Characteristics That Make a Strong Relationship

Strong couples recognize the benefits of humor.
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A strong relationship comes with numerous health benefits, according to relationship consultant Athena Staik in her "PsychCentral" article "10 Benefits of Healthy Couple Relationships." For example, she notes that individuals in healthy relationships tend to live longer, experience fewer bouts of mental and physical illness and seem more at peace with themselves and those around them. These benefits don't always come easy. They require some work by both you and your partner. However, if you and your loved one want to reap these benefits, learn some habits and characteristics of resilient couples.

1 Realistic Expectations

Strong couples don't focus on unrealistic expectations. Perhaps you expect your partner to always spend time with you rather than hanging out with friends. Or perhaps you expect him to remember each and every special date and make each one more extravagant than the last. Remember, your partner is only human, and you must allow room for some mistakes from him and yourself. Unrealistic expectations can lead to frustration and disappointment, warns Doron Gil, a self-awareness and relationship expert, in his "PsychCentral" article "Seven Tips on Developing and Maintaining a Successful Intimate Relationship."

2 Understand Emotional Motives

Healthy couples make an effort to understand the emotional needs and wants behind their behavior. For example, fear of being hurt or rejected might cause you or your partner to be too submissive, notes Gil. Or perhaps the desire for independence might keep one of you from fully committing. By understanding the emotional forces at work behind your behavior, you and your partner have a better chance at problem-solving.

3 Take Responsibility

Conflicts are bound to happen -- and if you don't believe so, you might be setting up unrealistic expectations. However, healthy couples take it upon themselves to set egos aside to handle conflict. These individuals aim to better themselves and the relationship rather than to "win" victories over their partners, suggests Randi Gunther, a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, in her "Psychology Today" article "Who Are the 'Keepers'?" The Behaviors of Successful Long-Term Partners."

4 Embrace Lightheartedness

Happy couples know that humor and positive thinking go a long way. For example, humor will allow you both to overcome anxiety, frustrations and disappointments, suggests Gunther. However, avoid using humor as a means to mock each other or belittle important issues. In addition, a strong couple can find peace in fond memories, while forgiving past conflicts and negative situations. With a sense of lightheartedness, they can find the positive and excitement in many situations.

Mitch Reid has been a writer since 2006. He holds a fine arts degree in creative writing, but has a persistent interest in social psychology. He loves train travel, writing fiction, and leaping out of planes. His written work has appeared on sites such as and GlobalPost, and he has served as an editor for ebook publisher Crescent Moon Press, as well as academic literary journals.