9. THEY FORGIVE EACH OTHER.
Learning to move away from arguments, no matter who “won” and just getting on with your life together is a lesson most successful couples seem to have learned. It all comes down to make a life together more civil and pleasant, which helps makes relationships last in the long run. And yes, apparently that does mean not saying “I told you so”. Damn.
10. THEY KNOW THAT THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER.
Romantic gestures, taking the time to have lunch together or go for a walk, remembering to honor the connection even when life happens – the little things add up to the big picture of a great relationship. It may seem silly to work at such stuff when work, school or kids come along, but apparently pretty much all responders in this study listed these as a majorly important part of their relationships. So ignore these at your own peril.
11. THEY MAKE SEX A PRIORITY.
OK, so we don’t really need 1500 couples to tell us that, do we? But validation is important. Couples noted that when things go bad, the first indication is the sex. Some went as far as saying they schedule “sexy time” in order to keep their relationship healthy, or even fix it when things are going bad. Either way, all these extremely long-term relationships seem to involve regular sex, so if you’ve always been saying that sex is important, here’s your proof.
12. THEY APPRECIATE THE VALUE IN RELATIONSHIP RULES.
Couples reported having their own logical divisions of labor (cooking, cleaning, taking care of children) that matched their own lifestyle, rather than expectations, traditional gender roles, etc. Some even said they reviewed theirs regularly, as you would in a business. There are some jobs one of you will hate, whereas others might be harmless. Learning to work with your own preferences and dividing things along those lines is apparently a winning tactic for making your home life not suck.
13. THEY KNOW HOW TO RIDE OUT THE EBBS AND FLOWS.
Long-term couples reported that their feelings go through phases. Sometimes they feel deep love for each other, other times they wake up next to each other thinking “what are we doing here?”. The key for these couples was learning how to ride out the bad or indifferent bits and just accept them as part of the relationship. Someone described these as “waves” that you need to learn to ride. It may not be as glamorous as “happily ever after”, but it does have the advantage of actually being real.