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There is a lot of research behind what makes relationships work — and not work. To keep it short, just keep the 5 R’s in mind:

Right, Real, Rapport, Relate, Review
Let’s break them down.

1. Fight Right
1. 适量争吵
You might think it would be great if you could have a relationship with zero arguing. But marriages with no arguments are 35% more likely to divorce.
Things need to be worked out and you may need to compromise.You can’t not argue and you can’t fight to the death. You need to fight right.
If you stay compassionate and show you care — even in the midst of a screaming match — you have a better shot at happiness.
When couples experience conflict, they are 45 percent less likely to feel pessimistic about their relationship if they can recognize feelings of caring from their partner during the disagreement. – Ebesu Hubbard 2001

2. Keep It Real
2. 保持情感的真实
Do you expect a fairy tale relationship? That’s a prescription for disappointment.
Elements of fairy tales such as Cinderella were present in 78 percent of people’s beliefs about romantic love. Those people were more likely to have experienced disillusionment, devastation, and angst in their relationships than were those who gave less credence to fairy tales. – Lockhart 2000
The modern day equivalent of fairy tales is TV. And as you might expect, watching too much TV is correlated with unsatisfying relationships.
People who watched an above average amount of television per day were 26 percent less likely to be satisfied with their relationship status than were people who watched a below average amount of television per day. – Hetsroni 2000
It’s all about the bar that’s set for you or the bar you set for yourself. So, as you might imagine, perfectionism does not make for a happy love life either.
Be realistic about what you can and should expect from a relationship. And realize that things change.A third of the time what attracts you to someone isn’t important to you six months later.

3. Have Rapport
3. 经常交流
Talking, sharing, being open — these are all highly praised, and for good reason. Couples who communicate are 62% more likely to describe their relationship as happy.
Expecting your partner to be a mind reader will just make you miserable. Want something? Ask for it.
Researchers found that those who are more direct in seeking support from their partner are 61 percent more likely to feel they received the support they wanted than are those who avoid explaining their needs. – Fitness 2001
If you’re still shopping for a partner, look for someone with good social skills who has maintained friendships for a long time.
More laughing means less fighting.
When both partners in a relationship thought the other had a good sense of humor, 67 percent less conflict was reported than in couples where neither thought the other had a good sense of humor. – De Koning and Weiss 2002
Want your marriage to last more than 30 years? Just “being married” isn’t enough: you also need to be good friends.
In studies of people happily married more than three decades, the quality of friendship between the partners was the single most frequently cited factor in the relationships’ success. – Bachand and Caron 2001

4. Relate
4. 两人有共同点
Opposites do not attract. Couples that are similar do much better. Pairs that lasted longer than five years usually had a number of interests in common.
In comparing couples who remained together more than five years with couples who split up, researchers found that the couples who stayed together were 64 percent more likely to be able to identify multiple shared interests. – Bachand and Caron 2001
Having similar values offers a huge boost in the ability to communicate.
The degree to which couples have similar values does not change over the course of their relationship. Those with similar values, however, are 22 percent more likely to rate their communication habits positively. – Acitelli, Kenny, and Weiner 2001
Believe it or not, even having similar fighting styles was a good thing.
It was related to double digit drops in conflict and a double digit increase in satisfaction.

5. Review
5. 不断回顾和提升
Many people are probably reading this, identifying the good things they already do and feeling smug. Sorry, you can’t stop there. Relationships are not a “check the box and you’re done” kind of thing. You need to keep at it, monitoring and improving.

Plenty of research shows that conscientiousness is a great quality to have in a spouse or partner. Having a partner who is consistently reliable often means a healthy relationship with less conflict.
People who consider their partner conscientious, a person who consistently does what they say they are going to do, were 26 percent more likely to rate their relationship healthy and reported 41 percent less conflict in their relationship. Dependability was rated among the most desired qualities in a partner. – Watson, Hubbard, and Wiese 2000

One More Thing
Never forget that, in the end, all relationships are about feelings. Especially when fighting, we get caught up in the facts, the details, the words… And what’s funny is little of that ends up mattering.
When surveyed about their arguments, people mentioned feelings and tone ten times as much as the topic of debate. 25% of people couldn’t even remember what the argument was about — but they all remembered how it made them feel.
As Maya Angelou once said: People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.