Secrets of emotionally intelligent couples: Key habits

Discover the key habits that emotionally intelligent couples practice for a harmonious and fulfilling relationship.

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There’s no hiding the fact that strong relationships are built on communication, trust, and connection. But what if things go awry and couples can’t get on the same page anymore?

Emotional intelligence is often touted as a key part of successful relationships, and it’s not hard to see why. In this article, we’ll look at the habits that emotionally intelligent couples have in common and how these habits can help foster understanding, trust, and security in a relationship.

Are communication problems getting in the way of your relationship? Learn how effective communication can help create and maintain a strong bond with your partner.

The importance of emotional intelligence

The importance of emotional intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent means is crucial for the success of all types of relationships, not just romantic ones. Having a high emotional intelligence (EI) means you’re able to identify and express your emotions accurately and recognize and respond to the emotions of others. 1 2

Understanding and empathizing with your partner is key to making it work in a relationship. This goes beyond simply understanding each other’s words; it also means recognizing and listening to your partner’s body language, facial expressions, and overall behavior. 3

Build lasting love with emotional intelligence. Discover its vital role in nurturing understanding, trust, and a stronger bond.

Being emotionally intelligent requires being self-aware and aware of the other person in the relationship. To have an emotionally intelligent relationship, both partners must be equally invested in being emotionally intelligent.

Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and commitment, knowing the signs and habits of an emotionally intelligent couple can help you on your journey.

13 powerful habits of emotionally intelligent couples

13 powerful habits of emotionally intelligent couples

Emotional intelligence is the cornerstone of any successful relationship. Here are 13 key habits of emotionally intelligent couples:

1. They engage in open and honest communication

Discussing difficult topics calmly and without defensiveness is crucial for emotionally intelligent couples. This means you don’t get defensive or shut down during tough conversations. Instead, you listen and speak openly to come to a resolution.

Emotionally intelligent people are good at expressing their feelings constructively. This often involves owning up to your part in disagreements, being honest (a crucial part of trust), and talking about your emotions without attacking the other person. 4

Strengthen your relationships through open communication. Learn effective strategies on how to build a connection with open communication.

2. They take the time to really listen to each other and understand each perspective

When you’re in a relationship, it’s easy to make assumptions or jump to conclusions without understanding where the other person is coming from. Emotionally intelligent couples give each other the space and time to explain their perspective.

Taking the time to listen to your partner is part of active listening. This means being present and mindful at the moment, managing any distractions, and asking thoughtful questions to gain clarity. 5

3. You know when to admit you’re wrong

No one likes to be wrong—but emotionally intelligent couples recognize that admitting when they’ve made a mistake or misjudged a situation is integral to being a successful partner. But it’s also important to remember when it’s best to apologize and when it’s best to simply move forward.

It takes courage and self-awareness to recognize your mistakes and apologize sincerely. But by doing so, you can create greater understanding between both of you, build confidence in the relationship, and show that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions.

Apologizing when you’re wrong is one step towards resolving romantic conflicts with emotional intelligence. Learn essential strategies for effective conflict resolution.

4. They are consistent and reliable in their behavior

Consistency is key, as the adage goes. And this rings true in relationships as well. Emotionally intelligent couples know that consistency is more than just providing stability—it’s also about being honest and upholding your values and those of the relationship. 6

This means that you can rely on each other to do what you said you would when you said you would do it. This can be anything from a promise to fix something around the house or spending time with family and friends.

5. They prioritize quality time together

Spending quality time with your partner is key to cultivating a strong connection. Emotionally intelligent couples recognize that even just a few minutes of being present and engaged can significantly affect how connected they feel.

This could mean anything from taking a walk, cooking dinner, or simply planning a date night. Taking the time to enjoy each other’s company and do something enjoyable is a great way to keep the relationship strong. 7

6. They respect each other’s boundaries and privacy

Respecting each other’s boundaries and privacy is important to healthy relationships. Emotionally intelligent couples understand that having different needs, opinions, and tastes is okay and that respecting them can help create a safe space for both people to express themselves.

For example, if your partner is uncomfortable talking about something, respect their wishes and not push them to talk about it. This can help foster trust and understanding in a relationship, allowing both people to be themselves without feeling judged or pressured.

Discover the power of better communication in building trust. Explore proven strategies to enhance your communication skills and cultivate trust in your relationships.

7. They practice self-care

A healthy relationship requires both partners to prioritize their emotional well-being. Emotionally intelligent couples understand that taking care of themselves helps them be better equipped to care for each other.

Self-care can mean anything from exercising, meditating, journaling, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy. It also means nurturing your relationships with friends and family members, which can provide emotional support and prevent burnout. 8

8. They are willing to compromise

No two people are exactly alike, and that’s part of what makes relationships so special. When two people come together, they bring different perspectives and experiences. Emotionally intelligent couples understand that compromise is essential for any successful relationship.

This doesn’t mean sacrificing your own needs or values to please the other person—it means finding a balance between your needs and making decisions based on mutual respect and understanding. 9

10. They celebrate each other’s successes

Recognizing and celebrating each other’s accomplishments is a great way to show appreciation and support. Emotionally intelligent couples understand that success can come in many forms, whether landing a new job, finishing a project, or learning something new.

By cheering on your partner’s successes, you show that you are invested in their lives and proud of their accomplishments. This can help strengthen the bond between you and boost each other’s self-confidence. 10

11. They practice forgiveness

No relationship is perfect—even emotionally intelligent couples will make mistakes from time to time. But what sets them apart is their ability to forgive and move on.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting what happened or excusing someone’s behavior, but it does mean letting go of the anger and resentment that can weigh you down. It helps foster understanding and compassion for one another, which can help strengthen your relationship in the long term. 11

12. They make time for fun and laughter

Having fun together is an important way to stay connected. Emotionally intelligent couples take the time to laugh, play games, or simply enjoy each other’s company.

This doesn’t have to be complicated—it could mean anything from taking turns choosing movies or sharing stories about your day. Spending time doing something enjoyable can help keep the spark alive in your relationship.

13. They talk openly about their goals and dreams

Communicating openly and honestly about your hopes, dreams, and aspirations is essential for any successful relationship. Emotionally intelligent couples understand that by talking about what you both want out of life, you can create a shared vision that both of you can strive to achieve together.

This could mean anything from planning a vacation to discussing big life decisions like starting a family. Open communication about these topics helps build trust and understanding between both partners while creating a sense of common purpose and shared goals for the future. 12

By cultivating these habits, emotionally intelligent couples can create strong connections that stand the test of time. From making an effort to spend quality time together to practicing self-care and communicating openly about dreams and goals, these habits can help create lasting bonds of love, trust, and understanding. Learn how other effective communication strategies can strengthen bonds and foster deeper connections with your partner.

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  2. Sels, L., Ceulemans, E., Bulteel, K., & Kuppens, P. (2016). Emotional Interdependence and Well-Being in Close Relationships. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. ↩︎

  3. Abdulghafor, R., Turaev, S., & Ali, M. A. H. (2022). Body Language Analysis in Healthcare: An Overview. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 10(7), 1251. ↩︎

  4. De Netto, P. M., Quek, K. F., & Golden, K. J. (2021). Communication, the Heart of a Relationship: Examining Capitalization, Accommodation, and Self-Construal on Relationship Satisfaction. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 767908. ↩︎

  5. Weger, H., Bell, G. C., Minei, E., & Robinson, M. J. (2014). The Relative Effectiveness of Active Listening in Initial Interactions. International Journal of Listening, 28(1), 13–31. ↩︎

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  7. Harasymchuk, C., Walker, D. L., Muise, A., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Planning date nights that promote closeness: The roles of relationship goals and self-expansion. Journal of social and personal relationships, 38(5), 1692–1709. ↩︎

  8. Wei, H., Kifner, H., Dawes, M. E., Wei, T. L., & Boyd, J. M. (2020). Self-care Strategies to Combat Burnout Among Pediatric Critical Care Nurses and Physicians. Critical care nurse, 40(2), 44–53. ↩︎

  9. Reese-Weber, M., & Bartle-Haring, S. (1998). Conflict Resolution Styles in Family Subsystems and Adolescent Romantic Relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 27(6), 735–752. ↩︎

  10. Bayraktaroglu, D., Gunaydin, G., Selcuk, E., Besken, M., & Karakitapoglu-Aygun, Z. (2022). The role of positive relationship events in romantic attachment avoidance. Journal of personality and social psychology, 10.1037/pspi0000406. Advance online publication. ↩︎

  11. Fincham, F. D. (2009). Prosocial Motives, Emotions, and Behavior: The Better Angels of our Nature. ↩︎

  12. Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., & Whitton, S. W. (2010). Commitment: Functions, Formation, and the Securing of Romantic Attachment. Journal of family theory & review, 2(4), 243–257. ↩︎

Author picture of Amy Clark
Relationship Expert

Amy Clark

Amy Clark is a freelance writer who writes about relationships, marriage, and family. She has been happily married for over ten years and loves her husband and three kids. Before …

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