6. You lean in.
Not in a Sheryl Sandberg kind of way, but in a body language kind of way. “A tilt of the head, a shift of the leg, a look or a change in tone can all indicate a breakthrough, a change in awareness that says they are now hearing, understanding and are being responsive to one another,” says Salamon. He cites a couple he recently worked with where the wife felt like her husband didn’t show affection anymore. After a bit of back and forth it became clear that mornings for the couple were especially hectic. “I asked if they kiss one another good-bye when they leave every morning and hello when they get home every night,” he says. “They committed right then and there to kiss more, even if just in passing, and to have one date night a week.”
7. You like and respect each other.
Spouses in successful marriages really strive to meet each other’s needs simply because they genuinely like to see their partners happy. “They’re concerned when their spouse seems unhappy and don’t just blow it off, thinking ‘that’s his problem,’ ” says Feuerman. They ask what’s wrong when something seems off. They offer solutions. And they show gratitude and appreciation for each other by thanking them and hearing them out.8. You empathize with each other.
“I notice if couples are empathizing with each other, listening attentively, and responding,” says Feuerman. “Good partners turn toward each other—not away—when one of them is trying to make an emotional connection.” Likewise, successful couples try hard to avoid gridlock on issues. “Some issues in a relationship are just not solvable (for example, personality traits) so a couple that is going to make it practices things like tolerance, empathy, and negotiation when problems arise,” says Feuerman.
9. You make up the right way
The biggest clue to whether a marriage is sustainable is how couples reunite after a tiff, says Jeannette Raymond, PhD, a licensed marriage therapist in Los Angeles and author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t!. “Taking the initiative to invite your partner back into your world after a disappointment is a good sign,” she says. “It doesn’t mean you have necessarily gotten over it, but it shows that your need to restore your emotional connection and security in the relationship takes precedence over your hurt feelings.” These couples want to make it work and recognize that sometimes that means saying you’re sorry and sticking around to solve the problems. Adds Feuerman: “One of the most important things I notice is that the couple views their marriage as a life-long journey and not something to quickly bail on when things get rough. The couples that make it ride out the ups and downs together as a team and stay committed.”