Relationship Mistakes Not to Make
6 Things Strong Couples Never Do (That Distinguish Them From Other Relationships)
Whether you’re single or in a committed partnership, understanding what it takes for a relationship to thrive can only help your love life.
The truth is, no matter how attracted to each other you are, or how compatible you are, amazing, lasting, loving relationships don’t just happen randomly — they are the result of daily habits and building up your relating skills.
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If you want to have a healthy, fulfilling relationship, it’s always a good time to understand what those habits and skills are and start practicing them. To inspire you on your love journey, here are six things that the strongest couples never, ever do (and what they focus on instead).
Relationship Mistakes That Strong Couples Don’t Make
1. Strong Couples Don’t Avoid Conflict
If you think that strong couples never fight, think again. Strong couples don’t shy away from conflict because they understand that disconnecting from each other emotionally is a relationship killer. When you don’t voice feelings and concerns, resentment builds and creates a wedge between partners.
On the other hand, that feeling of closeness and intimacy comes from being honest with each other even when it’s uncomfortable.
“We know from research that conflict is not the predictor of divorce/ending of a relationship. Emotional disconnection is what kills a relationship. It's like trying to have a relationship dance when no one is on the floor dancing,” says therapist Kimberly Schildbach.
2. Strong Couples Don’t Shut Each Other Out
Even when they are in the middle of an argument, strong couples never shut each other out. They avoid behaviors like stonewalling, which consists of refusing to communicate and withdrawing.
Even though it’s often the result of feeling overwhelmed by a conversation, shutting down is a harmful behavior.
“Strong couples won't turn away when the going gets rough,” says Schildbach. “That alone can kill the connection you have with your partner and activate a sense of abandonment.”
3. Strong Couples Don’t Threaten to End the Relationship
According to couples therapist Sheila Tucker, the strongest couples don’t say things like “maybe we should break up” just because they’re in the middle of a fight.
“Slamming your ring on the counter, throwing it at your partner, or verbally threatening to leave only serves to weaken the relationship bond,” she says. “It isn't easy to trust your partner is there for you when it simultaneously seems they have one foot out the door.”
4. Strong Couples Don’t Think the Worst of Their Partner
Tucker also notes that while misunderstandings and communication issues are going to happen in relationships, couples in strong relationships seek clarification if a partner’s comments seem off or rubs them the wrong way. They don’t jump to conclusions and assume the worst about their partner’s intentions.
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“They'll also allow for compassion and grace if their partner's having a bad day,” says Tucker.
Even strong couples disappoint each other occasionally. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t trust each other. When you trust each other, you operate from the assumption that your partner cares about you and doesn’t have bad intentions. From that point on, you communicate to get back on the same page.
5. Strong Couples Never Lose Faith In Their Relationship
“Strong couples remain committed to their relationship, and remain hopeful when their connection is strained,” says Schildbach.
In other words, they don’t lose faith in their relationship. This doesn’t mean holding on to an unhealthy connection at all costs, but it does mean seeking professional help to heal their relationship as needed.
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“Strong couples know that with help from an expert, a relationship can be saved. Even in cases of serious attachment trauma, such as infidelity, couples can build stronger bonds and come away from that experience stronger than before,” adds Schildbach.
6. Strong Couples Never Belittle or Insult Each Other
You won’t see strong couples belittling or insulting each other when they’re angry. People in solid relationships would rather take a time-out than say things they will regret.
“A time-out allows both partners to cool off before coming back together,” says Tucker, who adds that strong couples have mastered the art of repair. “They're able to reconnect after an argument and find a solution.”
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Other Habits of Strong Couples to Emulate
Now that you know about the things that strong couples don’t do, you may be wondering about what to focus on instead.
According to Tucker, strong couples are genuinely curious about each other, which “fosters more open dialogue and the ability to have difficult conversations, argue, and disagree.”?
Schildbach agrees that being curious about what it's like for your partner to experience life, especially with their background and their resources for coping, is key.
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Aim to see your partner as someone on the same team as you instead of an enemy. Approach conversations with a genuine desire to understand where your partner is coming from instead of being defensive or trying to get your point across. It will work wonders for your relationship.
You’ll also want to work on your ability to tolerate difficult emotions and manage them — this will help foster a sense of closeness in your relationship and keep conversations constructive.
“Key habits for a strong relationship are the ability to turn towards each other again and again, to not numb out or turn away when the hard stuff comes but remain open to what your partner is telling you,” says Schildbach.
As cheesy as it sounds, a lot of the habits of strong couples do boil down to trust, respect, and communication — pillars of an amazing relationship.
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