If you and your partner socialize regularly with other couples, chances are you know at least one pair who always seem to be truly happy in one another’s company. You may wonder just how these people manage to sustain a consistently enjoyable relationship over time, as many couples face challenges that can easily erode positive interactions.
To find the answer, you need only examine the traits of happy couples closely in order to determine the basic, everyday elements that contribute to a harmonious relationship. Learn more about 10 of these traits by following the example of James and Laura, a happily married couple of 18 years, who make it a priority to keep their dynamic strong on a daily basis.
1. Connect With Each Other At Various Times During The Day
Although you and your partner are probably busy with your careers or with family obligations during the day, taking the time to check in with one another every so often shows that your relationship is constantly a strong priority.
In the case of James and Laura, he works as an accountant and she as a teacher, but they’ve established the routine of texting one another to chat at lunchtime and calling one another just as they end their workdays. Let your partner know that he or she is on your mind.
2. Do Nice Things For One Another Even If the Gesture Is Small
Few people have the time or resources to make grand gestures of kindness toward their partners every day, but that doesn’t matter: niceties on a small scale are just as appreciated by happy couples. James enjoys preparing a cup of Laura’s favorite tea as she arrives home from work, and Laura makes sure to record his favorite television program after James leaves for work in the morning. Find the little things that bring your partner joy, and lovingly make these gestures a part of your daily routine.
3. Display Both Physical And Emotional Affection
Couples who are content with one another often demonstrate their feelings with spontaneous physical gestures, such as a hug, a back rub, an affectionate pat on the arm or a quick kiss. These little displays of affection are an organic part of daily interactions for James and Laura, and in addition, they both make each other happy in an emotional sense through compliments, lighthearted exchanges and a willingness to give advice and support. Strive to be affectionate toward your partner on a variety of fronts, and this will come naturally in time.
4. Communicate Effectively In Terms Of Speaking And Listening
Excellent communication is frequently cited by relationship experts as a main trait of highly functional and healthy couples. Know that communication does not only mean expressing yourself well verbally, but also having the ability to listen with all of your attention while your partner does the talking. Laura and James have honed their communication skills throughout the years, taking care to address important issues at times when they are fully engaged with one another and not prone to distraction. They’ve learned how important it is to make each other feel heard and respected.
5. Make Time For Humor And Levity
Life is full of more than enough serious moments to really challenge your happiness as a couple, which means that you need daily humor and levity to bring your relationship into balance. Laugh with your partner often, and you will create many fun moments to look back on and treasure. Laura loves to watch sitcoms with James every night before they fall asleep, and they both try to exchange jokes or tell work stories in an entertaining way as they sit down to talk over dinner.
6. Engage In Quiet Time Both Together And Separately
Just as conversation is key to a happy partnership, so is being able to enjoy one another’s company without feeling the need to say anything at all. Try reading a book alongside your partner in a quiet atmosphere. Solid couples also know that, sometimes, giving one another space to be completely alone is vital for “recharging your batteries” as individuals before reconnecting. James and Laura make sure to alternate quiet time together with quiet time in separate areas of the house for brief periods of their weekly schedules.
7. Discuss Mutual Shared Interests And Plans
Although harmonious couples do not have to have all of their interests in common, it is definitely beneficial to share at least one or two passions that you can discuss and engage in often. Show enthusiasm for your mutual hobbies or desired future plans, and your partner will likely appreciate and reciprocate your efforts. James and Laura, for example, both love to cook, and they spend a good deal of their free time planning meals, shopping for ingredients and preparing recipes along with help from their teenage daughter.
8. Express Love And Similar Sentiments Verbally
After spending a reasonable amount of time as a couple, you and your partner may fall into the habit of taking for granted that your love for each other is recognized without actually saying, “I love you” regularly.
Nothing warms most hearts more than hearing those three little words, so do make the effort to tell your partner how you feel every day. Laura and James always exchange “I love you’s” in the morning before parting ways for work, and they also like to express gratitude for each other verbally often.
9. Bond With Other Household Members
If you and your partner share a home with children, other family members or even pets, make it a practice to strengthen the bonds of your own relationship by creating special moments with your loved ones.
Although our couple’s daughter is often busy with her own activities and friends, she and her parents both value the time that they do spend together each day, taking their dog for a walk or playing a video game. In turn, James and Laura feel closer as parents and as partners.
10. Forgive Any Lingering Resentments From Past Squabbles
Every couple disagrees on occasion, and most often, these differences in opinion are thankfully minor in nature. However, if one or both of you are prone to holding a grudge, resentment from small squabbles may soon build into more serious relationship issues.
In their many years of marriage, Laura and James have learned the value of forgiving one another for skirmishes that do not hold much importance overall. They give each other space for a bit, apologize, forgive and move forward.
With a lot of effort, commitment and love, you and your partner can be as happy as James and Laura are and be the couple whom everyone else in your social circle admires. Be sure to share your tips for living harmoniously, peacefully and joyfully as a couple so that others can benefit!