Habit #1: Strong couples negotiate the chore wars.
Increasingly couples consist of dual-income households where both individuals’ career paths are important to them.
This makes the need to navigate, negotiate, and openly discuss “the chore wars” – the shared way you both participate in the running of your household equitably – a priority.
Couples who can work through the sometimes-tough conversations about who does what and how that is valued or can be more equally shared can, in my opinion, strengthen the shared respect, power, and emotional intimacy between them since this is such a big, ever-present topic.
Habit #2: Strong couples have frank conversations about money and work through their money baggage together.
Couples who are in committed relationships inevitably need to talk about finances at some point together.
Couples make these conversations a priority and go beyond the quick conversations of who Venmo’d who what, to talk about how they want to intentionally share expenses based on their income ratios, who’s responsible for what debts they may have, what a household or shared budget might look like, and what their shared or differing values around money might be.
Couples who can talk openly and honestly about their money patterns and learn to navigate any difference (and acknowledge any similarities!) can greatly increase their sense of closeness and a shared sense of partnership.
Habit #3: Strong couples manage their conflicts skillfully.
According to pre-eminent couples researchers, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, 69% of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems.
So what this means is that 69% of the time, those problems cannot necessarily be solved, they can only be managed skillfully.
So, in my opinion, healthy couples focus less on how to fix or eliminate the perennially difficult dynamics between them and look more for creative solutions about how to manage those dynamics, learning to accept what they can and accommodate differences, acknowledging that this is a normal and natural part of being in a relationship.
Habit #4: Strong couples seek out couples counseling together.
Mature, healthy couples know that seeking out couples counseling isn’t a sign of weakness or that their relationship is doomed, but rather it’s an investment in their relationship to help work through issues they can’t quite fix on their own (like with any of the above).
This willingness to seek out help when its needed can be a lifeline for many couples in the course of the inevitable ups and downs and ebbs and flows in a relationship.
If you would like to explore couples counseling with us at Evergreen Counseling, please reach out to us and we would be happy to have a complimentary consult call with you and help you get set up with a couples counselor who’s a great match for you.