When it comes to the secret recipe for relationship success, there is a lot of information out there. Instead of listing every necessary ingredient (or characteristic) to create a lasting love, we’ve condensed all the vital advice into the 3 C’s of healthy relationships. They are:
It really is as simple as that. So if you’re wondering whether you’re in a fling or a forever thing, or if your relationship can survive a storm, all you need to do is answer the following questions that have to do with the 3 C’s.
This should come as no surprise that communication is an essential cornerstone of a healthy, long-lasting relationship. Without it, wires are crossed, meanings are missed, and chaos ensues. And although great communication skills are the bedrock of success, you don’t need a Ph.D. in relationships to master this art. All you need to do is practice and learn from your mistakes. No one is ever perfect, so just take that goal off the table. But good communication is something that you both work towards, a mutual goal that results in both of your needs being met, both of you feeling supported, and both of you feeling heard.
Question 1: Do we have the same argument again and again?
If your fights sound like a broken record, it’s because there’s something broken in your communication. There are certain issues that may come up at different points in your relationship, but there shouldn’t be any reason to have the same fight more than once. An argument without a resolution is like a song without a chorus - it doesn’t really work. So if you notice your arguments are lacking a certain creativity, it’s time to focus on your communication skills.
Question 2: Is my partner a good listener?
This question doesn’t just refer to whether or not your partner is capable of putting down their phone, turning off the T.V. and listening to you - but whether they’re good at it. Not sure how to tell the difference? It’s all about how you feel afterwards. If you feel lighter, like you’ve gotten something off of your chest, happy, supported, and understood, then your partner is likely a good listener. They can do this in a myriad of ways, but some common ones include: eye contact, follow-up questions, empathy, and summarization.
Communication is a skill that takes time, patience and practice. Our relationship coaches are here to help, start your 7-day free trial of our award-winning relationship app today.
The ol’ give-and-take. Think of compromise not as a scale, where you add a little on each side until you reach optimum equilibrium - but rather, as a see-saw, where you and your partner ride up and down, but at the end of your turns, it all evened out. At different times in your relationship, sometimes just on a day-to-day basis, you and your partner will require more of each other. Some days, you’ll do 90% of the chores while they meet a deadline. Others, they’ll do 100% for 5 days in a row while you’re sick. You’re not counting or keeping score, because you know as much as you give, your partner gives too.
Question 1: How often do we compromise?
Most disagreements are much more complicated than this, but for the sake of this example let’s consider a simple formula. If you and your partner disagree about, say, where to eat dinner, there are probably 3 outcomes: where you want to eat, where your partner wants to eat, and a new place that sounds good to both of you. So, if you had to give a rough estimate of how much of the time you’re choosing option 3, what would it be? 10% of the time? 50% of the time? The ‘right answer’ will vary from couple to couple but the higher it is, the more harmonious you work as a couple.
Question 2: How often do we resolve our issues?
You know the old saying ‘never go to bed angry’? That’s a great way to look at this question. Are you and your partner quick to find the resolution to your problems or arguments, or do you often let things fester or simply fade into the background of your relationship? It’s much healthier to seek resolution right away, although people’s different conflict approaches might halt this progress. However, if you can think back and identify several different unresolved issues between you and your partner - you have some room for improvement when it comes to compromise.
Arguably the most vital trait to a healthy relationship, a lack of commitment can be lethal to a relationship. The underlying reasons vary wildly, so it’s difficult to diagnose this issue without understanding the history and the nuance of each partner’s reticence. However, if you want to work towards a more committed and stable relationship, it’s important to understand where you currently stand on the spectrum. (Not to loop in point #1, but open and clear communication is incredibly important here. Keeping your partner in the dark will only compound your mutual confusion.)
Question 1: Do we make plans in the future together?
Someone uninterested in commitment is certainly not jumping on the chance to book an Airbnb for the next holiday weekend. Pay attention to the way you and your partner make plans: are they always only about the upcoming weekend? Do you ever make plans further in the future? And are they of similar nature - dinners, dates, movies? Or do you make more serious plans, like vacations, family visits, and weddings?
Question 2: Do we make sacrifices for each other?
If you’re in a committed relationship, you’re regularly sacrificing. Not because your partner is so high-maintenance, of course, but because you prioritize their needs and their happiness above your own! Hopefully, it works in the reverse too. Understanding your level of commitment is as simple as observing how often you both sacrifice: they’re directly correlated. People who are not in committed relationships consider only themselves and their interests - everyone else is a distant second.
If you’ve answered these questions honestly, you’ll be left with a much clearer picture of what your future could look like in this relationship. And if you identify areas of concern, don’t worry. No relationship is perfect, no matter what it seems on social media. Take the necessary steps, whether with your partner, a therapist, or a relationship tool, to address those changes and make strides towards becoming the couple you want to be.
So, will it last? A relationship quiz will only tell you so much... For real insight into your love life, download Relish and get started with the #1 relationship training app for free.