What’s the secret to a happy relationship? If you think the answer is communication, the results of the Epstein Love Competencies Inventory would indicate that you are only partially correct. While solid communication is undoubtedly a huge determinant of relationship success, you might be overlooking two other factors: how well you know your partner, and the general life skills that each of you brings to the relationship.

Understanding your partner

The study found that couples who know details about each other’s personalities and preferences tend to be more satisfied in their relationships. This includes everything from the obvious stuff like remembering your partner’s favorite movie to heavier topics, like knowing whether or not they want to have children. Taking the time to find out this information about your partner not only conveys that you care about them, but is also useful in determining compatibility. The practicality of these insights, no matter how inconsequential they may seem, is what makes them so crucial to the survival of a relationship.

Life skills

Of course, there’s more to being in a relationship than remembering your partner’s birthday. Can you cook? Do you know how to fix a leaky faucet? It might seem archaic, but the ability to provide for your partner is as relevant today as it was a thousand years ago. In other words it’s not enough to only contribute to the relationship emotionally. The two of you must also contribute pragmatic and gainful skills.

What this means for your relationship

Most advice about building, maintaining, and saving relationships focuses on strengthening the emotional connection you have with your partner. However, compatibility also relies on the basic knowledge you have of each other and the value of your respective skill sets. It’s the little things like asking about your partner’s day or doing the laundry that can help your relationship prosper. To learn more about fostering strong relationships, log in to your LifeSpeak account or click here.

Also published on Medium.

Originally published at lifespeak.com