1. They celebrate a unique anniversary
Your wedding anniversary is a lovely date to remember, but it’s not the only milestone that matters. It’s even more intimate to celebrate less free moments of which only you two know the true meaning, such as your first kiss, first vacation together or – hey – even the first time the pregnancy test turned blue.
2. They stash pleasure money
Sure, you have funds earmarked for bills and savings, but every couple also needs a just-for-fun account to fund the occasional, much-need indulgence, says Brown University psychiatry professor Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men. “Put some money aside that won’t destroy your budget when you use it,” he says. Spend it on a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip, a pricey bottle of champagne or front-row tickets to a concert you’re dying to see.
3. When the going gets tough, they don’t call Mom or Dad
The first task facing all young couples is separating from their families of origin, points out San Francisco-area-based family researcher Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go home for the holidays. But if there’s a crisis over whether to have a second child or relocate for a new job, or even if there’s good news about a big raise or the results of a medical test, the couple should talk about it together first before dialing Mom. “You wouldn’t believe how many people who are getting divorced say to me, ‘She was never mine,’ or ‘His mother always came first,’” Dr. Wallerstein observes.