13 Signs You're a Power Couple: And Why You'll Stay Together

1. You support each other – even when it’s scary.  You encourage one another to shine brighter. And even though there are times when you have a twinge of fear that your partner could outgrow you, you resist the temptation to dim their light.

2. You express gratitude. Daily. For the little things. Because those are the things that add up.

3. You know how to play. You frequently tease each other, you playfully compete, sometimes you’ll share a workout. You regularly laugh together. You know how to disconnect from technology.

4. You have your own lives. You’re individuals with separate passions and interests. And you bring new stories about your interests to the relationship so that there’s always new content to discuss.

5. You know how to communicate. When you talk, you take turns, you actively listen, and then you express empathy and an understanding of each other’s perspective.

 6. You have shared values, principles and goals. You’ve taken the time to sit down together and discuss what you want out of life - and you’ve gotten specific. You’ve determined that you have compatible career aspirations, you’re in agreement about family, you’re on the same page in terms of finances, and you define quality of life similarly. 

7. You respect each other – and show it. You turn to each other for advice, you speak highly of each other, and you collaborate on projects.

8. You prioritize the relationship. Not just above career, but above kids too (furry ones included). Not only do you make time for each other, but if a career opportunity is contradictory to the values of the relationship, you pass.

 9. You help people. Not everyone’s a social worker in their day job. But even if you’re not, you understand the importance of having a tribe - of investing time and energy in them. The very traits that help you support your partner are the traits that make you care about people in general. Maybe you volunteer. Maybe you donate. But you understand that as humans, we need each other. And no matter how little you have (time, money, energy), you give some away.

 10. You’ve survived something terrible. And because of that, your relationship is stronger because you know you can weather a storm. You don’t need things to be perfect to be happy together.

 11. You know how to resolve conflict. We don’t always agree with our partners. In fact, life would be really boring if we did. You know how to disagree respectfully, you know how to manage your own emotions in times of high stress so that you don’t hit below the belt. And even though it’s not pleasant, you don’t avoid difficult discussions out of fear of conflict. Basically, you know how to have a fight.   

 12. You’re committed to growing and developing as individuals. You have a thirst for knowledge. You’re interested in becoming a better version of yourself, knowing that the more whole you are as an individual, the more you’ll have to contribute to the relationship. And since you both do this, you’re not at risk of outgrowing each other.

 13. You’re not afraid to go into couples counseling. Relationships are hard. Sometimes we need help navigating through a rough patch. You don’t expect to have all the answers. Moreover, because you want to grow and develop as individuals, it makes perfect sense to you that periodically you’d want to see a couples therapist, because you might learn something that will take your relationship to the next level. 

Harvard Cracked the Code on Happiness

If you had to guess the single most important influence on happiness, what would be your answer? Money? Fame?

I think most people would pick those.

And most people would be wrong.

Harvard University researchers have been following the same men for over 75 years, and they’re now following their children to identify the strongest influence on our happiness, health and wellbeing.

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier,” reports Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist, and Professor at Harvard Medical School.

Yup. It’s true. In the final analysis, when we’re each laying on our deathbed waiting to leave this life, we’ll evaluate our life based on how fulfilling our relationships were.

And numbers don’t matter. It’s not about how many friends you have. It’s also not whether or not you succeeded in your first marriage (committed relationship) or if you’re on marriage number six (frankly, if you’re on marriage 6, I think you should feel pride in your perseverance). It’s all about the quality of those relationships. Were you happy in them? Did you love well and were you well loved by others?

It makes me wonder what the world would look like if we were raised to prioritize our relationships. Imagine if we were taught from the beginning to spend as much time learning relationship skills as we’re encouraged to spend making a living?

Your level of happiness and success in life is directly correlated to the quality of your relationships and therefore should be a top priority. The time, money and energy spent in improving your communication and relationship skills will be invaluable.

Relationship skills improve every area of your life - family, friendships, career, love life

Relationships are the most important part of your life and therefore should be a number one priority. We all make time for what we deem important.

 

 

 

 

Why Silence Isn't Golden

 

Q:

Hi Dr. Darcy,

I've been with my girlfriend for almost 8 years now and I'm out to my parents and some of my cousins, but not all.  They're a pretty harsh crowd as crazy Italians [can be] so I don't know how they'll react.  They don't usually say much, but if she's ever around (because she's butchy) they give a lot of looks of "disgust".  It's extremely frustrating and discouraging but I want her to be involved and I don't care about their personal judgment. Sadly, my parents are hesitant because they're not exactly proud of my lifestyle.  I feel like I'm in the middle and battling what's right.  As a lesbian, it always feels like you're "drawing attention" to yourself by coming out, or introducing your girlfriends.  I want it to be as "normal" as possible.  I suggested coming out to my aunts and cousins separately instead of in a group… but my mother thinks that's unnecessary and to wait until they ask.

I don't know what the most respectful approach is while at the same time least stressful for myself.

A:

Homophobic straight people want us to feel like we’re engaging in attention-seeking behaviors when we come out to extended family, when we hold our girlfriend’s hand, or when we insist on introducing her by the title girlfriend instead of pretending that she’s our roommate. They view it as attention-seeking because the presupposition is that we’re all straight, we’re all the same, and if you identify as gay, you’re the other. They’re looking at the world through a heteronormative lens; if you were straight, it wouldn’t be attention-seeking to introduce your boyfriend to your cousins as your boyfriend. In fact, if you brought a boyfriend to a family gathering and didn’t verbalize the title, he’d probably think you were ambivalent about the relationship.

Years ago, my wife Steph and I vacationed in Cannes. The people at our fancy resort were such douchebags to us that I was on the phone trying to get us the hell out of there within the first 24 hours (maybe things have changed - this was 2006). In a last ditch effort to save the remainder of our holiday, we drove our rental car to Barcelona. Our 11-hour road trip through the countryside of France made for a fun story, until I shared it with my stepmother who responded by saying, Why was it necessary for you to hold hands? I wouldn’t hold a man’s hand in public. The point is that she can hold a man’s hand in public without raising an eyebrow. The fact that she’s a WASP and would sooner, I don’t know – curse in public – is irrelevant. She has the choice because she’s a member of the majority.   

You’re confusing being respectful to your parents with enabling them to keep your relationship closeted. You’d like their permission to come out to your extended family – and I don’t think that’s going to happen. You deserve to live your truth, and that means letting people know who the woman in your life is.

I’ll be honest with you: I’m amazed your girlfriend has tolerated this for 8 years. It’s my belief that we should only date people who are on the same point of the coming-out-spectrum as we are. I would have told her that I thought you ladies were incompatible. Prove me wrong. Show her the wait was worth it.

Gender and Orientation: Female, Gay.