Think of couples like Blake Lively & Ryan Reynolds or Zendaya & Tom Holland. They radiate energy, love, and success. But here’s a secret: you don’t need to walk the red carpet to be part of an unstoppable pair.
While pop culture paints power couples as high-profile and influential, it’s not just about societal power, says Saba Harouni Lurie, a leading family therapist. It’s the essence of mutual growth, support, and a feeling of security that defines such relationships, says relationship expert Marisa T. Cohen.
A strong partnership doesn’t necessarily mean you both hold high positions in your respective careers. It’s about having each other’s back, balancing work, life, and love, notes relationship therapist Jane Greer.
Want to know if you and your love are rocking the power couple vibe? Here’s what to look out for:
Both of you feel secure and safe in your relationship.
Cohen says that the first thing to look for is a relationship where both partners feel safe and secure. You should have a strong attachment with each other, which is a healthy and solid foundation. Cohen says, “That is the solid foundation from which to explore the world.”
Open communication is key to a successful relationship.
You may be a bit annoyed that your S.O. Having deeper thoughts about how your S.O. can support you better as you deal with grief or a mental health crisis. You should feel comfortable talking to your partner about anything. Cohen says that you can be transparent with your partner regarding your needs and wants.
Celebrate each other’s success.
You can (and should!) celebrate your partner’s friendship wins, work promotions, and new hobbies without feeling jealous, threatened, or comparing yourself to them. Celebrate each other’s new friendships, promotions at work, and hobbies, without feeling jealous or threatened. Cohen says that you should be able “to strive for your own goals, while also supporting your partner on the journey.” You should be happy when they achieve their goals.
It’s normal to be a bit jealous of your partner if they just received a large raise at work or you feel that all the attention is on them. If you are in a couple that is a “power couple,” your attitude is like this: Greer says, “If your partner does well, and is successful, then you’re essentially part of their success.” You share in the success, so there’s no rivalry.
Both of you have a healthy degree of independence.
Cohen explains that while it is important to care about your partner’s life and support their dreams, you both should have your own goals and hopes. She says that if you are more concerned about your partner’s personal goals, career, or friendships than your own it can cause problems such as codependency. She adds that you should also allow each partner to achieve their goals on their own.
You are willing to be flexible.
Cohen says that a big part of any relationship is being able to “pitch in and support your partner when necessary” as well as pivoting when necessary. She says that many people are stuck in a transactional, “quid pro-quo” pattern of their relationship. You might think that because your partner is always taking out the garbage, you should also clean the litter box.
When you are in a power pair, both partners are willing to step up and be flexible, even if that means taking on extra housework when the other is busy with a work project or planning a romantic date while the other has had a difficult week. She says that both partners are giving their all to the relationship, without checking up on each other. They’re doing it out of a genuine desire to do so.
Prioritize and respond to each other’s concerns.
Powerful couples are not only able to communicate what they want but also prioritize and listen to each other’s needs and desires. You don’t just talk about what you need and want from your partner, you actually follow through. Remember that actions are more important than words.
It may also mean learning the love language of your partner. For example, if you tend to use affirmations while they prefer physical contact there could be a steep learning curve. That’s okay! Cohen says, “It is about validating their needs and meeting them at where they are.”
You are willing to work together to achieve each other’s goals.
Support your S.O. Greer suggests that you should not only listen to what your partner wants, but “make the time and effort to make the necessary changes in your own life to be available to them to help achieve their goals.” Maybe your partner can help you time your laps if you are training for a race. You could also help your partner prepare for a work presentation.
You are each other’s equals.
Power couples are able to fill in the gaps of each other. Let’s say one partner is more introverted. They both attend a party but the social partner talks more. Both partners have a great time. Greer says this is a sign that you might be a power couple.
You and your partner work well together.
Greer says that power couples are “great as a I and terrific as we.” Both partners have rich and fulfilling lives but also enjoy spending time with their partner. On that note, planning vacations, navigating finances, and dealing with the in-laws are all little tasks that feel like teamwork.
When you are in a power pair, each partner feels accomplished and powerful, but together, they become even more so. Imagine you and your partner are deciding where to spend the holiday season. You want to go to the Florida beaches, while your partner prefers the ski slopes. Greer says that compromise is better than a sacrifice, where one person takes control and the other gets into a power battle.
You are open to the other person’s interest.
Power couples do not have to share the same interests. These two people are likely to enjoy sharing their hobbies and interests. You might love exercising so you invite your partner to join you. You can ask your partner for a playlist if they are really into music. Greer says that “power couples share interests”.
You don’t casually try to outdo each other.
Imagine that your partner comes home from work and tells you they received some excellent feedback from their manager. Maybe they are feeling sad and anxious about something.
It is human to want to share a great thing that has happened to you or to vent about a stressful day at the office. In a supportive relationship, Greer says, each partner can listen to the other’s successes and failures and refrain from chiming in.
You both bring out the best of each other.
Both S.O.s in a power pair encourage and respect each other as they are. Greer explains, “You feel that they have helped you to become and be the best version of yourself.” “I’ve had couples say that they couldn’t have done it without each other.
You inspire others to be their best selves.
Harouni says that you and your partner bring out the very best in one another, but also in those around you. She adds, “[Power Couples] invite people to their homes or their lives and create a sense of safety for other people to be near them.”
If you’re wondering if you’re on the right track, remember, it’s about how the relationship feels and if it’s fulfilling, says Greer. If you feel there’s room to grow, think of a couple you admire and assess what aspects of their relationship resonate with you. By understanding your values, you’re one step closer to becoming that iconic duo. So, Blake & Ryan, you might just have some competition.