Five keys to a bond built to last

By Shayna Brouker • Published: May 16th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

How do you keep your honey happy? Like any living thing, relationships take work and tender loving care. Gifts, affection, quality time and other tokens of appreciation are a start, but a new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships actually pinpointed five keys to keeping a relationship healthy.

Science has extensively studied what causes a partnership to fail, but this study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign sought what makes it last. The study investigated the habits of more than 12,000 participants across 35 studies and found five factors that reliably made up a good relationship: openness, positivity, assurance, shared tasks and a shared social network.

Openness was defined as mutual comfort in talking about feelings. Positivity is behaving cheerfully toward your partner in daily interactions. Assurance is demonstrating commitment to your significant other and the relationship. Shared tasks means sharing chores and tasks equally. A shared social network is embracing your partner’s family and friends, and vice versa.

Another essential ingredient for a strong relationship is a sense of self-identity. You should be able to “be you” separate from your partner’s feelings toward you. Your relationship should be a secure base from which both partners are able to explore individual goals, hobbies and interests. Because no relationship is perfect, effective and constructive management of conflict is also a critical component.

And above all, so is trust. Beyond trusting your honey not to stray, trust builds intimacy. Every relationship is different, but these bricks all make up a bond built to last. Oh, and flowers “just because” every once in a while don’t hurt, either.