At this point in my relationship, I can honestly say that I’m happy. I’m with the right person, and I’ve discovered the relationship dynamics that work for us. Now, before you stamp “braggart” on my forehead, please hear me out. I have a pretty good reason for saying this.
Believe me, I know how it feels to be in a miserable marriage. It’s like standing on the edge of a cliff where your dream of basking in blissful romance seems dead. And the future dark and bleak. The stress wrecks your physical and emotional health big time.
And the longer you hold on, the more toxicity kills you. It’s like ingesting a slow-killing poison. You don’t realize how it diminishes and sucks the life out of you until you’re in too deep. So to experience the sunny side of real love? Now that isn’t something I take lightly at all. And neither should you.
True love can take you to places you didn’t know were possible. Your self-esteem grows, your mental and emotional well-being settles at a good place. Life is fun.
In a happy relationship, you and your lover genuinely want to be with each other, willing to climb Mount Everest to share your lives. As such, happy couples have common habits that create the perfect environment for their love to not only grow but blossom.
These have worked in my marriage too. They can help you attract or transform your relationships to that of intimacy, warmth, and affection.
Their Eyes Are Set on the Prize.
The other day my husband and I had to make a crucial decision about something. I opposed his idea. However, he went ahead and did it anyway. As it turns out, I was right. We ended up in a terrible situation after that. I bit my tongue a hundred times because I wanted was to scream the dreadful words, “I told you so!” before rolling my eyes.
Thankfully, restraint saved me. In part because the damage was done anyway. So it was wiser to move on. But most importantly, because I’m learning that proving yourself right at the expense of your partner’s happiness isn’t winning at all. Doing this only puts your partner down and creates a rift in your connection.
Your lover should be your best friend. They should feel safe enough around you to make decisions without expecting harsh judgments. Otherwise, your union starts to feel like a jail cell. Save the harsh condemnation for the judge. Start observing happy couples, and you’ll realize that their focus is on the relationship and not on themselves.
They’ve got their eyes firmly fixed on the prize. For them, fostering happiness in the relationship is more important than proving their individual point. Do you remember a time when you were happy while your spouse wasn’t? Probably not.
It’s Never “I” for Them.
About a year ago, I met June and Dan, and although they’d been together for only four months, it was as if they’d been together for years. Halfway through the conversation, Dan said, “We’re renovating our house this weekend.”
As I later learned, they hadn’t moved in together yet. Still, Dan referred to his house as “our.” which symbolized oneness. Using “We” instead of “I” makes the other person feel included and promotes a sense of togetherness. According to research from the University of California, “we” talk can have profound relationship benefits.
By using it, you can have a strong connection, function better, and be happier. It gets even better. The “We” talk works magic for new relationships too. Hint: If you can’t figure out where you stand with your new lover, this can be an excellent way to find out.
According to relationships expert Aimee Hartstein, using “we” signifies that your relationship is getting more serious. It shows the couple is thinking about decisions as a unit and not as an individual. For most new couples, this is reassuring and satisfying.
Does your new boyfriend use it in conversations? If yes, you can breathe easy because it’s a clear sign your relationship is advancing to a more serious stage.
They Air Dirty Linens.
My aunt is a chatterbox. Last Christmas, she was in the middle of narrating an intimate story about an ex-boyfriend when her husband strolled in. Oops! I hope he didn’t hear that. I recall thinking. All he said was, “Oh, is it the same story about Jack again?” My jaw dropped.
As the evening progressed, she dug into more intimate stories about her life. At some point, I asked, “Does Andrew know this?” To which she responded, “Does he know this? Yup, there virtually no secrets between us.” It turns out that knowing each other’s secrets has helped them build a sense of trust and intimacy.
You’re probably thinking, “Well.. good for them, but there’s no way I’m revealing my secrets to anyone!” I get it. This is a big one. Because quite frankly, vulnerability doesn’t come easily for many. That, plus there’s a fragile line between secrecy and privacy.
Thankfully, we can always rely on expert advice to clear the fog. So, when it comes to secrets in relationships, here’s what Robert Weiss, a psychotherapist had to say:
The primary problem with secrets in intimate relationships is that they undermine trust. And we know for a fact that the healthiest relationships are built on mutual trust. ….Secrets, however, are lies of omission, and they’re just as damaging to relationships and personal integrity as those we say out loud.
There you have it. To have a happy relationship, your dirty linens need to come out in the open. This enhances transparency, which then builds trust and brings you together.
They Remember the Green Neon Socks.
It’s a crime to forget your spouse’s birthday. Nobody forgets. At least we hope so! Your partner expects you to show up with a wrapped gift on the same date every year. However, happy couples have discovered a much nicer way to charm each other.
They go beyond the norm. They know that sprinkling random little gifts means a lot. Remembering the cotton shirt your man admired over a Netflix binge session and surprising him is a sure-fire way to take him straight to cloud nine.
Last week my friend’s husband got her a pair of green neon socks because he remembered her saying she loved the color when they went shopping the week before. By remembering this tiny, odd thing, James proved he’s attentive and committed. It speaks volumes about you and your love for your partner and can reap significant benefits for your relationship.
Do this if you want to enhance your bond and be emotionally close and intimate with your partner. In relationships, it’s often the little things that matter most because they create the strongest bonds. As psychologist Marni, Amsellem writes, “In the end, these are what fuels the health of the relationship.”
They Lock Horns.
Why in the world would a seemingly loving couple argue? This one defies logic. Shouldn’t it be all sunshine and rainbows all the time? And yet, surprisingly, arguments are a common characteristic of a strong relationship. They are muscles muscles strengthening your relationship.
Arguments lay out the thorny issues making you uncomfortable. They iron out all the rough edges of discontentment. You express your point of view. Arguing is the last thing most couples want to engage in. However, according to Shivani Misri Sadhoo, a marriage counselor, arguing in a relationship can be beneficial.
As we speak our heart out, it helps in the longer run. None of the partners hold grudge against each other and even understand each other well when caught in a situation. Fighting creates depths of intimacy: Intimacy in a relationship increases through healthy arguments. One realizes when to draw the line and what sort of behavior to expect from the partner.
Loving couples understand that arguments aren’t the end but a means to the end. The end being, understanding each other better. Although uncomfortable at the moment, arguing helps in the long run. Each time my husband and I argue, I feel heaps better afterward.
When your grievances are out in the open, it lets in a breath of fresh air. Every time you bottle up your emotions to avoid rocking the boat, you only make your relationship worse long-term. I’ve learned that pent-up issues tend to stink after a while.
They Sprinkle Compliments Often.
Two days ago, as I waited for my train home, I overheard an old man telling his wife, “You’re always beautiful, but when you tie your hair like that, I simply can’t take my eyes off you.”
“Thank you, darling. I did it for you.” Her face lit up. “I knew you’d like it.”
Respected psychologist Dr. John Gottman says compliments need to outnumber criticisms by one to five, at least in healthy marriages. When it comes to relationships, compliments can take the form of appreciation. This means noticing the small things that your spouse does and expressing your appreciation.
It’s about taking nothing for granted.
I absolutely hate doing dishes before bedtime. But each night, I drag my tired feet to the sink with a heavy sigh and clean the damn dishes. Because who wants to start their day with a messy kitchen? Also because the mister’s words, “Thanks for doing the dishes Hun,” feel good. Every time.
So I keep doing it because I know he appreciates me. When you compliment your lover, they feel appreciated, valued, and loved. It increases feelings of optimism and motivates them to do more good deeds.
You can keep the warm feelings flowing by becoming aware of your partner’s good deeds and letting them know you appreciate them. If you look hard enough, you’ll always find one good deed daily. Try it.
They Uphold the Golden Rule.
Happy couples uphold the golden rule: Respect. But let’s back up a little bit and break down what respect in a relationship actually looks like because the term “respect” is one horse that has been beaten to death. Depending on the situations we find ourselves in, we define it in many ways.
In relationships, respect is admiration for your partner and valuing who they are as a person. It’s acknowledging their achievements and recognizing the battles they’ve overcome in life. Knowing this makes you feel lucky to have them. Happy couples understand the great value or respect.
According to Stephen J. Betchen, a marriage therapist, when you’re with someone whom you respect, it can strengthen your bond and make your relationship last. My friend Terry told me she does whatever it takes to maintain respect in her marriage. She has a very tough and emotionally exhausting job.
Each time she’s had a crappy day at work, she takes an extra 10 minutes in the car to breathe before going to the house. She claims that this practice calms her nerves and emotionally disconnects her from the work drama. This way, she’s able to reflect on her marriage.
She reminds herself of how lucky she is to share her life with a man whom she admires. Doing this ensures she speaks and treats her husband respectfully, without the negative emotions bleeding into their interaction. She can maintain a friendly tone of voice and listen attentively without talking over him.
A happy relationship is the dream of many of us. Fortunately, you can attract and transform your current one to the degree where you and your lover bask in its warmth and love. Most of these habits aren’t that hard to learn. Others take time. You might have to shift your mindset a little bit.
However, it’s totally worth it. In addition to improving your relationship, they can transform your mental and emotional well-being completely. By adopting these habits one by one, you’re one step closer to achieving overall happiness in your life.