Science Says That Happy Couples Do The Following 7 Things

Here's what data and research reveal can keep your relationship thriving.

Love & Relationships

Something that my late father and I have in common is we dig research and data. Back when he was alive, a lot of our email exchanges consisted of sharing random "Did you know?" info back and forth; the kind of stuff that probably only Jeopardy contestants would even remotely care about. Well, since a lot of my life consists of dealing with romantic relationships, I really enjoy reading scientific research that specifically relates to couples. Stuff that might seem like automatic common sense to some yet there is more than mere opinions to back the resolves up.

Today, let's tackle what keeps some people happier in their relationships than others. If after reading this, you can relate, please share your thoughts in the comments. If you never considered some of these things before, why not apply them ASAP? Love, on its own, is a beautiful thing. Oh, but when you're in love and happy in your relationship most of the time—life really doesn't get much better than that.

1. They Don’t Do a Lot of Texting (to Each Other)


There is literally only one person who has my cell number. Everyone else has my landline. A part of the reason is because I don't like the "I should have immediate access to you" impression that cell phones tend to give other folks. Plus, I write for a living. Texting all day long is one of the last things that I want to do. Meanwhile, it kind of amazes me how many married people prefer to text over talking over the phone. I don't mean simple stuff like, "Can you pick up some juice on the way home?" or "I'll be home at 7" kind of texts. I mean they will discuss serious issues, sometimes even have drag out fights that way.

There is one couple I know, in particular, who does it all of the time. When I encourage them to not only not text but to wait until they are face-to-face before getting all deep, they just blow the recommendation off. Yet—surprise, surprise—they rarely get matters resolved (definitely not in a timely fashion) and it's all because words are choppy and tone is left out when they text. When it comes to truly communicating with each other, what they think is a convenient method, actually…isn't.

That's why it comes as absolutely no surprise to me that research says that something happy couples have in common is they aren't big on the whole texting thing. You can click here to read the particulars, yet the gist is that women are not big on apologies over text and men think that doing a lot of texting is a sign of a relationship being a lower quality one. Just something to ponder if you and yours do more texting than actual talking.

2. They’re BFFs


Any couple who's worked with me before knows that I am a huge fan and advocate of husbands and wives being each other's best friend (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?"). There are two main reasons why. For one thing, ask any couple who has been together for more than five years and they're probably going to vouch for the fact that being "in like" is what will get you through the tough times when you don't feel quite like you're "in love". Not only that but people who are friends with one another tend to have a greater sense of loyalty and a desire to want to work issues—whatever the issues they may be—out. Plus, I'm pretty word-particular and "best" means of highest quality, standing and degree. How do you pledge to share your entire life with someone and they not fit that bill?

I'm not alone in this line of thinking. There are studies which support that couples who call their partner their best friend are twice as satisfied in their marriage as couples who don't. So, while some of you might have read what I said, rolled your eyes and was like, "Whatever. So-and-so is always gonna be my best friend"—one, so someone actually has a higher standing in your life than your own spouse? And two, science provides solid evidence for you to consider rethinking your stance. For the ultimate sake of your relationship.

3. They Have Sex (at Least) Once a Week


Whenever I have a conversation with church folks about the purpose of sex and the first thing they say is procreation, I'm the first to be like, "Yeah…naw." If you are a Bible follower, you can go to Genesis 2 and peep that Adam and the Woman (her name in the Garden of Eden) were given sexual instructions before leaving the Garden…even though kids didn't come until later (in Genesis 3). My point? Sex is about cultivating oneness and celebrating the love you and your partner have for one another, first and foremost. And why would you want to do that as little as possible (what in the world?!). As far as what science has to say about it, the current conclusion is the happiest couples have sex no less than once a week. And listen, when you stop to think about the fact that there are 168 hours in a week and that it takes roughly 30 minutes for a man and woman to orgasm together, how hard is it to make the time to strengthen your physical and emotional bond for the sake of your relationship's ultimate health and well-being? Real talk.

4. They Are Emotionally Close with One Another


I've shared in articles for this platform before that something I'm not big on using, when I'm talking about long-term relationships, is the word "vulnerable". Again, because I'm word-particular, I know that it means "capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon" and "open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.".

To me, your significant other should be your very safe space, so if coming to them with your thoughts, feelings and fears has you believing that you're capable of being wounded by them or that you'll constantly be open to attack or criticism, you're in a really unhealthy situation. So, what do I think couples should be? Dependent. Dependent is awesome word because it means "relying on someone or something else for aid, support, etc." and y'all really—if you can't rely on your partner for aid and support, who can you rely on? Geeze.

Unfortunately, in the science and research world, dependence is used in an extreme sense (like being too needy or clingy). To me, that seems more like codependence or obsession. Anyway, the term they prefer to use is emotional closeness. In an article that I read on the topic, a clinical psychologist defined it as being the act of giving and taking so that you and your partner both feel fulfilled. Whichever term you choose to go with, the bottom line is emotionally relying on your partner while they rely on you is another key to being in a happy relationship. Because of all of the people in the world who you should be able to trust your feelings with, hands down, it should be them.

5. They’ve Got Similar Financial Values


Lawd. This one right here really can't be emphasized enough. When I wrote the article, "Please Be Clear On These 7 Things Before Getting Engaged" earlier this year, one of the points in it was how important it is for long-term couples to discuss their thoughts on money. It's no secret that two of the biggest causes of divorce, to this day, continue to be related to sexual incompatibility and financial drama. That's why it came as absolutely no surprise to me when I read that 1) far too many couples pick their financial opposite and 2) that leads to nothing but trouble once they do start to mesh their lives together. In fact, in an article on Live Science's website entitled, "Tightwads and Spendthrifts Attract, Marry, Fight", it stated that, unfortunately, far too many couples take on the "opposites attract" mentality when it comes to finances, only to get together and stay in constant conflict because their financial values absolutely do not coincide.

None of us can survive without money and relationships are a partnership. If you and yours don't see eye to eye when it comes to spending, saving and financially planning, it's gonna be really hard to stay together, let alone be happy. There is plenty of scientific data to prove it.

6. They THINK More than They FEEL


I can't remember which Black male manosphere podcaster said it (I listen to quite a few of 'em) yet this pearl of wisdom is something that I strive to apply to my life on the regular these days.

He said, "The moment you start to substitute 'I think' for 'I feel', your world will be a whole lot better." He's right. As much as folks—and by folks, I specifically mean us ladies as it relates to this topic—like to rely on feelings so much of the time, the reality is that feelings can be pretty fickle. I mean, even the Bible says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9-10—NKJV) And what is the heart? One definitely is the center of our emotions. The Bible warns that the center of our emotions can deceive—mislead, delude, falsely persuade—us. That's why I'm not big on the whole "follow your heart" thing. We've got a brain and common sense for a reason. It's far best to follow that.

Science agrees. There's an anthropologist by the name of Helen Fisher who once said that, when it comes to romantic relationships, our brains are broken up into three systems. There's lust (our libido). There's romantic attraction (romantic love). Then there's attachment (having a deep union with someone else). Well, when couples are not as reliant on lust and instead choose to focus their time, effort and energy on cultivating their attachment to their partner, their level of empathy increases, they are better at controlling their emotions and they are better able to maintain positive thoughts about their partner too. In short, they are happier and more fulfilled.

7. They Celebrate Each Other. As Much As Possible.


Something that's basically Parenting 101 is, when we're trying to get our children to learn something new and they do, we make sure to make a pretty big deal about it. We celebrate them as a form of inspiration and encouragement, right? Unfortunately, this is something that far too many of us lose sight of when it comes to nurturing our adult-level relationships. It's like, rather than becoming our partner's biggest fan, we instead turn into their biggest critic—always judging, picking (to the point of nitpicking) and criticizing. No one wants to be around that kind of individual and so, after a while, even if our partner stays with us, walls develop. And yeah, that ain't good.

One more study that I came across stated that when two people who are in a relationship act like they are just as excited for their partner's triumphs and achievements as their own, they find themselves to be way more satisfied with each other in the long run. I really can't think of a better place to end this article. Praise your partner. Cheer them on. Honor their achievements. Encourage reciprocity in this area. When you know that the one you love most is the most thrilled for your progress, how can you not want to stay in their space? For real, for real.

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Featured image by Shutterstock

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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