Proven Habits for Successful Relationships

Successful relationships share important habits, according to research by the Greater Good Science Center. Practice these easy habits to start on the path to improving your relationships and creating a stronger bond with your partner.

1)  Be Fans of one another

Show your admiration and fondness for each other by sharing good news, celebrating accomplishments and providing support and encouragement. The most successful relationships even exaggerate the positive qualities in each other.  Being optimistic and maybe even a little idealistic is more helpful to relationships than being realistic and pessimistic.  

2)  Respond Positively to “Bids for Attention”

You don’t have to be perfectly attuned all the time, but couples who are happiest in their relationships respond to each other’s bids for attention 86% of the time. They ask each other questions, communicate understanding and respond positively.  They say “Yes” to each other as often as possible. In contracts, couples in unhappy relationships respond to each other’s bids for attention only 30% of the time.  The next time that you are asked to watch that silly YouTube or listen to their favorite music, just do it!

3)  Prioritize Affection and Sex

Research has found that physical affection and sex are related to happiness in relationships. Good sex is close, connecting and trusting. Ideally, sex is both playful and intimate, and allows for bonding hormones to be released.

Couples who engage in intimate conversations about their sexual relationship are also happier in their relationships.

4)  Make Time For Each Other

·       Spend at least 30 minutes daily chatting about your days.

·       Demonstrate daily appreciation and gratitude for each other.

·       Create reunion and goodbye rituals.

·       Show that you really matter to each other. 


5)  Cultivate Forgiveness

There are several necessary steps to forgiveness, according to Dr. Fred Luskin of the Stanford Forgiveness Project:

  • Remind yourself that we are all flawed human beings.

  • Decide whether the betrayal or disappointment is a deal-breaker or not.

  • In our relationships, we need to allow ourselves to feel our pain, hurt, disappointment and anger.

  • After we feel our pain and soothe ourselves, we must open our hearts, surrender and be willing to risk feeling pain and disappointment again.

  • Remember that forgiveness steps can happen even if our partner is unwilling to take any responsibility or change themselves.

The Stanford Forgiveness Project emphasizes that forgiveness is essential in successful, happy relationships.  When we choose to trust someone, we are making ourselves vulnerable.

Consider what habits you practice in your relationship.

What habits could you work on to make your relationships stronger and happier?

Julie Quimby