Dismissing Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s engagement announcement as crazy, Hollywood love is the obvious response. Now, it may be the truth. They’re in their early twenties. She just broke with her boyfriend in May. He’s had trouble with substance abuse and mental health issues. But there is more. The success of their relationship—any marriage for that matter—has little to with the longevity of the courtship. There’s only thing one thing that matters when it comes to “together ever after:” commitment.
The goal is to enter relationships happy, healthy and whole. The problem is most folks start off wrong. People often think of marriage regarding just love matches, and romance is the major currency of happiness. Long-term romantic relationships are so much more than sex and butterflies in the tummy. They are actually partnerships. What makes those work? A recent study from Emory University found that one of the most substantial predictors of a marriage’s success wasn’t time, but rather “how well” the couple knew each other. The book Seven Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success lists qualities such as compatible communication and conflict resolution styles, financial values and physical/emotional/intellectual intimacy among the top indicators of whether a relationship will be a win.
So why isn’t time the real factor? This level of connectedness isn’t logged in years, but the depth of the friendship. Romantic love is cyclical, there will be highs and lows. Some days you’ll want to bend bae over and sometimes you’ll want to run away. Friendship is ultimately the glue.
One major step in adulting is elevating how you choose your partners, marriage or not. Here are some things to consider.
Do Enjoy Talking With Clothes On
Sex is great, especially in the beginning when you’re learning each others’ bodies and the excitement of being together makes orgasms way more intense. But that wears off. It may be weeks, months or even years, but it will go away, relegating you to friends with benefits status. Will this person make the cut? Can y’all chat? Can you sit in silence and just enjoy vibing? Can you laugh? The person who brings out all of this is truly bae for life.
Do Move Well Together
There is a vibe good couples create. They each know when to pull back or push forward. They get what motivates the other party, and move with it. They genuinely enjoy each other, and folks can feel it.
Do Argue Well
Disagreements are awkward. And while it sounds great to say, “We never fight,” without experiencing one you have no idea of who you’re with and how committed this person is to your relationship. Mr./Ms. Perfect can be on point when things are good, but what if she/he likes to throw around smacks or break things when upset? What if the silent treatment drives you crazy but is your partner’s favorite form of retaliation? What if bae likes to pack up and leave when things get hard? Healthy coping mechanisms to stress are necessary for the big picture, and you won’t know what you’re working with until you go through some ish.
Do Make Sure Intimacy Comes Easily
This isn’t about sex. This is about all of it. Can you kiss, and hug, and share your day in a way that feels good to both of you? Can you look at each other and understand what you need to say or do? Can you help shift each other’s moods without gifts or sex? These are the tangible forms of intimacy that make a relationship work.