our everyday life

How to Determine if Your Relationship is Likely to Last

by Ann Trent

Couples enter a relationship hoping it will last, but sometimes warning signs are there from the start. Knowing the signs of a lasting relationship can not only help you tell whether your relationship is strong, but also what you need to change if it is not. Loving, lasting relationships have several characteristics that relationship researchers have identified as sure signs the couple will make it past the early years.

You Avoid Contempt

One of the most reliable predictors of divorce or relationship failure is frequent contempt and criticism between partners. Dr. John Gottman, a divorce researcher, has found that criticism and contempt for a partner -- through **mocking, shaming and guilting** -- are common signs of troubled marriages. Contempt in particular is an enormous problem: Gottman has identified this as a characteristic that almost never occurs in healthy relationships. If your relationship is characterized by positive interactions, communication based on empathy and **love instead of shame, and a positive view of your partner**, your relationship is likely to last.

Your Friends Approve

Studies have shown that in the early stages of your relationship, your friends have a better sense of the relationship's actual health than you do. Researchers have found that the relationship success predictions of friends and family members, who are outside the relationship and therefore better able to see possible issues, are far more accurate than predictions made by the couples themselves. **Ask your most trusted friends** what they think about your relationship and what weak points they might see. This insight can help you to know whether your relationship is on the right track.

You Trust Each Other

Trust in your partner is a **hallmark of a good relationship**. Trust means that you are not constantly suspicious, worried or insecure about the status of your relationship and you do not break your partner's trust by checking his phone or quizzing him about his activities. If trust has been broken in a relationship through lies or cheating, it is up to the partner who broke the trust to earn it back. Strong relationships include trust and the willingness to earn back trust when it has been broken.

You're Still Physically Close

Couples in trouble often stop showing physical affection. Couples who stay together engage in physical touching such as **hand-holding, casual touching and kissing**. If you find your relationship cooling off physically, make an effort to increase romantic touch and work on the physical aspect of your relationship. Studies have found that most people need several "significant touches" a day from loved ones. Work on being more mindful of how you interact physically with your partner if this is a problem in your relationship.

About the Author

Ann Trent has been publishing her writing since 2001. Her work has appeared in "Fence," the "Black Warrior Review" and the "Denver Quarterly." Trent received a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Ohio State University and has attended the Macdowell Colony. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in counseling.

Photo Credits

  • Janie Airey/Digital Vision/Getty Images