Communication is one of the keys to a good relationship, as it helps build trust and settle conflicts. However, TIME reports that sharing thoughts and feelings isn’t the only thing that makes what you have the real deal.

Researchers conducted an Internet-based survey with 2,201 participants to find which of the “relationship competencies” are most important to couples. Factors included in the list were communication, conflict resolution, sex or romance, stress management, life skills, knowledge of partners, and self-management. The participants were also questioned about how satisfied they were with their relationship.

Results showed that those who practiced constant communication were the most satisfied with their relationships. However, knowledge of partner and life skills, which many couples and even couple counselors rarely take into account, are very much tied to happiness as well.

Many conflicts can be avoided by simply taking the time to get know your partner better. What annoys him? What perks him up? Having such information may help you do away with little arguments which almost always balloon into something more serious. Researchers also say that accepting the fact that commitment entails practicality and not just romance couldmake your relationship stronger.

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(Photo by Danumurthi Mahendra via Flickr Creative Commons)

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