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Spring has just begun, and your thoughts may be turning to love. For some reason, this is the season when folks of all ages are ready to spring into action and heat up their love lives. However, if you want a relationship that will last longer than the third or fourth date, there are seven core values that researchers found universally influence long-term romantic prospects.
We naturally prefer partners who are different enough to keep things fresh and exciting but with values similar enough to keep the relationship alive long-term. But even if trading in your muscle car for a minivan is far in the future, the following values will eventually matter:
- Prosocial Behaviors: Does your partner show you that you’re cared for with words and actions?
- Avoiding Harm to Others: Is your partner careful to avoid making choices that upset you?
- Enjoyment of Life: Do you and your partner have fun together?
- Life Achievement Expectations: Do you have complementary future goals?
- Maturity: Can your partner handle both the ups and downs in life?
- Self-Direction: Does your partner take responsibility for how life unfolds?
- Security: Is your partner open to discussions about where your relationship is headed or where you would like it to go?
Some values matter more than others but, if you feel your values don’t match, this may not be your “happily ever after” relationship.
Suzanne Degges-White is professor and chair of the Counseling, Adult and Higher Education department at Northern Illinois University. She is a licensed counselor whose focus includes working with individuals and families facing transitions.