Do you ever wonder why some couples stand the test of time while others burn out? Our team at eharmony, which is responsible for over 4% of marriages in the US by the way, has had a few suspicions over the years. We finally confirmed our hypotheses and learned a whole lot more about the secrets for happy relationships than ever before. Working with Harris Interactive, we surveyed over 2,000 couples in long-term relationships to understand what brought them the most happiness… and what, if anything, made them question why they were still in a relationship. This year, we found that 83% of Americans couples are happy in their relationships and that the happiest couples have a lot in common.

According to our new research, plus our 20-year history of studying happy couples at eharmony, we’ve concluded that romantic relationship success stems from a combination of being deeply compatible with your partner, which leads to higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in life and, of course, putting in the hard work when needed! At the end of the day, if you don’t have a compatible foundation, how can you even attempt happiness? Look, opposites do attract… but then they attack. When you first meet someone who’s different than you – in fundamental ways (think conflict resolution, ambition, education level, morals), it feels adventurous, almost wild, to find someone who can teach you a different way of living. But, sooner rather than later, you realize that what brought you together is what will set you apart. Once that intense physical connection fades and your relationship clearly lacks fundamental similarities, it will be very difficult to build an easy life with that person. Trust me!

There are many keys to finding happiness in a romantic relationship and it is important to point out that every relationship is different. What works for one couple may not work for another. But, at eharmony, we found it important to understand the underlying similarities across all happy couples … so we went straight to the source. We asked them.

Here are the 7 keys to happy relationships:

  1. Equality is Important. Couples who consider themselves equal partners are happier.
  2. Let’s Get Physical. Couples who frequently have sex (at least weekly) as well as find and spend quality time together are happier.
  3. End the Stigma. Couples who shared their struggles or journeys with mental health with their partners are happier.
  4. Great Minds Think Alike. Couples aligned politically, similar education, income are more likely to be happy in their relationships.
  5. Generationally Speaking. Generationally, Gen Z (18-24) and Millennials (24-35)  are the happiest overall. This may be because Gen Zers have the least amount of hardships.
  6. The Language of Love. Happy couples agree: words of appreciation are the most important ‘love language’ while giving gifts is the least important.
  7. Happy Together.  Couples who are in monogamous relationships (compared to polygamous or polyamorous) are happier.

The Happiness Index uncovers so much more about the health and happiness of our romantic relationships and if you think about the happiest couples in your life, they’re pretty spot on. Let’s take for example a key takeaway I’ve been thinking a lot about the last few weeks: equal partners are happier. Shocking, right? When one partner is not dominating over another, couples can have more open conversations and truly trust each other. On a similar note, couples who spoke openly about their mental health reported being significantly happier. With the stigma around mental health, with 44% of those surveyed admitting to having mental health issues, learning that couples are open with their journeys happily surprised me. It proves how important it is to hold an open line of communication with your partner.

How did we end our survey results? The Happiness Index found that happiness is the most desirable trait in a partner, quickly followed by intelligence. How great is that?! It’s so important to find someone that heightens who you are but does not make you who you are. That, I believe, is the biggest key and takeaway for any happy relationship. If you are happy and comfortable on your own, you are much more likely to find yourself in a happy relationship.

Tell me, did any of these findings surprise you?