Recently, I read an article at inverse.com that echoes the same sentiments I have offered to couples when I do my Prepare-Enrich work with them. That is to say, that even though a couple might have come together because of common circumstances (same college, same workplace, same hobbies…), that is not what makes for a long-lasting and committed relationship.

A study was recently published which did a deep dive into successful relationships and how to predict which ones would be so. The study, according to Inverse, yielded the following:

The most powerful predictors of relationship quality are the characteristics of the relationship itself — the life dynamic you build with your person. This is according to an analysis of 11,196 couples gleaned from 43 studies.

At the outset of relationships, relationship-related characteristics are likely to account for about 45 percent of the differences in relationship satisfaction. Actor reported traits (or your own personality) can account for 19 percent of differences.

By contrast, a partner’s personality may only account for about 5 percent of that relationship satisfaction. Over time, the estimates become smaller, but the hierarchy remains the same: relationship characteristics trumping individual ones.

This is very significant. It means that, although you might have been brought together by common friends, your common interests, or close proximity, the main thing to work on for the long term is your dynamics.

Relationship dynamics have to deal with how you’re both able to communicate, work through conflict, are able to be vulnerable with one another, be assertive with one another, and ultimately be empathetic and understanding with one another.

I encourage you to read the article (the study itself is rather scientific and Inverse does a great job of summarizing the main points).