Ever have that couple in your life who seem so happy, and you often wonder, “How do they do it?” We all have happy couples around us, and we might even be that happy couple. But we also know, staying happy can be tough as time goes on in a relationship.
Many things happen during a relationship that can be a threat to the ‘strength’ or ‘happiness’ of a couple. But so many of us seem to focus on what is wrong in the relationship rather than what is right.
Terry Orbuch, Ph.D from Psychology Today suggests adding positive behaviors to keep that happiness alive in a relationship.
There are four things she suggests to start today:
Get Real About Your Expectations
Do Small Things, Often, To Make Your Partner Happy
Practice The 10-Minute Rule
Knock Each Other Off Balance
Getting real about your expectations.
We often get these ideas of what relationships and marriages should be like from books, movies, and TV shows. But in reality, a long term commitment to another person takes continued work. Understanding these expectations can help relieve a lot of anger, frustration, and resentment. When you know that your relationships doesn’t have to be perfect, and there will be times when it’s not great, you can build your expectations in a healthy manner instead of an unattainable manner.
Do small things to make your partner happy often.
Orbuch says that she teaches her happy couples about affective affirmation. What is affective affirmation? Affective affirmations are compliments, encouragement, and physical rewards that don’t have to be sexual (like hand holding, back rubs etc). Offering your support and help to your partner, can go a long way. Even if it’s something small like taking out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.
Practice the 10-minute rule.
Talking to your spouse seems like something you do all the time. But when you really analyize your relationship, you might realize that you do talk to your spouse a lot, but about the same things all the time. How your day was, chores to be done, stressors at work, etc. But try setting aside 10 minutes a day to talk to your partner about anything BUT your relationship, work, or household items. You’ll be surprised about what you can learn about each other in such a short period of time!
Know each other off balance.
We all tend to settle in certain ‘roles’ in our relationships. You might be the one who handles all the finances, while your spouse is the one who does most of the cooking. Maybe you do a lot of the planning for trips or date nights, and your partner helps to get everything organized at home. What about changing it up? Settling into routines can be great, but can also be frustrating in a relationship. Start to implement a few changes here and there. Ask your partner to plan the next date night, or go to the grocery store and whip up a nice homemade meal for them.
Where ever you are in your relationship, know that they are hard. They require hard work. Happy and successful couples know this going in, and adjust to it through out. Adding in positive behaviors can be a great way to keep that spark alive!