What are 4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships?

Today, some 39 percent of marriages in the United States are ending in divorce. This data comes from the most recent census data, and there are a number of reasons that couples are deciding to call it quits.

Relationships are difficult. Everybody knows that. Most people think it’s because of money, sex, kids, work, or who picks up the socks. BUT there’s actually nothing more difficult on the planet than another person and neither boys nor girls in childhood are taught how to build healthy relationships with another person. Let’s find out the secret ingredient of Successful Relationships from featuring experts in Psychology who were asked to contribute their professional wisdom about  4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships.

Wendy L. Patrick, JD, MDiv, Ph.D.



The Prosecutor, Consultant, Public Speaker – she was named the Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year by the California State Bar’s Public Law Section and has been recognized by her peers as one of the Top Ten criminal attorneys in San Diego by the San Diego Daily Transcript. She has completed over 165 trials ranging from sex crimes to domestic violence, to first-degree murder.

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.To give each other Selective Attention – No one has ever been married too long to remind your spouse why they fell in love with you.  Successful relationships consist of partners who even in a crowd, make each other feel like they are the only person in the room.  Maintain eye contact.  Leave phones in your pocket.  Focus on your one true love. Don’t be distracted, selective attention means you are uniquely interested in your partner, not the crowd.  Don’t pay attention to everyone, only your love interest.

Don´t believe this works?  Try it the next time you are out at a gathering or out to dinner, and see how many people ask whether you are newlyweds!

2.The second tip might seem counterintuitive at first glance, particularly for couples who have been together for years.  It is called The Reverse Selfie.  Focus on your partner instead of yourself. Your significant other may not even recognize why he or she suddenly craves your company more than ever, but it will be an undeniable urge to spend more time with you. You are never old enough or established enough as a couple to focus on each other.

3.Laughing – Couples who laugh together stay together.  Yes, you need love, devotion, respect, mutual admiration, and the other components of a quality relationship.  But you need to have fun together.  And laughing releases endorphins that make you crave more time together.

4.Comfort counts – Happy couples often jokingly refer to each other as an “old shoe.” They are not describing each other as old, but as comfortable.  Happy couples love to have each other around because they are comfortable.  They don’t need to put on airs, they can relax and be “themselves.”  Comfort stems from unconditional love and acceptance.

Dr. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr.

www.GaryLewandowski.com, Instagram/Twitter: @LewandowskiPhD

The Professor and former Chair in the Department of Psychology at Monmouth University and author of Stronger Than You Think:The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship…and How to See Past Them.

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.They’re Best Friends – While romantic relationships have an element of physical attraction and lust, the best and most successful relationships are between two people who consider each other best friends. They genuinely like and respect each other, and enjoy each other’s company

2.They Keep Small Problems Small – In strong relationships, partners are willing to address any issues as they arise because they aren’t afraid of the fallout. Having conversations each time conflicts inevitably arise, it allows couples to work through them before they get blown out of proportion.

3.They Share the Power – Successful relationships have partners who are equals. Both partners share decision-making, have influence over each other, and equally guide the relationship forward. Though each person may take the lead in a particular domain (e.g., one person is in charge of bill paying, while the other handles house maintenance), their contributions even out in the end.

4.They Continue to Date – All relationships start strong, but the most successful find ways to keep their momentum going by continuing to invest time and effort in the relationship. The easiest way to do that is to not take the relationship and continue to date, by spending time together doing N.I.C.E. activities that are new, interesting, challenging, and exciting. Not only do those types of activities bolster the relationship, but they help both partners grow as individuals as well.

Angela Koreth

[email protected]

MS, LPC-S, Program Manager, The Menninger Clinic – Outpatient Services.

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.Collaboration  Successful relationships consist of both, “I” and “We”. There is an important balance of some separateness for togetherness to be appreciated. Individuals in successful relationships support and work together on short/long, individual, and relationship goals. Finding ways to collaborate, whether it is in parenting, a hobby or volunteering allows opportunities to collaborate, bond, and build on togetherness.

2.Communication Individuals in a healthy relationship lean into the hard conversations rather than avoid them. They respectfully share and explore solutions, make space to hear one another, have allowances to process, and embraces different perspectives. Regular check-ins are a healthy investment into the relationship and an opportunity to check the “relationship pulse” on how each thinks or feels.

3.Care – (aka love, appreciation, gratitude, thankfulness, support) As humans, we all need to be validated by others. Expressing gratitude regularly increases relationship bonding and closeness. In a healthy relationship, there is a priority to engage in frequent physical, verbal, emotional intimacy, and affection. In healthy relationships, one intentionally and sincerely acknowledges the other, apologizes when they hurt the other, and adheres to healthy boundaries. Whether it is daily small gestures or grand ones – it should be partner-centered. In healthy relationships, we appreciate our partner’s differences and deepen our care by learning their love language. (e.g. leave a note or send a text expressing gratitude; have regularly dated; give a gift showing your appreciation or love for them or perform an act of service like filling up the gas tank or pick up food from their favorite restaurant).

4.Commitment Individuals in a healthy relationship recognize that there will be good/bad days, ups/downs but there is a commitment to stay together and exhaust all avenues of help. In healthy relationships when things get tough or when there is an impasse, getting outside assistance is allowed. This support can come from a therapist, your place of worship, a workshop; a group, or a friend that is safe to share with – all can offer objective insights. In healthy relationships it is vital one recognizes and commits to the need for aid. There are an understanding and commitment to lean into healthy places for that support.

Brendan Kelly, M.D., Ph.D.

Brendan Kelly Amazon Author Page

The Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and Consultant Psychiatrist at Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin.

Author of New Book: The Science of Happiness: The Six Principles of a Happy Life and the Seven Strategies for Achieving It

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.Communication Honest communication both with yourself and with others

2.Compassion Endless compassion towards all beings, including yourself.

3.Creativity Fresh thinking enlivens every relationship.

4.Confidence Be confident in your own ability to love and the generosity of others.

David Ludden, Ph.D.


The Professor of psychology at Georgia Gwinnett College. He received his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Iowa, and he is the author of two books, The Psychology of Language: An Integrated Approach and A History of Modern Psychology: The Quest for a Science of the Mind.

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.Communication – You need to be able to express your needs and to listen to your partner express theirs. You shouldn’t expect your partner to be able to read your mind, nor should you expect them to listen to you if you shout at them or berate them. And no cold-shoulder treatment either! Instead, express your needs in a calm and reassuring manner.

2.Responsiveness – When you partner needs to communicate with you, listen with your full attention and without being defensive or judgmental. Set aside whatever you’re doing and be there completely for your partner in their moment of need. After all, isn’t that what you would want them to do for you?

3.Authenticity – Be your true self at all times, both to yourself and to your partner. If you fake it, your partner will know, and that will only plant the seeds of doubt and distrust in your relationship. As individuals, each of you has a right to privacy, but as a couple, you shouldn’t keep secrets from each other, especially those that will hurt your partner or the relationship if they were found out.

4.Acceptance – Your partner is not a “home improvement project.” You have to accept them as they are, not as you would like them to be. You can’t change another person. But through your interactions, each of you will change on your own. Find things to do together that will help each of you achieve personal growth while also growing closer together as a couple.

Mary McNaughton-Cassill, Ph.D.


Received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the UCSD/SDSU Joint Clinical Doctoral program in San Diego. She is currently a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she teaches Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Learning, Psychology and Health, Physiological Psychology, and Stress Management.

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

You know about the 3 R’s but what about the 4 T’s?

From the minute we are born humans are dependent on others, first for our survival, and later for our well-being. Good relationships enhance our lives on every level, while difficult ones can harm our mental and physical health. But what are the factors that contribute to rewarding relationships? I would argue that the 4 T’s, Trust, Tolerance, Time, and Talk are crucial to the success of our interactions with others.

1.Trust – A fundamental aspect of survival. We need to know who we can trust in times of need, and who we will use our resources to support.  If we don’t trust the intentions, words, or actions of the people we interact with then we spend out time second-guessing each other and questioning our own value which makes it impossible to share vulnerable moments, build intimacy, or even to cooperate to reach mutually acceptable compromises.

2.Tolerance – People are complicated, contradictory, organisms. We often change our own minds and positions, never mind agreeing with those around us. But to succeed socially we have to learn to tolerate differences between our own views and those of others. This doesn’t mean that we should put up with violations of our core values, or abuse, but we don’t have to be in total agreement with our partners, teammates, or colleagues to have a working relationship. Relationships can survive differences in political, personal, and political outlook if the members of the relationships treat alternative views with respect.

3.Time – Humans are social animals, but we are programmed to focus on the negative and distrust others. We overcome those biases by spending time with others. This allows us to see individuals as they really are, and to challenge the stereotypes and misperceptions we hold.  In some ways, we need to treat our interactions the way we would like gardening. If you just throw the seeds in the ground and spend no time watering or caring for them they may struggle along, but they won’t reach their potential. Whether we are talking about our kids, our spouses, or the people who work for us, they need to know that we prioritize time spent with them.

4.Talk – One of the enduring phrases of parenting is “use your words.” We say variations of this phrase to toddlers having a meltdown, to teens who are sulking, and to partners who have shut down or expressing emotions through non-verbal cues. But the great beauty of the human brain is that it is specialized to communicate. We have neural structures that allow us to develop complex languages, capture our thoughts in symbols other people can decode, generate and share abstract concepts, and pass knowledge from one generation to another. We may have to work sometimes to harness our emotions through the power of words, but it is truly a human superpower.

Given our interdependence on each other, it might behoove us to consider whether we should devote as much time to learning about the 4 T’s as we do the 3 R’s.

Dr. Martin Graff



The Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of South Wales, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, and a chartered psychologist who carries out research on online interaction and the formation and dissolution of romantic relationships online and offline, as well as research on online persuasion and disinhibition.

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.Empathy – Sharing your partner’s feelings.  One example of good empathy is taking a similar perspective to your partner.  Seeing things the way they see them or imagining how your partner must feel when they are sad, or equally being pleased for them when they are happy.  This does mean that you appreciate their feelings, without forgetting whose feelings they are.

2.Trust – Trust is important, as not trusting someone else makes life difficult because you are always on your guard and continually watching your partner.  People can have more or less trusting personalities.  At one extreme, some people even have a motivation to acquire relationship threatening information, such as looking at a partner’s phone messages, etc.  Trust makes relationships easier and more relaxed.

3.Partnership – Seeing each other as partners, and having similar attitudes and values, such as sharing attitudes to things like politics, religion, child-rearing, and so on makes for better and more sustainable relationships.  Being partners and having similar attitudes to major issues make for more agreement and less conflict in the relationship.

4.Intimacy – This means physical intimacy.   It doesn’t have to be sex, it could just be touch or tenderness.  Relationships that lack intimacy and don’t involve some kind of physical or skin-to-skin contact intimacy, even as relationships develop and people get older, are judged less satisfying.

Dennis Relojo-Howell

Founder of Psychreg

4 Habits of ALL Successful Relationships:

1.Good communication ensures that you feel appreciated and wanted.

2.Listening is considered by some to be twice as important as talking since we have two ears and one mouth. If you find yourself assuming too much about your partner, consider a course in active listening.

3.Communication is also non-verbal and facial expressions and other actions can say much more than any words.

4.The tone of communication is equally important, with the silent treatment, aggression or foul language all considered to be red flags in any relationship.

If you want to learn more visit our additional resources:

How to Build a Healthy Relationship Between a Man and a Woman with Science

Apparently, This Is Why Relationships Are Hard Nowadays – Neurobiological Reflexes

Long-Distance Relationships – Real Things You Should Know to Make Them Work

3 Critical Skills You Must Learn For Healthy Romantic Relationships – Joanne Davila, PhD

10 Signs That Will Make You Look at Your Husband in a New Way

500 Awesome Relationship Quotes to Express Your Feelings

How To Break The Cycle Of Unhappy Relationship And Select The Right One

What Causes Two People To Fall In Love With Science

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