This Is the Key to a Lasting Relationship, Science Says

Katie Sweeney

According to a recent Business Insider article, there is one crucial trait that defines whether or not your relationship will succeed. “Research has shown that kindness is the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in a marriage. Kindness makes each partner feel cared for, understood, validated—and feel loved,” writes Emily Esfahani Smith. Although not everyone is inherently kind, the trait is like a muscle that can grow stronger over time.

A good relationship requires both partners to be kind to each other. This means that when your boyfriend wants your attention while you’re online shopping, you stop what you’re doing, look up, and engage him kindly. If you turn away from your partner and focus on your iPad, it could eventually cause a conflict. “Neglecting small moments of emotional connection will slowly wear away at your relationship. Neglect creates distance between partners and breeds resentment in the one who is being ignored.”

Smith says kindness is more than just an occasional back rub or box of chocolate. Being kind to your partner means that you recognize their intentions and celebrate their accomplishments. “We’ve all heard that partners should be there for each other when the going gets rough. But research shows that being there for each other when things go right is actually more important for relationship quality. How someone responds to a partner’s good news can have dramatic consequences for the relationship.” So congratulate your partner when they get a promotion and be generous with your kindness. It could be the key to many years of marital bliss.

Learn more about the longevity of relationships by reading The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.

Do you and your partner practice being kind to one another?

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