Five Habits of Happy Couples
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Too many people see happiness as a given or something readymade that strikes only the luckiest of ones. Maintaining this prejudice will significantly increase your chances of not being happy. Why is that? If you see happiness as something coming from above, you can’t control it and you can’t make a choice to be happy.
Do you think that recipes for happiness are naive? Think again; actively pursuing your happiness is especially important for couples, because in a relationship it soon becomes impossible to take without giving in return.
And, if you want your actions to be effective, you need to do them repeatedly, or transform them into habits. Here are some ideas you can implement to enjoy more happiness with your partner:
1. Never hold a grudge.
Besides the positive psychological effect of forgiveness, getting over fights as soon as possible will strengthen your relationship. Why waste energy in pointless nags when you could communicate assertively, say your point once, and then get over it?
Gunnysacking is one of the most harmful habits in a relationship or a marriage. Instead of dumping all the contents of your mental bag out of the blue, discuss issues when they happen and agree to disagree if there is no other way out.
2. Focus on the good things.
This piece of advice is closely related to the previous one. If you want to find something bad about your partner or your relationship, you always will; if you want to find something good, you always will, too. It depends on which side of the glass you want to look at – the full or the empty one. And there’s one more thing to keep in mind: appreciating people for their qualities makes them even better, while keeping track of their errors makes them worse.
3. Take a break from technology.
Have you ever felt that you competed for your partner’s attention with their smartphone or tablet? While you are checking your email or spending time on Facebook, your partner is waiting for you to “return” to the present moment and is growing increasingly frustrated. By the time you decide to put down the phone, they will have lost their patience and interest and you will often feel out of step with your significant other.
The cure? Just put the phone and other distractions away and focus entirely on your partner.
4. Be affectionate.
It’s common for people involved in a long term relationship to complain about things not being as exciting as they used to be in the beginning. What you might forget is that things are exciting only if you keep them this way. Happy couples maintain intimacy and affection – they say “I love you” to each other every day, they kiss when they say goodbye, and they keep making surprises, like small gifts and funny love notes.
5. Do things together.
“They have a lot of things in common” is one of the most frequent phrases used to describe a happy couple. The truth is that these common activities or hobbies are not necessarily present from the beginning – wise couples learn how to cultivate them.
Passion makes your partner very attractive in the beginning, but as the wildfire transforms into a peaceful, warm flame, you’ll need to find some interests in common to keep you together. It’s impossible not to agree on something that could interest both of you, with a little goodwill.
Do you find it hard to commit to these healthy habits?
Turn them into important objectives and even add tasks to your agenda or time management app, like going out with your spouse, signing up for a class together, or remembering to calm down when you start arguing. Happiness doesn’t come out of nowhere – you need to create it together!
By the Couple Clinic, a company of relationship therapists in Winnipeg (www.winnipegcouplesclinic.ca).