Are you being smart in your relationship? A successful romantic relationship does not just happen by chance, and happy couples are not just lucky people. A successful relationship is built when a couple approaches their partnership in an intelligent way. Below are 14 things that smart couples do. How does your relationship measure up?

  • 1. They communicate well. Smart couples talk openly and with respect and listen actively and with real interest.
  • 2. They are intentional. Smart couples do not slide into things, but rather they make conscious decisions together about big and small aspects of their relationship.
  • 3. They seek help. Smart couples know their limits and are not ashamed to gather their support system and resources when they need help. They go to couple therapy, talk to friends, and lean on the support of family when necessary.
  • 4. They know their strengths. Smart couples are aware of the areas of their relationship where they do really well together, and they know how to draw on these strengths in difficult moments.
  • 5. They know that a relationship is made up of two separate individuals. Smart couples realize that their partner is his or her own, unique person, and they allow (and even take joy in!) their partner being different.
  • 6. They also work together as a team. Smart couples allow their partners to influence them in thoughts, behaviors, and interests.
  • 7. They do not mind-read. Smart couples know not to make assumptions about what their partner intended or what they are thinking. They check in with one another.
  • 8. They apologize. All the time. They know that a relationship only works when both people take responsibility and accountability for their part in problem.
  • 9. They are patient. Smart couples have a commitment to one another that allows them to take the time they need to really work through issues. When discussing conflictual issues they recognize when things are getting heated and take breaks, promising to return to the issue when they are feeling more in control of their thoughts and emotions.
  • 10. They have boundaries. Smart couples put limits on what and who can influence and change their relationship, and they know what is acceptable and valued within their relationship and what is not.
  • 11. They fight well. Smart couples know that the goal is not to avoid conflict, but rather they know they need to engage in respectful, productive conflict. They take the steps necessary to ensure that their conflict brings them closer rather than tears them apart.
  • 12. They are not critical or contemptuous. These things erode love and good will between partners, and smart couples know that criticism and contempt have no place in their relatio nship.
  • 13. They are open to change. Smart couples know that being together for a lifetime means accepting and expecting that change will happen. They see the benefit of an evolving relationship and don’t fight against it.
  • 14. They express their love to one another. Smart couples know how much it matters to tell their partner how much they love and care for them, and they don’t miss an opportunity to express those sentiments.

Contributed by:
Rachel Goldsmith, Therapist and Dr. Anne Malec