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5 Research-Based Tips for a Better Relationship

Here’s what we learned from the best relationship advice science has to offer

⁠Healthy and happy relationships don’t just appear out of thin air, rather they take hard work. No relationship is perfect 100% of the time, but luckily relationship science has taught us some tried and tested ways to improve our romantic relationships.

A good relationship is one where all partners commit to working on it together, but have you ever wondered what that looks like? Enter the Paired app

Paired is the number one couples app and has been featured on BBC, The Times, and Tech Crunch for its deep-rooted evidence and research-based relationship questions, quizzes, games, and exercises.

Having already helped thousands of couples and being named Google Play App of the year, Paired has become the go-to app for couples to feel closer and improve their relationship.

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Every relationship is different and we each have different needs — so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach — but we rounded up some of the best relationship advice from behavioral research to find out what couples can do to improve their relationships. 

Without further ado, keep scrolling for five scientifically proven ways you can have a better relationship. 

1. Have better fights

Arguments are part and parcel of being in a couple, but experts have found that it’s not the frequency of disagreements that matter, but how you argue. 

In fact, having constructive fights can even bring you closer to your partner. That’s because arguing boils down to conflict resolution. So how can you keep good communication during times of conflict? 

Using “I feel” statements removes accusations and can help you communicate your feelings without instigating a defensive response. The type of language you use during an argument can reduce the likelihood that your argument will turn too hostile. Next time things get heated, try starting the conversation with “I feel”. 

It’s also best to have disagreements in real life, as opposed to over text. One study showed that couples who argue over text are less happy in their relationships. If you’re in a long-distance relationship, the next best thing is FaceTime or Zoom! 

And the most crucial part of getting over arguments? Apologizing and forgiving. Partners tend to value their relationship more — and are more willing to forgive — if their loved one apologizes after doing something wrong. 

Want more tips on how to have better fights? Download the Paired app and complete the “How to Argue Better” and “Stop Doing This When You Argue” exercises written by leading relationship experts.

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2. Touch each other more  

If your love language is “physical touch” then you’ll already know about the benefits of physical contact with your partner — and the science backs it up. Studies show there is a compelling link between physical touch and relationship quality. 

Physical affection — specifically backrubs and massages, caressing, kissing on the lips, and kissing on the face — is strongly associated with partner satisfaction. Other research suggests that being touched by your partner not only brings you closer but can also make you feel validated and understood.

One study looked at over 1,000 couples who had been together for an average of 25 years and found that frequent cuddling and kissing are important elements of a happy relationship. 

Paired’s “How Tactile Are You?” game is a great way to get to know your partner in a fun way, and learn how they like to be touched. And if you want to find out what role physical touch plays in your relationship, you can complete Dr. Jacqui Gabb’s “Importance of Touch” exercise in the app, too.

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3. Make small sacrifices 

Compromise comes with the territory of relationships, and for good reason. Putting your partner first (most of the time) and making small sacrifices boosts relationship quality. 

Prioritizing your partner makes you feel closer to them, increases positive feelings, and reduces negative ones. That doesn’t mean you need to make sweeping gestures or life-altering compromises, though. Even small, everyday sacrifices can help with trust and connection for couples.

People trust their partner more when they believe their partner has prioritized the relationship over their self-interest. 

4. Stay curious about each other

When you first start dating you learn so much about your partner, but it’s common to lose that curiosity as the relationship progresses. The longer you’re together, the better you know each other — what more could you learn? 

We can forget to check in with our partners and make active attempts to connect, but staying curious about your partner and what’s going on in their day-to-day life is vital. 

With Paired you can answer a daily, research-backed question to get to know your partner better. Once you’ve shared your response, you can unlock your partner’s answer and then see where the conversation goes in the private chat.

Therapist, author, and Paired expert Dr. Terri Orbuch — aka The Love Doctor — revealed that relationship happiness is partly contingent on how deeply and intimately two partners know each other. This means not only knowing their favorite meals and movies, but also their innermost thoughts, feelings, and vulnerabilities.

American psychologist and relationship expert Dr. John Gottman also found that a strong predictor of relationship stability is how much partners know about each other's "inner worlds". 

Learning what is happening in your partner’s world can be as simple as asking “how was your day” — and truly listening to their answer. 

Ready to connect with your partner everyday?

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5. Celebrate and appreciate each other

A review of research on romantic relationships found that gratitude was a critical component in a successful long-term relationship. Appreciation often matters more to relationship quality than factors such as passion and sexual frequency. 

Couples are also more satisfied in a relationship when they celebrate their partner's accomplishments as if they were their own. 

Making time to spend quality time together and practicing small acts of kindness to show gratitude can help strengthen your bond with your partner.   

Download Paired today for more relationship advice written by acclaimed relationship therapists and academics.

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