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When we grow up, most of what we know to be characteristic of being "in love" is from what we see on the big screen, but it's actually quite different in real life. In fact, it's even better because it's real. "Couples in love are drawn to each other and enjoy unusually high comfort levels that result in an unspoken celebration of who they are as a couple and as individuals," says Juliana Morris, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist and licensed professional counselor. Wondering if you and your significant other fall into that enviable category? If you possess some of these habits of in-love couples, you just might!

They put their relationship first.

Before work, religion, self-growth, family, and even children, Stan Tatkin, Psy.D., relationship expert and author of We Do: Saying Yes to a Relationship of Depth, True Connection, and Enduring Love, prefers that partners claim their relationship as their highest priority, for the simple reason that if their relationship isn't in tiptop shape, everything and everyone else will suffer. "With the couple system as their highest priority, partners can resource each other on a daily basis, while taking existential fears and threats off the table, which allows both partners to be more creative, be better parents, be better people, be better neighbors, and grow and develop," he says.

They laugh and have fun together.

In-love couples have a natural sense of humor with each other, which is important, notes Dr. Morris. "Humor can heal, be quite attractive and sexy, and can defuse heated emotions nimbly at just the right moment," she says. "In-love couples make each other laugh often, are continually amused by each other, enjoy inside jokes with each other and find a way together to keep life in perspective."

They indulge in honest communication.

Communication in the form of truly hearing and understanding what the other partner is saying is so important in a relationship. In fact, Dr. Morris refers to it as the relationships very foundation, the glue that holds it together and the best kind of preventative medicine you can find. "In-love couples experience an ease with communication, and recognize that healthy, consensual and positively motivated silence and space can be a powerful form of communication, too," she says. "They genuinely and keenly listen to each other and are able to discern if their partner needs just to be heard, wants help in problem solving or is seeking advice."

They use "we talk."

In-love couples not only limit the use of "I" statements in conflict or in requests for things to change, Dr. Morris points out that they actually focus on words like "we" and "us" to keep the team approach and focus on problem solving. "Focusing on the needs of the couple helps conflict not become a battle against each other and it helps focus on the union and bond between the couple," she says.

They engage in respectful conflict.

Yes, even the most in-love couples argue, but it's how they argue that makes all the difference. "When an argument occurs, these couples employ active apologies, which are heartfelt and humble and provide an atmosphere of safety and understanding of the conflict and hurt, and the significance ensuring the behavior or situation doesn't repeat itself," says Dr. Morris. "The apologies are a balance of accountability and compassion."

They have rituals and traditions.

Whether it's Friday night movies on the couch with Chinese takeout or a yearly summer vacation upstate, having traditions that you share between the two of you will help keep your relationship strong. "Rituals help these couples unplug and find sacred time to connect with each other," adds Dr. Morris.


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