We scroll through our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and admire couples who are in happy, healthy, and functional relationships. Their social media posts are the definition of “#relationshipgoals” as they inspire us to achieve power couple status like Beyonce and Jay-Z, or Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. A study in the journal Personal Relationships has found subtle signs, like pronoun use, can determine whether we're a great match with our significant other.

The use of pronouns such as “I,” “me,” and “my,” spoken by the spouse, and “you,” and “your,” by the patient, reflected positive marital quality in couples where one partner is dealing with a serious illness, in the study.

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Researchers at the University of California, Riverside propose achieving relationship goals could be as straightforward as communicating the right words and finding balance.

“It may seem like an insignificant thing, but our research shows words can reflect important differences among romantic relationships,” said Megan Robbins, study author and psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, in a statement.

Robbins and her colleagues focused on pronoun use among 52 couples coping with breast cancer. The couples wore a device — “Electronically Activated Recorder,” or “EAR,” — that recorded 50 seconds of sound every nine minutes for a weekend (Friday-Sunday), except during sleep. The researchers focused on conversations that did not involve cancer, or in other words "normal conversations," which comprised about 95 percent of their daily talks.

First-person singular pronouns like "I," and "me," and second-person pronouns, such as "you" and "your" were analyzed, along with positive emotion words (care, love); anxiety words (worry, stress); anger words (hate, resent); sadness words (cry, woe); and a separate category of negative emotion words not involving those stated.

The findings revealed spouses' use of first-person singular pronouns and the patients' use of second-person pronouns was linked to better marital quality for both partners. Using personal pronouns shows a balance and interdependence between the couple. The researchers were able to decipher who the individual was focusing on, and how they view their role within the relationship.

Meanwhile, positive emotion words were positively correlated with marital quality, and unsurprisingly, negative pronoun use was parallel with negative marital quality.

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"We found that focus on the spouse, rather than on the patient, lent to better marital quality for both partners. It was an indicator for us that the couple thought of themselves as a team, or a unit — not exclusively focusing on the patient," said Robbins.

Evidently, word choice is a strong indicator of relationship quality and relationship satisfaction, depending on the circumstance. Previous research has also found there are other subtle signs that can reveal whether we're in a healthy or toxic relationship. Take a look down below at the other three behaviors common in power couples.

You Fight And Don't Hold Back

Ironically, fighting with your significant other can be a sign of a healthy relationship. A study conducted by Florida State University found expressing anger may be necessary to resolve relationship woes, rather than holding back feelings. Researchers believe anger can serve an important role in showing a transgressing partner that their behavior is not acceptable. Therefore, if a couple argues in a healthy way, they're better able to express themselves, and create a good framework with how to handle issues that arise in relationships. "Forgive and forget" is not always the best policy.

Limited Texting

Many couples associate texting frequency with relationship satisfaction, but the less texting, the better. A study by Brigham Young University found heavy texting was linked to feelings of dissatisfaction with relationships. For example, if one partner is less interactive via text, the expectation is not matched by the reality for the other, which can lead to feelings of disappointment and disconnect, according to the researchers. However, sending something sweet in a text was more strongly related to relationship satisfaction than receiving one.

In other words, don't text when it comes to serious conversations, disagreements, or apologies.

Different Spending Habits

Couples in committed relationships often argue about one thing: money. Surprisingly, couples who have different spending habits may be compatible for each other. A study conducted by the Universities of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Northwestern found people tend to choose their "spending opposite" when it comes to finding a lifelong partner. The researchers believe we seek different spending attitudes in a partner because we hate in other people what we also hate in ourselves. Therefore, the more we hate that quality about ourselves, the more we avoid it.

If we're a frivolous spender, chances are we'll seek someone who is more money savvy. Spending decisions is a common source of conflict and a major contributor to divorce. Remember, it's OK to have a spending opposite, but agreeing on big purchases like buying a house, is important.

Source: Karan A, Wright RC, and Robbins ML. Everyday emotion word and personal pronoun use reflects dyadic adjustment among couples coping with breast cancer. Personal Relationships. 2017.

See Also:

Sexual Relationships: 6 Key Signs Your Partner Is Cheating

Why People Stay In Loveless Relationships