7 Habits of Happy Couples

We’ve all seen those annoying couples walking hand in hand, gazing into each other’s eyes, feeding chocolate Danish chunks into each other’s mouths as they snicker with childish glee. Sickening? Perhaps. But what if they actually know something we don’t? One of the most important things I have learned while researching the idea of the “happy couple” is that sometimes you have to open yourself up to the idea that good relationships are not handed over on a silver platter, but rather earned through a conscious effort of ritual and rules.

1. Fill Their Love Cup at Least Once a Day

Couples therapist and author Tina Tessina reminds us that happy couples are sometimes more about ritual than natural intuition. In other words, we can’t all be Romeo and Juliettes, but we can follow a daily program designed to keep our love cups from running on empty (this is when trouble begins). Such daily love bites may include curling up on the couch together, walking the dog as you share the day’s events, or leaving the occasional “love-minder” post-it note in random places around the house.

2. Be Curious

Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, is by far one of the top selling books of all time, and for good reason. It works. One of the best ways to make a connection with another human being is to be honestly interested in them. We all began our relationships intrigued by our partner, but the stress of life can sometimes nudge us into forgetting to foster that curiosity. If you ever find yourself at a loss for words, let your curiosity take over and watch the conversation flourish.

3. 10-Second Rule

Whenever you’re in a disagreement and you can feel your inner kettle boiling, remember to give yourself at least ten seconds to think about what you’re about to say and the consequences that might follow. We often say hurtful things out of anger that we don’t really mean, but which have a lasting effect on our relationships.

4. If You Must Argue… Do it Right

Happy couples have ground rules when it comes to arguments. Unless you’re versed on the delicacies of debate, many people allow their emotions to get the best of them, saying and doing things that could do more damage than good. A few rules to live by are to start and end every argument on a positive note; listen; respect your partner; stay on topic; ask questions; compromise; and use the word “I” rather than “you” to avoid putting your partner on the defensive.

5. Two Year Rule

Studies have shown that the majority of couples (approximately 86 percent) who choose to stay together and work through their differences emerge in happier, more fulfilling relationships. It has even been suggested (by author Mike McManus) that over half of divorces could be curbed by giving couples the opportunity to cool down and work things out over the course of up to two years. McManus theorizes that one of the greatest faults to divorce is that they’re just too easy to get. All that’s needed is one partner to make a hasty decision, and a marriage can be dissolved in a matter of weeks under “no fault.”

6. If You Don’t Have Time to Walk the Walk… Talk the Talk

Couples argue about sex (a lot). The stereotypical scenario is that she thinks he wants it too much, and he thinks she wants it too little. Regardless of where you stand on how much you do it, one way to satisfy both sides is to engage in vocal sex each day. This is simply sexy talk, reminding your partner of how sexy and irresistible you find them, and possibly a few promises of what you plan to do to them later in the week. The important thing is that it lets the partner know you are thinking about them. That, along with the build-up of expectation, can leave couples satisfied until the next bout of horizontal mambo.

7. Daily Weather Checks

Happy couples make time for each other in what they call “daily weather checks.” These could be anything from a short e-mail, to an hour lunch away from the office. The idea is keep up with each other, so that even when apart, you’re still connected on some level. This minimizes the scenario of one partner coming home in a solemn mood after work, and the other not knowing if it’s because something bad happened, or because they’re not excited to see them. Keeping contact throughout the day minimizes the chance of these moments putting a crutch on a perfectly good evening.

What are your favorite tips for keeping partnerships solid?

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10 thoughts on “7 Habits of Happy Couples

  1. Pingback: 10 Ways to Be Truly Happy in Your Job | California Psychics Blog

  2. alice1

    I love your article Eric. And Paige, you made my day. I have been in a wonderful relationship for 9 months. A month ago, he lost his job. It seems like his feelings for me have changed (at least in the “desire” department). We both have always treated each other with respect and have been very much in love. I have been miserable for the past few weeks, though, since he seems to have lost interest in me. He still calls and sees me, but is not interested in long kisses or sex. Last weekend, he didn’t even want to spend the night (he always does on Saturdays). I really need that closeness, even if it doesn’t lead to sex. I didn’t make a big deal out of it, even though I feel hurt and scared.

    Paige, you have given me hope that the feelings and desire will come back. It’s hard to imagine that things progressed to the level they were at until a month ago, and then he would change how he feels without anything significant (other than the loss of his job) to cause that. It’s hard for me to not take it personally and worry that it’s me. I also don’t think there is anyone else. All I can do is be loving and supportive and not pressure him with any expectations. With the economy being as it is, it may be a while before he finds something. I hope our relationship can weather this storm. I love him with all my heart and want things to work out. Thanks to all of you!

  3. paige

    Eric, this is a wonderful article that all couples should read. Think of all the divorces that could be prevented if couples had implemented even one or two of these concepts. Also, couples need to know that, even in the happiest marriages, there is an ebb and flow of desire. When the chemistry was there in the first place, it will always come back if the two people have maintained respect for each other. In other works, the tide goes out, but it always comes back in. Couples should not be so quick to throw in the towel, because they might be letting go of the best thing that ever happened to them, just because there was a temporary problem.

    With gratitude,
    Paige ext. 9158

  4. Pingback: 7 Habits of Happy Couples — A Celebration of Women

  5. dmone

    you do not truly love if you do not fight, caring enough to fight about something in its self shows each other how much love is in a relationship, keeping a fight going is just anger. if you cant fight and make up there is bigger issues at hand. talking is the key to happiness. dont say things you dont mean…things that we say now leave a scare for years to come, maybe even a life time! but thinking and and talking leads to much better life and love… blessed be.

  6. Jacqueline

    Hi Eric,
    Once again fabulous article, too often I have seen where couples don’t let certain, insignificant issues go, often, it is better to let the small things go, in the long run it doesn’t really matter, is what truly matters, is the love that the two of you have, it can be very rewarding, when you focus on all the good that the two have shared.

    Blessings and Big Hugs!
    Jacqueline x9472

  7. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    #4 is so important that I chose to elaborate a bit more ……

    ……I never heard my GrandParents resort to calling each other names, or resort to cussing and swearing at each other…..even during the most heated discussions they maintained a certain level of civility and respect.
    The most I ever heard was when my GrandMother told my GrandFather that he was being thick-headed and stubborn and he saying that she was being silly……but there was humor thrown in with it too. It was like watching best friends disagree. And they always reached a compromise…..the discussion/debate ended when they got up and walked away from the kitchen table.
    But it never got ugly and turned to cussing, and swearing.

    I think all couples should get one or two relationship counseling sessions in before they move in together or marry…..because it would teach them how to comunicate their differences like mature adults and teach them how to ” disagree or argue productively ” and still remain loving team-mates and best friends.

    You don’t want to ” go to war ” with somebody you love…..your goal should be a mutual understanding the others’ point of view and compromise.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

  8. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Another excellent article by Eric……

    # 4 is the most important point I feel…….argue the right way !!!!!

    It’s only a debate….not world war. The goal is not to win…the goal is understanding the other persons’ point of view and reach compromise that both sides can live with.

    I’ve said it before, my GrandParents & GreatAunt raised me….my GrandParents celebrated their 50 wedding anniversary and then some.
    Every friday night, after dinner and over coffee, my GrandParents would discuss their issues, sometimes rather loudly, but after they reached a compromise or conclusion…. when they got up from the kitchen table….they were friends and team mates once again and had each others’ back.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500


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