Couple talking on couch

1Fighting fair

We all argue – but knowing how to argue in a way that moves your relationship forward is what’s important. If both you and your partner are able to fight fair (debating the issue at hand, not belittling each other in a quest to be right), your relationship will be much better off. We all love to be right, but arguing for the sole purpose of winning usually means you’re not listening to your partner’s side of the story. Arguing intelligently takes practice and patience, but if you can both work on developing your ability to fight fair, you’ll both be happier.

2Good listening

Being a good listener is probably one of the most underrated but important skills you can bring to your relationship. If you don’t listen to your partner, you’ll never really know how he feels or what he needs. It can be so easy to get caught up in our own lives (and who’s emailing/texting/calling us) that we don’t actually hear what our partner is saying. If you can both commit to really listening to each other and develop that skill, it gets easier and easier to move your relationship forward.

3Ability to laugh

Physical attraction is one thing, but couples who can laugh together often have a much better shot at staying together. Dr. Karin Anderson, Associate Professor of Psychology at Concordia University Chicago and author of It Just Hasn’t Happened Yet, explains that taking things too seriously could hurt your relationship. “Couples who fail to make concerted efforts to have fun will likely fall into a daily grind that could rob them of their joy and the spark that initially brought them together,” she explains. So if you both like to laugh, ensure that humor remains a fixture in your relationship.

4Effective communication

If you and your partner can communicate effectively with one another about everything – from sex to finances to dividing housework – things will get easier. Being in a relationship means dealing with dozens, if not hundreds of issues every day and if you spend more time making assumptions about each other rather than actually communicating, you’re going to get into trouble, explains Alisa Bowman, author of Project: Happily Ever After. “Over time, as you get to know one another, you can get better at reading each other’s minds. In the beginning, when you are not as familiar with each other, it’s downright impossible.”

Is your partner listening?

What his body language will tell you

Relationship therapist, Dr. Sheri Meyers shares telltale body language signs that your partner is NOT listening to you.

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