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3 Keys to a Happy Relationship, According to Researchers

3 Keys to a Happy Relationship, According to Researchers

A new study claims it has found the three keys to a happy romantic relationship. And much to my surprise, none of my guesses–expressing your feelings solely through interpretive dance and icy, silent glares; taking off your bra to distract during an argument; and settling major relationships issues with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors–made the list.

So what are the key factors linked to happy couplehood? The study tested 2,201 participants referred by couples counselors on seven “relationship competencies” believed to be important in promoting happiness in romantic relationships. The researchers tested for communication, conflict resolution, sex, stress management, life skills, knowledge of one’s partner, and self-management. Of the seven, only three had strong links to relationship happiness:

1. Communication

This is the big one—and probably the least surprising one to anyone particularly good or bad at communicating with their partner. Expressing your needs and feelings to your partner in a positive way was key to the happiness of the relationship.

2. Knowledge of Your Partner

Do you know your partner’s dark secrets? Their hopes and dreams? Their favorite book, guilty pleasure TV show, least favorite pizza topping? Though the importance of communication speaks to emotional needs within a relationship, this one is more practical…but just as important. Robert Epstein, the study’s lead author, points out that strengthening this aspect of the relationship can be relatively easy—as easy as remembering your anniversary, your partner’s birthday, and the names of the friends and relatives. The big stuff is also important—critical subjects like whether you and your partner want children is must-know information.

3. Life Skills

Losing out on promotions because you’re always late? Forget to pay the cable bill on time… every month? Struggle to add money to your savings account to prepare for the future? Those things can erode your relationship even if it’s healthy in other ways. “Communication skills are necessary,” Lisa Neff, a couples researcher at the University of Texas at Austin told Time, “but they’re not sufficient when couples are under stress.”

Do you agree with the three key factors to relationship happiness that this study found? What are the key factors that keep your own relationship happy?

Related:
12 Ways to Break Your Bad Relationship Habits
Is Sleeping Separately Good for Your Relationship?

Read more: Dating, Love, Relationships

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at dianavilibert.com, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.

85 comments

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2:45AM PDT on Sep 19, 2013

Specially communication... :) Thanks.

4:38AM PDT on Sep 13, 2013

Maybe.

10:40AM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

it isn't possible to do every single day of a long relationship, but am aim can be to try. Get up every morning and remember that your partner is the most important person in your life. Enjoy each day as best you can, we never know how many mornings we each have. And although there is acceptable behavior for relationships outside of the home, don't give all of your best to co-workers so you have none left to bring home.

5:11PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

Another good one-be unselfish.One more-practice unconditional love.

5:51PM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

tyvm...

3:21AM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

Thank you

2:23AM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

Thank you :)

12:45AM PDT on Aug 29, 2013

trrue

11:20PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

Great insight! Thanks for the info!

5:47PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

Money - this is the biggie - needs much negotiating or relationships suffer greatly.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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