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.