A common misconception about happy couples is that they were simply made for each other. In other words, they met, magic happened and life has been a bed of roses since then. What we sometimes forget is this: successful relationships work because both parties MAKE them work. Physical chemistry, laughter and common interests are a great (and important) starting point, but to stay together long-term you need more than that. Here are 4 things you'll need to work on once you've met your special someone:
  1. Communicate openly:  nothing is more important in successful relationships than communication. Knowing how to listen, sharing your thoughts openly, and being clear calm, honest and direct - even when there are things that are hard to hear.
  2. Make your relationship a priority:  Do the things you used to do when you were first dating: show appreciation, compliment each other, contact each other through the day, and show interest in each other. Plan date nights. Schedule time together on the calendar just as you would any other important event in your life. Respect one another. Say "thank you," and "I appreciate..." It lets your partner know that they matter.
  3. Conflict Resolution:  occasional conflict is a part of life and of relationships - learning how to resolve them in a civil and mutually respectful manner is whats most important. Conflict-resolution skills include techniques such as staying focused on the topic, staying focused on the present, being ready to forgive or apologize, and knowing when to take a break.
  4. Self awareness:  being aware of your emotions positive and negative, without censoring or squelching them. Be able to name your feelings, and understand their nuanced and shifting mixture. Observe your emotional state without judgment or rationalization.