited to share morning coffee with each other and catch up on the day at dinner, that’s a good sign that your relationship has staying power.
3. They go through hardships together.
Couples who have experienced some level of struggle, yet made it through, are likely to make it in the long run.
LePerla explained that going through “really difficult periods where they were at a crossroads and even had second thoughts” can actually strengthen a relationship. Choosing to stay together and work through the hard times helps couples establish trust, and rebuild parts of their relationship that may have been broken.
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4. They let each other show up authentically.
For couples who last, “there was a base level of respect and admiration for each other rather than a desire to change each other,” LePerla revealed. “This freedom brought out the best parts of both of them.”
For a romantic relationship to really, truly work, we have to love and accept the people we’re actually with, not some imagined or projected version of them. Part of being present in partnership is the most valuable way we can show up for others and for ourselves.
5. They have hard conversations.
It might seem easier to ignore the tough spots, but not dealing with the more challenging aspects that arise in a relationship can cause more harm than good.
LePerla shared that couples who have made it put in the hard work of talking about hard topics, noting that, “They communicated regularly and were open to each other’s perspectives. They didn’t cope by avoiding or denying.”
“Emotional regulation was present so conversations rarely became explosions,” meaning that couples were able to communicate in a measured way, even when it felt difficult to do so.
6. They fight with each other.
Contrary to that one pervasive relationship myth, fighting doesn’t mean the end, and it can actually be a good thing if you’re fighting well. Couples who last know “how to navigate conflict, bounce back, and move forward.”
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7. They make light of their quirks.
Instead of being hyper-critical about some aspect of their partner’s personality that bothers them, people in lasting couples are able to see the humor in situations, appreciating and acknowledging the little things that make their loved one unique.
We all hope for a lasting relationship with a loving and trusting partner, but there are no absolute guarantees in life or in love. Yet, creating a strong foundation of mutual respect, care, affection and communication in a partnership can send you down a path toward spending years together.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team. She covers relationships, pop culture, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.