Are you interested in bringing more happiness into your relationship? Successful couples and marriages share common practices that bring them greater strength, deeper joy, and more lasting love. Consider how you can bring these ten practices of happy couples into your own relationship:
1. Stay Emotionally Connected
Happy couples know that life is too precious to go through it without their best friend by their side. Do you think of your partner as your co-captain in the journey of life, allowing yourself to rely on him/her? Don’t be afraid to get to know your partner’s hopes, fears, and struggles. By trusting one another with your vulnerabilities, you can become much stronger together.
2. Stay Intentional
Happy couples know that to get to the top of a beautiful mountain peak, they have to keep climbing. As Spinoza taught, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.” Do you have a conviction about this truth, or are you looking for an easy trip to the summit? As you accept the truth that meaningful relationships require meaningful work, you can become less discouraged by the difficulties you face together. You can continually and deliberately work to nurture your marriage, never sacrificing what is important for what seems to be pressing. You can intentionally keep your relationship at the top of your priority list, never drifting too far away from your loved one before before making course corrections.
3. Stay Flexible
Life is full of changes. If you are building a strong, happy relationship, you and your partner accept this and work together to adjust your expectations and roles. Unforeseen events, life transitions, and the inevitable ups and downs all become opportunities to face life together. This flexibility allows you to stay rooted in your bonds to each other while responding to each change in your lives.
4. Stay Playful
Do you take time to relax and to play? Just like children and puppies, joyful couples bond through playfulness. Adding more playfulness in your relationship can bring shared joy, promote a sense of perspective, and provide relief from taking everything too seriously. (Of course, there are some things that need to be taken seriously; there’s room for both).
5. Stay Loyal
Strong, happy couples know that trust provides the nourishing soil in which love can flourish. Do you work hard to be fiercely loyal to one another? Are you mindful of situations, emotions, and people that would leave you vulnerable to stepping outside of their relationship? When you are aware of these vulnerabilities, you can work together to address any dangers before they cause harm. (If trust and loyalty have already been compromised in your relationship, see practice #10.)
6. Stay Passionate
As the research on adult attachment suggests, sexuality is one of several key elements in happy couples‘ relationships. Is your passion built on a foundation of emotional connection and trust? If so, this can lead you and your partner feel free to give yourselves fully to each other. Your intimate life together can become full and passionate, rather than empty, routine, or damaging. As you don’t take your partnership for granted, and your love-making can become an expression of the wonder and gratitude you feel about your togetherness.
7. Stay Compassionate
Happy couples embrace each other as unrepeatable miracles, staying compassionate with the inevitable human limitations in each partner. This isn’t about overlooking harmful or dangerous behavior; it’s about providing some grace for your spouse to be human. Focus less on how your partner isn’t measuring-up to expectations, and more on being empathic and curious with how he/she is experiencing life. This compassion allows each person to have different feelings and thoughts while still keeping a happy couple connected.
8. Stay Grateful
Do you take time to appreciate your spouse’s qualities and contributions? Every person is worthy of respect and honor, and strong couples thrive when they practice gratitude in their relationship. These happy couples don’t allow each other’s positive qualities and contributions to go unnoticed or unappreciated. This sense of gratitude can protect your relationship from being corroded by resentment and cynicism.
9. Stay Purposeful
Although happy couples nurture their relationship as their primary bond, they also remember that they’re part of the bigger world out there. What can you do to nurture a shared purpose and vision with your partner? Happy couples stay purposeful by devoting themselves to a shared cause of making the world a better place, whether that’s through involvement in their community, a church, or by connecting with a cause.
10. Stay Open to Help
Even the happiest of couples sometimes face challenges that are bigger than they know how to solve. When this happens, the best of couples feel no shame in reaching out for help. If you are in a situation where your problems are getting the best of you, know that with the right help and support, you can get back to the best of all human joys: loving and being loved by each other. Contact us today for marriage counseling in the Denver area!