Ever wondered why some couples are truly happy while some others struggle? Do they have some secrets? It certainly looks like they do.
We often hear that relationships need work, but no one tells us what exactly we need to do.
We invest our time and money in all sorts of things – education, health, and property, but we often forget to invest in our happiness as a couple.
So, what can a couple do to be truly happy? How to keep a relationship healthy, strong, and long-lasting?
Read this article, and you’ll learn five essential habits of truly happy couples.
Happy Couples – Habit N.1 : They Don’t Try to Fix Each Other
This is probably the most important habit of happy couples.
Unconditional acceptance of a partner with all their good and bad sides, habits, and preferences is one secret to having a happy relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Your partner’s points of difference are what makes them unique.
Their life experiences transformed them into the person they are now – and you fell in love with that person.
“Couples spend year after year trying to change each other’s mind—but it can’t be done. This is because most of their disagreements are rooted in fundamental differences of lifestyle, personality, or values,” says John M. Gottman, a renowned psychologist and writer.
Most people don’t want to hear someone else’s side of the story. They try to prove the others are wrong. Always. That’s not how you build a strong relationship with your partner.
Here’s what you might do wrong.
You may not like one of your boyfriend’s habits and are desperate to change that.
For example, you say something like, “Just look at my friend’s boyfriend. They don’t eat meat/smoke/tapping their feet” – whatever is relevant to your situation.
Or you constantly bring home motivational books and try to get your partner to read them and miraculously change.
Well, it’s not going to work. Why? Because people won’t change unless they feel a deep need for it.
Your constant pressure will only make them feel annoyed and frustrated because you don’t appreciate them the way they are.
How to make it right.
Accept that you and your loved one can’t always agree on everything and don’t feel the same about something.
But it’s okay not to be aligned every minute of every hour. Your significant other has the right to be different, as much as you do. Just be happy with your partner’s personality (otherwise, what are you still doing with them?).
So, the first thing you can do to maintain a good relationship is to learn to accept your loved one for who they are.
A useful tip.
Avoid blaming your partner for their shortcomings and focus on their positive traits.
Get in the habit of finding and admiring something good that your loved one has done during the day.
And remember to tell them how much you appreciate what they’re doing. Even the slightest praise can work miracles and make a person happy in a relationship.
Recommended book: Relationship Goals: How to Win at Dating, Marriage, and Sex
Happy Couples – Habit N.2 : They Respect Each Other’s Space
Even happy couples madly in love cannot be together 24/7. Your partner is not a pet and can’t be around all the time.
Both of you need personal space to maintain your unique mentality. Being yourself, doing what you like, and letting others do the same is crucial to healthy relationships.
“In controlling the other, we lose touch with ourselves; we become a thing among things,” wrote a renowned clinical psychologist, Clark E. Moustakas.
Sooner or later, this controlling behavior will lead to a crisis and loss of power balance in a romantic relationship. So, where’s the line between relying on someone and enslaving them?
Here’s the wrong way.
Some people try to control their partner’s every move, check the messages on their phone, and get offended when they take time out for their hobbies.
Such actions are based on jealousy and fear of losing a loved one.
Remember that restricting your partner’s freedom will not keep them from leaving you if they decide to do it one day.
Your controlling behavior will only alienate people you love instead of making them feel happy in your company.
The right way.
Remember that trust and emotional freedom can help sustain a healthy relationship. Decide once and for all that you trust your partner.
Let them have their personal space and do it with a light heart. Better yet, engage in self-development. It is unlikely that your loved one wants you to sacrifice your interests to keep a good relationship.
A helpful tip.
Don’t tell your partner that you can’t stand their hobbies or friends. Instead, try to find out more about what your boyfriend or girlfriend does in their free time and what kind of people they hang out with.
Show genuine interest, and your partner may want to share these experiences with you.
Happy Couples – Habit N.3: They Talk Openly
You need to have the courage to discuss the things that bother you in a romantic relationship. But, unfortunately, many couples don’t usually voice their needs, desires, or fears.
And it’s a big mistake because openness is the best way to prevent mistrust and frustration from creeping into the relationship.
“Your partner is not a mind-reader and can’t possibly know what you want them to do. So, if you don’t articulate your needs, they will be left unsatisfied,” says Natalie Maximets, certified life transformation coach and a contributing writer for OnlineDivorce.com.
So, if you want to have a strong relationship, you need to learn to be more open about your desires.
The things some of us do wrong.
Are you familiar with the situation when one partner is upset with the other who has absolutely no clue why?
And when the poor fellow tries to figure out what happened, they only get annoyed looks instead of the answer.
Another common thing is when you let your loved one decide what you want as a birthday present (and receive something useless) instead of telling them exactly what you desire.
The way it should be.
If you want to stay happy in your relationship, never be afraid to talk about your feelings and desires with your partner.
If something isn’t the way you expected or you have particular needs, say so. And vice versa.
Learn to spot when something is bothering your significant other and initiate a conversation. Even if you can’t help resolve their issue, your attention and understanding will make your partner happy and relieve their stress.
Emotionally safe relationship tips.
Invest time in improving your emotional IQ and pay attention to your partner’s emotional state.
It will help you better understand their feelings, convey your emotions, and, as a result, be happier in a relationship.
Recommended read: How to Tell if Someone Truly Values You
4. They Know How to Resolve Conflict
It’s almost impossible to find couples who don’t have at least minor conflicts from time to time.
And if anyone says they don’t argue, they are probably lying or aren’t into each other enough to care. We can’t always be happy with the way things develop in our daily lives.
And conflict is the one tool to transform undesirable circumstances into a better state and make a relationship happy again.
But the way the couple gets from point A to point B determines whether they will feel comfortable when the argument ends.
Stephen R. Covey wrote, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Not wanting to listen to one another is a stumbling block in peaceful conflict resolution, which is essential if you plan to be content in a relationship for years to come.
Сommon mistakes during a conflict.
Many couples let their emotions overtake sound judgment. They act on impulse and say things they don’t mean. On top of that, they start remembering something that bothered them months ago, which turns a little argument into a huge fight.
How to survive the conflict.
Keep your emotions under constant control and think twice before you say something.
Foster a constructive conversation and do not turn it into a monologue where you accuse your loved one of everything they have ever done wrong.
Focus on the current issue and restrain from shouting. And try your best to hear your partner’s opinion without interrupting them.
You can only make someone happy in a relationship if you truly understand them.
A useful tip.
Set ground rules for conflicts – things you can and can’t do.
For example, agree to never walk out of the house and slam the door in anger. Name-calling and threats to break up are also bad practices, so add them to the list.
Recommended read: Long Distance Relationships: The Ultimate Guide
5. They Delight Each Other With Small Gestures
It’s easy to surrender to routine and forget about maintaining the emotional warmth in the couple.
However, if you give each other joy, love, and happiness, you have more chances to keep a relationship healthy.
That’s why it’s vital to bring some bright colors and variety into the relationship regularly.
Here’s what some people do wrong.
Do you remember what you did when your relationship just started?
Maybe you used to send your boyfriend messages wishing them a good day at work or bought your girlfriend their favorite sweets.
We forget about these little romantic things that our partner liked and start living a boring life where everything is on schedule.
How to spark feelings.
Try to bring some novelty to everyday life. You don’t have to plan a candlelit dinner every night or buy tickets to exotic destinations.
A few small but regular tokens of attention would suffice. Leave your loved one a sweet message on the fridge every morning, or bring them breakfast in bed from time to time.
A helpful tip.
Giving attention to your loved one is a proven way to be truly happy as a couple. So, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it regularly and not just on some special occasions.
Habits of Happy Couples: Final Words
Many people go to a family therapist hoping to save their relationship when it’s too late to change anything.
Don’t be one of those couples.
Instead, try to understand and respect each other’s needs, share your emotions, set goals and achieve them together.
Start working on your relationship now, and over time you will be amazed by the miracles simple openness and sincerity can do.