A happy couple is not by any means a perfect couple that just happens overnight, but an imperfect couple that learns to enjoy each other’s differences, and works together every day to create something special and unbreakable. In other words, a great relationship isn’t luck, it requires effort and care to grow and evolve in ways that keep both partners happy.
I have read several books on relationships, coached many couples who were struggling to find happiness in their relationships, and have been up against my very own personal experiences. All of this has given me insight into the specific behaviors that make two people happy as a couple. Here is what I’ve found to be in common with most happy couples relationships:
1. They practice self-care as individuals
I talk about self-care regularly with my clients. It’s a very important aspect of my work. Relationships don’t create happiness, they reflect it. Happiness comes from within. Relationships are simply mirrors of the combined ecstasy that two people have as individuals. What you see in the mirror is what you see in your relationships. Your dislikes in your partner are often your dislikes about yourself. Your acceptance of your partner often reflects your acceptance of yourself. The first step to having a healthy relationship with someone else is to have a healthy relationship with yourself. If you love yourself then you will radiate love to your partner.
2. They stand together and refuse to let outsiders have a say in their relationship.
Relationships don’t always make sense, especially to outsiders. So don’t let outsiders run your relationship for you. Many times outsiders have a bit of jealousy because of the current state of their relationships and can unintentionally sabotage yours and your partners. If you’re having an issue with your partner, work it out with THEM only! You have to live your own lives your own way… that’s all there is to it. It’s our duty, and ours alone, to decide if a relationship is right for us. If you and your partner both agree that it is right, and it’s worth working on, don’t bring the outside in. It’s ok to have privacy these days.
3. They know their relationship is a unique, uncomparable bond
This I can say I know from true experience. No one understands my husbands and my relationship like we do, and really, we like it that way! Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s. Every couple makes their own relationship rules, love agreements, and habits. Just focus on what you two share, and make your unique bond the best it can be. All relationships have their ups and downs, they do not stay on a continuous blissful high. Working together through the hard times will make your relationship stronger in the end.
4. They are intimate about everything
Sex is not the only thing to be intimate about. Sex doesn’t always equal love either. Especially in the beginning of a relationship, attraction and pleasure in sex are often mistaken for love. Sex is amazing but it’s the easy part. Intimacy is far more and what makes relationships last. It requires honest communication and openness about concerns, fears and sadness, as well as hopes, dreams and happiness.
5. They don’t try to change each other
Our biggest need in life is to be accepted as we are. Sometimes we try to make our partners into what we want them to be, what we think we need, love, or desire. But these expectations and perceptions are against reality, against their benefit and ours, and always end in disappointment, because it is not who they are. The foundation of love is to let your partner be their true self’s, because that is who we are supposed to be in love with. Otherwise we fall in love only with our own fantasies, and miss out entirely on their true beauty. Instead of trying to change your partner, give them your support and grow together.
6. They go on dates or spend quality time alone
They take date nights with each other. If you neglect your relationship, your relationship will neglect you too. With busy schedules we often forget to relax and enjoy each other. In relationships distance is measured in affection, not miles. Two people can be right next to each other and yet miles apart. So don’t ignore the one you love, because lack of attention often hurts more than angry words. I love our date nights. We have 8 kids so date nights are much needed. Sometimes our date nights are simply cooking a special meal and checking out to our room where we watch a movie without kids! Whatever it may be as long as we get to be together.
7. Communication is the Golden Rule
Your partner is not a mind reader. Communicate your thoughts. Give them the information they need rather than expecting them to know. The more that remains unspoken, the greater the risk for problems. Start communicating clearly. Most problems, big and small, within a relationship, start with bad communication.
Listening is also part of communication. Listen intently before replying. Don’t listen so you can reply, listen to understand. Open your ears and mind to your partner’s concerns and opinions without judgment. Look at things from your partner’s perspective as well as your own. Most people fail to understand that communication is both speaking and listening.
8. They don’t play games with each other’s heads and hearts
Cheating and lying aren’t struggles, they’re reasons relationships break up. Relationships fall apart quite easily when they’ve been held together with lies. The truth is, relationships don’t hurt. Lying, cheating and twisting reality until it plays with someone’s emotions is what hurts. Promises mean everything, but after they’re broken, sorry means nothing. So never mess with your partner’s feelings just because you’re unsure of your own. If you are unsure in any way, be sure to say so. Always be open and honest. And remember that when the truth is replaced by silence, silence becomes a lie too.
9. They review and discuss their goals and dreams often
For couples, it’s you two against the world. Having regular discussions with each other about goals, dreams, passions and the future, in a way that’s positive and inspiring, will not only bring you closer together, but will also bring your collective desires closer to reality.
10. They negotiate and compromise on decisions
Since people’s needs change over time, and life itself demands changes too, the inner workings of good relationships are negotiated all the time. And oftentimes a two-way compromise is the best solution. There has to be a balance of give and take.
11. They don’t blow things out of proportion.
People make mistakes. Things happen. There’s no reason to break your relationship into pieces over spilt milk. One way to check if something is worth fighting over is to ask yourself this question: “Will this matter next year?” If not, then let it go immediately and leave it in the past.
12. They Control their anger
Heated arguments are a waste. They drain you mentally, emotionally and physically. Your partner doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right. Most of the time it just doesn’t matter that much. When you feel anger boiling inside and you want to yell that rude remark on the tip of your tongue, just close your mouth and walk away. Don’t let your anger get the best of you. Give yourself some time to calm down and then calmly discuss the situation.
13. They apologize to each other immediately and forgive whole heartedly
This takes practice but let me tell you from experience, my husband and I always apologize immediately. Sometimes we both realize how petty we sound and we both start apologizing. Making up after an argument is key to every happy relationship. A simple, honest “I’m sorry” is usually the most important step. We all make mistakes, but our willingness to admit it doesn’t always come naturally. So remember, it doesn’t really matter who’s right, it’s what’s right that matters. If your relationship is important to you, an apology is always right. Apologies must be backed by sincere patience and forgiveness. Because no matter how honest and kind you try to be, you will occasionally step on your partner’s toes. And this is why patience and forgiveness are so important to relationships.
14. They do sweet nothings for each other
We’ve all heard the term “sweet nothings” at some point in our lives. Happy couples will stop and pick up some flowers or their partners favorite ice cream bar to surprise them with here and there. As simple as it sounds, these sweet nothings show your partner that you care and pay attention to the details of the relationship. Sweet nothings can even be as simple as flirting with each other, or telling them that they look beautiful or handsome today. All those little things keep a relationship alive and thriving.
In conclusion I’m not suggesting that these are the only factors to being a happy couple, I’m simply stating some common habits that can make all the difference in the world. Most of the happiness in our relationships is due to intentional decisions. Meaning, it’s possible for us to significantly improve our relationships simply by altering what we choose to do every day. Happy couples are always looking for ways to show their partners that they care and are truly invested in the relationship.