What do we really need to be happy in a relationship? There are many formulas out there ranging from scientific experts to your mom. Each relationship is unique, but according to Mark Goulston, a well -known psychiatrist who has appeared on Oprah and The Today Show, there are 10 simple habits that any couple can incorporate into their relationship that will make it healthier, happier, and longer lasting.
1. Go to bed at the same time
Though this sounds slightly odd as most couples have probably eagerly gone to bed at the same time to make love, however as the passion starts to evolve into a more comfortable routine some couples are tempted to start going to bed at separate times because one is a night owl and the other is a morning person. Goulston recommends that going to bed at the same time makes all the difference in the quality of sleep and sex life because even if you have different sleep habits your bodies will adjust to match your partner´s.
2. Cultivate common and individual interests
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When the fire of passion wanes to a dull roar, it is common for couples to reach an awkward moment where they realize they have few interests in common. At that point, it´s important for couples to find activities that both enjoy and that can be done together. Besides developing a common interest, partners should be sure to cultivate and not neglect their own interests; this will make each partner more interesting to their mate and prevent one or the other from appearing too dependent.
3. Walk hand-in-hand or next to each other
No one should lead or lag when walking together, instead, happy couples walk comfortably at each other´s side often holding hands. This simple yet deeply bonding action unites a couple.
4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode
Disagreements and fights are bound to happen in any relationship. When a couple can´t reach a resolution or an agreement, they don´t hold a grudge against each other – rather happy couples default to trusting and forgiving.
5. Focus more on the positive rather than the negative
If you look for the negatives in your partner, you´re bound to find something – not because they´re loaded with faults, none of us are perfect, but because you´ve already put yourself in a negative frame of mind. But what if you change that? If you look for positive qualities, you can always find something, too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive and thrive off each other´s positive reinforcement – they become better people because their partners see them as such.
6. Hug or kiss to say whenever you say goodbye and meet up again the work and daily activities
“Our skin has a memory and it can remember love and affection, as well as abuse and lack of affection. Couples who exchange caresses, keep their skin energized and nourished with affection,” says Goulston.
7. Say “I love you” and wish your partner “good morning” every morning
This is like verbally equipping your partner with a shield of patience and love, helping them to better deal with the hectic rush and stress of daily life. It´s also a great way to start the day.
8. Say “goodnight” or give a goodnight kiss every night, regardless of how you feel
If one of those disagreements looks like they´ll be dragging over to the next day, don´t bring your anger to bed. Saying goodnight, signals that though you may be upset with each other at the moment, it will not last and you anticipate overcoming it. It also indicates that you still want to be in relationship and that your relationship can weather a small fight.
9. Check-in with one another throughout the day
Call or send a short message checking on how your partner´s day is going. This is a common habit of happy couples practice. It helps to keep in sync with how your partner is doing – if they are having a bad day, you can manage your expectations or plan something nice for when you meet up after work to help them de-stress.
10. Feel proud to be together
Happy couples are happy to be seen together, affectionately connected – not in an obscene way or to showing off, but rather just saying that they belong with each other.
Habits are small actions that can be done daily, without thought. As Goulston says, “a habit is a discrete behavior that you do automatically and that takes little effort to maintain. It takes 21 days of daily repetition of a new a behavior to become a habit. So select one of the behaviors in the list above to do for 21 days and voila, it will become a habit…and make you happier as a couple.”