Keeping a happy relationship sounds easy enough. You think the only recipe for success is to avoid getting on each other’s nerves. You’ve never been in a long-term relationship, if that’s what you think.
If you want a healthy, happy relationship, you need to put much more work into it. But don’t stress over it. When you’re in love with someone, creating ways to ensure their happiness (and yours) is something you want to do instead of having to do it.
So, here are some helpful habits to guarantee a long-lasting happy relationship.
1. Be Kind
Want to know how to maintain happiness in your relationship? Research resoundingly shows that kindness is essential. But what exactly does that mean?
Kindness means using nice and pleasant words instead of brash comments with a “don’t care” attitude. For example, when your partner is upset, kindness is listening to their point of view without becoming defensive.
If they share their thoughts and feelings, being kind is giving them your complete attention and not being distracted in any way (on your phone, watching Tv.)
Only some have the kindness chip, but the good news is that it’s attainable. Think of it as a muscle you can exercise to make stronger. And when you extend kindness to people, it inspires them to do the same. This is referred to as the cascade effect.
2. Open and Honest Communication
Open and honest communication is one of the most important habits to have in your relationship. Being open and honest with your partner doesn’t guarantee you won’t have disagreements. But it does help work through any issues. But what exactly does that look like?
Along with sharing life’s happier moments, healthy couples can have awkward conversations where they discuss specific difficult emotions they may be going through.
They constantly communicate their feelings, needs, wants, and concerns constructively and positively. They never use communication destructively or to tear each other down, so there’s no dismissing, blaming, name-calling, insulting, lying, or sarcasm.
When your concerns are heard by one another, the bond becomes stronger, and the couple becomes more resilient and better equipped to handle future issues.
3. Forgive and Apologize
In every relationship, we will say and do things that will hurt our partner, whether intentionally or unintentionally. However, research has indicated that the happiest couples know how to take accountability for their errors. They also know how to apologize and forgive genuinely.
When a person believes their partner sincerely expresses remorse in their apology, they’re more forgiving than if they thought the apology was insincere.
For instance, “I’m sorry you feel hurt about what I said” is not an apology. This type of “apology” is insincere and puts the blame back onto your partner for having hurt feelings. Also, there is no accountability.
An apology should:
- show ownership for what you did wrong
- express regret for how that made your partner feel
- demonstrate an effort never to do it again
When practiced regularly, this habit helps repair any damage caused by the error in the first place. A sincere apology helps couples live amicably in the present rather than constantly dealing with grudges from the past.
4. Create Rituals Together
Instead of using the same mundane routines to elevate their lives, happy couples should create rituals.
The difference is in the details and the significance attached to the activity. For instance, a couple that goes for a walk around the neighborhood together every morning has a workout routine. But, a couple that walks the dogs on the beach every Saturday morning to a place where they can sit on the rocks and enjoy the surf has created a ritual for spending relaxing time with each other.
Instead of going out to a movie on Saturday nights, a couple could make a ritual of having a candlelit dinner at home and then enjoying a nice, hot bubble bath with a glass of wine. When you make special rituals, it becomes a habit that keeps the relationship exhilarating.
5. Be Protective of Your Relationship
A recent study that checked out long-term, happy relationships found that those who participated showed a mutual commitment to protecting “marital cohesion.”
A couple who tries to protect their relationship interacts in constructive rather than destructive manners. They act in ways that promote harmony rather than ways that create conflict.
In other words, satisfied couples tend to treat each other with respect and care because they understand that their happy union needs these to continue to succeed.
6. Find Time to Connect Sexually
Do we even need to tell you that happy couples have sex? Well, they do, and regularly, too! This one should be pretty easy, but if you have kids, you may have to sneak around some, but it’s still doable.
Couples who are satisfied in their marriage listen to each other’s preferences and desires and are willing to receive AND give pleasure and try new things. Older couples are also likely to be happier the more they engage in sexual activity.
Sometimes you’d like to be intimate with your partner, but you may have biological issues preventing you from doing so.
For menopausal women, try hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to increase the libido.
For men with erectile dysfunction (ED), nutritional supplements can help promote healthy blood flow. Or, visit your doctor for medication to help increase your sex drive.
Of course, physical intimacy is a part of emotional intimacy. So, continue using communication, kindness, and ritual-making so it can carry over into your bedroom.
7. Try Different Things
Another way to keep your relationship strong is to try new experiences together. Engaging in new things affects the brain’s reward system by overflowing it with norepinephrine and dopamine.
This is the same section of the brain activated when people fall in love. Some experts suggest doing different things as a couple can recreate the same brain chemicals flowing during early courtship.
Sharing new experiences is also highly bonding. Enjoying time together is fun and doesn’t take much to do. Hiking on a new trail or preparing a new recipe together will do the trick.
To maintain your happy relationship, it’s more about the small daily things that keep the love going strong. So, don’t stress yourself about it. Your partner will be pleased with any effort you make. Plus, it’s never too late to begin these efforts at any stage of your relationship, so go for it!
If you aren’t in a relationship yet but are looking, why not hop online and check out some free dating app trials? Soon, you’ll be able to practice these suggestions with your new partner.