5 habits of highly effective (and happy!) couples

by Emma Merkas

Highly effective couples know that during an argument, they need to still respect their partner and listen, even if they don’t agree with them.

Of course, there are certain things every relationship needs to function properly even at a basic level.

These essential foundations—trust, honesty, and attraction—should be already taken care of if you’re in any kind of a functional romantic relationship.

But what about the little extra things that make a good relationship great?

Here are five common habits of highly effective couples … as observed by me.

1. Commitment

A relationship is nothing without commitment. Because life is never one straight road. And relationships are a rollercoaster. There are highs and there are lows, and there are times where you feel like throwing in the towel and walking away.

It’s not that there are certain couples that are walking around on clouds all the time. Even the happiest of relationships have their dark hours. The highly effective couples are the ones that push through the other side to find the light and laughter again.

You only have a relationship as long as two people are committed to it. It’s a matter of waking up every morning and committing again and again to what you want, despite all the other hazards that get in the way.

Charlie and Linda Bloom, authors of Secrets of Great Marriages, have a lot to say about the topic of commitment in this interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.

2. Make an effort

Great couples make the effort to be great.

Connectedness, intimacy, conversation, and time together don’t come easily. Well, they do at first, but then you’re fighting a losing battle against hormones and time to keep all these things—and the spark—alive in your relationship. If you don’t make an effort, they will all but disappear and you’ll barely notice as it happens.

Great couples continue to reconnect and be intimate even when their libidos wane, they schedule regular date nights and make sure they stick to them, they talk about things that are not the bills, the children, or the washing.

They don’t just let life pass them and their relationships by in a heartbeat, without getting what they want from their relationship.

3. Time apart

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the couples that I admire are always ones that have great balance between their couple-time and their independence.

I love couples where each partner pursues their own hobbies, spends time with their own friends, and isn’t afraid to take leisure time alone. There is of course such a thing as too much time apart … but there’s also too much time together, and that can be just as damaging.

4. Fight fair

Every couple—even the happy ones—will have disagreements from time to time. Highly effective couples know that during an argument, they need to still respect their partner and listen, even if they don’t agree with them.

We talked earlier on FeelGooder about why fighting can be good for your relationship—go check out the article if you want some tips on how to fight constructively with your partner.

5. Play

I love couples who still play together, even after years in a long-term relationship.

A bit of playfulness in your day keeps you laughing, keeps you young, and keeps you happy. Singing loudly at the top of your lungs, dancing barefoot in the lounge room, tickling or water fights … whatever it is that takes your fancy, do it.

This is by no means a complete list. What other qualities do you see in couples you admire, or in your own relationship, that you can share with us?


Emma Merkas is the co-creator of couples’ inspiration website $30 Date Night and author of the ‘How Was It For You?’ relationships and dating column in Australian newspaper, mX


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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