Most people know a couple who have a relationship to admire. My husband and I met an amazing Dutch couple in Toronto at a conference we attended eight years ago. Fedde and Ria have been together for over 30 years, and their relationship looks natural, easy and beautiful.
Because they have a thriving relationship, they were able to share some of their wisdom with us. During a tough season in our relationship, they spent a significant amount of time counseling us.
- Successful couples are positive about each other. They don’t speak negatively of their partner to anyone, and they encourage one another rather than criticize.
- They grow and try new things together. It’s easy to grow apart if you’re not growing together. Learning something new together will often bring new joys and new ways of connecting.
- Successful couples apologize as soon as possible and bounce back from disagreements quickly. One of my friends told me that his mentor taught him early on that the stronger person apologizes first, even if they didn’t do anything wrong. He said that helped him realize the value of serving the other person.
- Each person in a successful relationship takes care of themselves. They are proactive in dealing with their own emotional baggage, past hurt and anything that would limit them from being a healthy person. They don’t let their stuff get in the way.
- Successful couples try to see things from each other’s point of view. They don’t become defensive, but they practice empathy.
- They never threaten to leave.
- They make each other a priority and don’t take each other for granted. They put in effort, and they never stop dating.