It’s no secret that people have been searching for the answers to what makes a relationship successful for decades. Researchers recently set out to explain why some partnerships thrive and some fail through a year long study with over 11,000 couples that was just published six months ago. The findings just might surprise you. The landmark study found that there was one factor that made it more likely than any other to have a thriving relationship. And it beat out age, gender, income level and even sexual satisfaction. So, what was this factor?? One partner’s perception of how committed their partner was to the relationship. So, the study found that partners who believed that their partner was committed to the relationship were the most likely to have a thriving relationship.
So, knowing the importance of your perception of your partner’s commitment in having a successful relationship, how do you apply the findings of this study to your relationship? For those of us who are in a committed relationship, there are two questions you need to ask yourself and then two action steps you can implement that will help you. If you are not currently in a relationship, there is still much that can me learned from this study including two takeaways about what to look to look for in a partner.
Currently In a Committed Relationship: Two Questions to Ask Yourself
The First Question: Take a moment and ask yourself what tells you that your partner is committed to the relationship? You might be surprised to recognize that it might be a small act of kissing you goodbye before they leave, a consistent check-in text they send you, or something larger such a a joint-venture in signing tons of paperwork and working towards owning a home or going through tests and procedures to start a family together via IVF. Whatever it is for you, have you expressed your appreciation to your partner for it? Make a concerted effort to express appreciation for those acts that you value that show commitment to you.
The Second Question: What do you do to show that you are committed to your relationship? It could once again be something small and consistent [which the research shows makes a profound difference] or it could be something larger. Most of the time we don’t outright explain why we are doing what we are doing but these acts are essential to having our relationships thrive. Select something that shows your commitment to your relationship and simply do whatever the act is and let your partner know that your objective in doing it is to let them know you are committed to the relationship. Even if it is unloading the dishwasher after a long day, simply state to your partner that “our relationship is important to me and that is why I’m unloading the dishwasher.” Be intentional in showing your commitment to your relationship and you will how much your relationship improves just like watering a plant. I should note that this is not a quid pro quo where you expect that your partner reciprocates–it is simply your desire to share your commitment. They might reciprocate or they might not, but you are still feeding your relationship and helping it to thrive.
Not Currently In a Committed Relationship: Two Takeways
Even if you are not currently in a committed relationship, there are several valuable things you can take away from this study.
One, the study found that interestingly their partner’s personality or their partner’s perception of the relationship didn’t seem to matter much. And while factors such as your personality or whether or not you experience depression or anxiety could very well affect the quality of your relationship, the study authors noted that building a relationship that you feel satisfied and secure in could outweigh those things. You are not a perfect person and you are not going to date or marry a perfect person but you do want to make sure that you feel that you are building a relationship where you feel secure and that you could build something together.
The second takeaway from the study is that what the researchers found is that your own judgment or your own view of your relationship — meaning, how satisfied you feel your partner is or how appreciative you are of your partner — says more about the quality of your relationship than either of your personalities. So, don’t focus so much on whether a person fits your type or checks all of your boxes but rather how you are engaging with each other and if the relationship leaves you feeling satisfied. The study author’s noted that when it comes to a satisfying relationship that can thrive, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick. Your perspective and your perception of yourself in the relationship–how secure and comfortable you feel about yourself matters.
The secret to what helps your relationship thrive is no longer a secret. So, take the time to apply the findings of this study and watch how your relationship improves. If you are not currently in a relationship, make sure that you are dating a person that allows you to feel secure about yourself and how you feel in the relationship and has the same desires of commitment that you do. It can make all the difference in the success of your relationship.
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