The two essential keys to a successful relationship, revealed by a Harvard psychologist

Have you ever wondered what is the key to building a successful long-term relationship?

This psychologist might have the answer.

One of America’s most famous Harvard psychologists, Dr. Robert Epstein, has designed Epstein Love Competencies Inventory. In brief, his test appears to be a comprehensive inventory of a variety of valuable skills, crucial for the success of a long-term romantic relationship.

The doctor found out that there are seven essential skills you need to have to keep your relationship healthy and lasting. The following list shows the skills your relationship needs.

The seven fundamental skills you need

1. Communication 

Communication is probably the most important thing for a good relationship. It refers to listening to your partner, sharing your thoughts, and avoiding criticism.

2. Conflict resolution

This means you have to be present in the moment, and you have to stay focused on the topic. It also shows how necessary forgiveness and apologizing are for a strong and healthy relationship.

3. Knowledge of partner

To really know your partner means to know their preferences, their ways of having fun, their favorite pizza toppings. Everything that’s in close connection with their unique personality that made you fall in love with them.

4. Life skills

This set of skills is about how well you manage finances, stay fit and healthy, and keep a good job. It shows how prepared you are if hard times come your way.

5. Self-management

How well do you know your own strengths and weaknesses? Self-management indicates how ambitious you are, and whether you are dedicated to reaching your goals.

6. Sex and romance

Do you often set aside time for intimacy? Do you still try to look attractive for your partner? The skills about sex and romance show how caring you are about your partner’s sexual needs and preferences. Besides, it refers to the level of romance you have in your relationship.

7. Stress-management

We are all stressed every now and then. But exactly how well do you manage to cope up with stressful situations? This includes things like imagery, relaxation, planning, organizing, and prioritizing.

Communication and Knowledge of partner

Young loving couple having fun in the autumn park on a sunny day

According to Epstein, these are the two essential keys for building and keeping a long-lasting romantic relationship.

In 2016, he tested his theory with more than 25,000 individuals around the world. Most of the people taking part in the test showed that their strongest areas are indeed Communication and Knowledge of partner. Of course, there were variations according to sex, age, and prior experience in relationship skills.

For instance, women showed higher scores than men in the skills Communication, Knowledge of Partner, and Sex and Romance. On the other hand, men outscored women in Conflict Resolution, Life Skills, Self Management, and Stress Management.

If we take age as an indicator, the tests showed that people older than 35 had higher scores on Conflict Resolution, Life Skills, and Self-management. The younger participants were better in the areas of Communication and Sex and Romance.

Epstein’s tests concluded that the two essential keys to a successful long-term relationship remain Communication and Knowlege of Partner.

Having this in mind, you should remember one thing. If you want your relationship to succeed, you need to make a serious effort in those two areas. You need to develop a good connection by communicating and sharing your thoughts and feelings. Moreover, you have to be aware of your partner’s preferences and needs. And they have to do the same for you.

It isn’t that hard at all. Little things like remembering your partner’s birthday, and knowing what their favorite dessert is, are a pretty good start. With those little but important things, your significant other will feel appreciated and loved. If you invest your time in developing these two skills, your relationship will be strong, healthy, and fulfilled.

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