There’s one secret to living happily ever after. But there are certain strategies and habits you can adopt to make sure that your relationship with your romantic partner thrives in a healthy way that encourages growth and a strong bond throughout the decades. Here are the top things that happy couples have in common — we could all learn a thing or two!
Consistent respect is the single most empowering part of a strong relationship. It makes you feel valued, and creates a powerful foundation of trust, gratitude, and loyalty. Not sure how to display respect to your partner? First, consider thanking them more frequently, even for the little things. Always make sure task about your partner’s day and genuinely listen. The way that you argue will also reflect respect. Rather than screaming, listen to the person’s feelings and try to understand from their perspective.
2. Spending time together
Quality time is important for every couple. No matter how different your pastime and careers are, enjoying each other’s company with activities you both like is important. This doesn’t have to mean high-stakes adventures and fancy dinners. You can simply cook together, share a cup of coffee, or even take a class together.
3. Screen free time
Netflix and chill is the easiest activity to do, especially when you’re both exhausted from work. But when you watch TV, your attention is focused outwards rather than on each other. Try to spend at least some time together that’s phone and television free so you can really focus on each other — even if it’s just taking a walk down the street together. This will help you get out of the TV or phone scrolling rut.
4. It’s the little things
You don’t always have to make some grand gesture to show someone that you love them. In fact, the little things matter way more than hiring a flash mob or spending a ton of money on expensive jewelry. Consider completing a chore you know your partner doesn’t like, getting them their favorite cup of coffee, or leaving little love notes around the house.
5. Physical intimacy
It is natural for some couples to fall into a rut in their sex life, especially if they’ve been together for a while. But there are other kinds of physical intimacy that can release the love hormone, aka oxytocin. This can include holding hands, kissing, hugging and sharing massages. This closeness will help make your bond stronger while reducing stress.
6. Argue in a proactive way
Yes, there is such a thing as good fighting. Fighting is inevitable for every couple, but in the end, it should help you move forward and learn something new about each together so that your relationship is stronger than ever. Instead of giving each other the silent treatment, shouting, or holding grudges, focus on problem-solving, compromise, and sincere apologies. Always try to patiently listen rather than defensively lashing out and interrupting.
7. Teamwork makes the dreamwork
Being on the same side as your partner is important. Sometimes in therapy, this is called “operational intimacy.” While this can be expressed in different ways, it usually means that you show solidarity with each other and act like teammates in matters like parenting, household chores, or vacation planning.
Being overly clingy with each other will make you co-dependant, and might make you bored of the other person. Having a healthy relationship with yourself is the most important thing in life, and all other relationships are secondary. That’s why self-care and time dedicated for yourself is just as important as quality time in your relationship. Maintain separate identities and that will make the bond between you even more special, acting as a constant reminder of why you fell in love.
9. Not comparing your relationship to others
Pro tip: to avoid doing this, stop following so many influencer couples on social media! Drawing comparisons to other couples and focusing on the expectations and assumptions of others will always lead to your downfall. Instead, happy couples realize that their dynamic is completely unique, and they only judge their lives together by their own standards.
Trust and commitment go hand in hand and are key to any partnership. For some couples this means monogamy, while for others it means open relationships and open communication. In whatever relationship style you choose, honesty is key. It’s the gateway to trust. Earned trust helps you avoid anxiety and fear, helping you understand (and react to) your partner better.