1. They value experiences over expensive gifts, choosing to spend time together over spending money on each other.
2. They say “I love you” every single day, even when they’re frustrated with each other, because they really do feel that way on good days and bad.
3. They also tend to qualify “I love you” with details specific to their bond that make the proclamation that much more meaningful.
4. They make each other laugh. A lot. They tickle each other, exchange dumb jokes, wrestle, and make fun of each other whenever possible.
5. They divide household chores automatically, because they truly think of each other as equals. If one person cooks dinner, the other steps in to clear the table and do the dishes without prompting.
6. They tell each other what they honestly want—out of a weekend afternoon, a vacation, a night out, sex, and life overall.
7. They set goals together and enjoy working towards meeting those goals, two likeminded members of the same team who cheer each other on through every loss and win.
8. They share their dreams—both the aspirational ones and the weird nighttime ones reflecting their innermost desires.
9. They don’t fear change because no matter how many shocking events Life throws their way, they can count on their relationship to remain constant. When you still have each other, it doesn’t matter if things don’t go exactly as planned.
10. They take each other’s emotional temperature constantly, and they’re committed to accommodating each other’s every mood, good and bad. They adapt to each other naturally, flying through life like two birds of the same flock, sensing each other’s every wing flap in the face of changing weather patterns.
11. When things aren’t going so great, they’re proactive about protecting their relationship. For instance, they might take time apart (even if that just means spending an hour in separate rooms) BEFORE they get to a breaking point.
12. They’re not afraid to go to bed angry on occasion, knowing from experience that everything will probably be fine by the time they wake up. Sleeping alongside each other, they always seem to recalibrate.
13. They don’t bother pretending that their relationship is emblematic of some romantic ideal. You don’t see boastful #soproud #soinlove hashtags beneath all their social media posts.
14. They don’t need their relationship to be perfect. They just need it to be.
15. They relive their shared memories frequently, taking stock of what they’ve built so far and taking comfort in the reality that there’s so much more to look forward to as their future as a couple unfolds.
16. They know that staying together takes work, but they’re willing to invest whatever sweat equity’s required to reap the rewards of long-term commitment and lasting love.
17. They have no regrets, not even over their nastiest fights, because every single experience they’ve shared to date has shaped them into the couple they’ve become.