Nobody can look solely to another person to meet all of his or her needs. To be truly present in another’s life, we must first learn to fulfil ourselves. However, once a union has been formed, there are certain dynamics that can make for a happier, longer-lasting relationship. Knowing what to look for and seeking help can make things clearer when emotions are running high and judgment is easily clouded.

Happiness does not require a particular prescriptive set of circumstances. At the heart of happy relationships is a sense of balance. If you put aside for a moment your preconceptions about what your partner should be like, and look at what they are like, you will be better able to gauge whether you are compatible.

  • Key Factors in Compatibility
  1. Do you share common values?

This might not seem important when you are stargazing at your beloved’s every move, but in a long term relationship, common values are a key factor in bringing happiness. You will want to be able to plan a future together, make big decisions and work as a team. If your core values are not aligned, and neither party is willing to adapt, there will be conflict. Being honest with yourself and each other early on about what you are willing to compromise on will save a lot of heartache.

  1. Can you be yourself?

Can you be your true self, not just the self you have projected early on? If you find you are hiding parts of yourself in order to remain likeable to your partner, this may not be the relationship for you.

  1. Can you laugh together?

A sense of humour is so important and can sustain you as a couple when times get tough. Not being able to laugh together may be predictive of future tensions. A trained psychologist can help you learn to laugh together. This is a great step forward.

  1. Can you say sorry?

There will be times when saying sorry is the best thing you can do. When one or both partners have difficulty doing this, there remains a lack of closure and an inability to move on. This can put a great strain on relationships.

  1. Can you trust each other? Do you feel safe?

Honesty is central to lasting relationships. While some marriages seem to get by with deceptions in place, a lasting, fulfilling, relationship in which you can grow cannot be achieved where trust is broken. Your internal voice should let you know if you don’t feel safe. Be careful not to confuse stress-related anxiety with excitement. While being in love can be energising, it should not be constantly stressful.

Knowing When to Leave

Whether you’ve just met or have been together for some time, making the decision to leave a relationship you feel drawn to is never easy. You may have invested time, emotions, and money, along with having mutual friends and regular hangouts. Leaving the relationship may feel to you like you are leaving your whole life behind. Sometimes moving on from a relationship that is no longer working is the best thing for both parties. Identifying problems early and assessing whether or not they can be resolved can be a great investment in your future, especially when you are considering marriage.

Whatever your concerns, if you would like some guidance to work this out, relationship counselling can help.