Besides being celebrities, there’s one thing that pairs like Barack and Michelle Obama, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, and John Legend and Chrissy Teigen have in common: They're power couples.
What Is a Power Couple?
A power couple is a couple who both compliments each other’s strengths and supports each other’s individuality. They are considered role models when it comes to relationships.
Other power couples that might immediately come to mind include Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, and Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham.
“If you notice this list, most of us know the individual person in the couple on their own merits,” shares Tania Paredes, a licensed therapist. “Their partner also supports and may add to the success of the other, but each member stands on their own and if they are in opposite professions, does not try to poach or encroach on their partner’s work.” Relationship therapist Deanna Crosby adds, “They both have whole lives, separately. They spend much time focused on their individual careers then come together with much affection.”
Meet the Expert
- Tania Paredes is a licensed therapist.
- Deanna Crosby, AMFT, is a relationship therapist and clinical director at New Method Wellness.
- Meagan Prost is a licensed professional counselor specializing in working with couples at the Center for Heart Intelligence.
Crosby continues, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry appear to support each other’s individuality while supporting each other’s needs. To put it more plainly, they always appear to have each other’s backs.”
So, how do you know if you and your significant other are giving off power couple vibes? Check out these 12 signs that you and your love are a power couple force to be reckoned with.
You empower each other.
To Paredes, a power couple is a couple that embodies both support and “rallying” around the other’s pursuits and endeavors. “This delineation is important because most couples support each other, but not every couple rallies and help to empower their partner to be able to find their own success,” she explains.
You prioritize teamwork.
For partners to break into power couple territory, it’s all about collaboration and how they work together. To tell, Paredes suggests reflecting on whether one member of the couple can shine without shame, blame, or guilt. And if he or she is being empowered by their partner to shine without hesitation. “Also, when one person talks about their partner's accomplishments and goals with joy and pride, that signals to me a strong powerful union."
You’re individually strong.
Within a power couple, each member stands on his or her own. “This is a couple who is delineated not by the other person but has a solid and strong ability to be an individual and you know them on their own merits versus the merits of the partner,” shares Paredes. “But at the same time, together they form a strong team due to their own individual accomplishments.”
You also thrive as a unit.
While succeeding in their individual lives, power couples are also thriving in their partnership. Crosby reveals how she and her husband interact at parties: They’re never attached at the hip and instead, they explore, have their own conversations, and then chat about what they learned on the way home. “It gives us a lot of freedom and we are never bored,” she says. “Many forget that part of a healthy relationship is what we bring to it and it is too much for a couple to have all of their individual needs met by one person.”
You don’t take each other for granted.
Expressing appreciation often, especially for the “little things” instead of overlooking or coming to expect them is a power couple move, Prost.
You’re mutually protective.
Although individuals within a power couple unit are independent, at the same time they will fiercely protect the other member. “Essentially you are the other’s biggest fan and it shows,” offers Paredes. “This means ego is down and you put your partner's success on its own pedestal.”
You clearly communicate around successes.
Power couples don’t have to make a lot of money or both be equally successful, but they do have to openly negotiate who will be more “successful” than the other at a given time. “At the end of the day a power couple is a couple, so like any other unit, it must communicate and negotiate the terms of the pair’s success, how it will impact themselves and as a unit, and that each person’s success didn’t come at a price for the partner,” says Paredes. “So it's important for couples to be open about their goals, dreams, and aspirations in life and career so they can work together towards each member’s common goals.”
Your worlds don’t solely revolve around each other.
A common misconception about power couples is that they are solely reliant on each other, explains Crosby, but that’s not how they actually thrive. “I explain it to my patients like this: Think of your relationships like a dinner, some are the main course, some are the salad and some are the dessert, no one person can be your whole meal."
You prioritize quality time over money.
Not only do power couples know that spending quality time together is important but they actually make the concerted effort to do it and they don’t rely on money as their main source of happiness. “One of the biggest misconceptions about power couples is that you have to have a lot of money to make someone else happy,” reveals Prost. “But research studies show that marital satisfaction and relationship longevity are correlated with having a strong friendship.”
You respect each other outside of the relationship.
Prost explains that power couples have the utmost respect for each other at all times, even when the other isn’t around or times are tough. This looks like always staying on the same team and not airing complaints about their partner to family, friends, or colleagues.
You seamlessly take turns.
Despite what some assume, people within a power couple don’t both have to have an alpha personality in order to thrive. “A power couple is more like a waltz; one might take the lead while the other follows and that could switch at any moment but the key is to be able to go with the flow,” Crosby says. “In a successful power couple, no one partner is always leading. They’re each strong enough to both lead and follow.”
You feel secure even during difficult times.
The relationship culture of a power couple is built and strengthened with continuous respect, trust, and commitment explains Prost. “When times get tough, they feel safe and secure because they have a relationship motto of ‘we'll figure this out, together.'"