The secret to a happy relationship isn’t intense passion or great sex or financial stability. In fact, it’s a little simpler than that.
The secret is forming a set of healthy habits that allow you to constantly reinforce how much you love each other’s company.
Of course, the foundations of a good relationship are trust, respect and understanding. But these things are developed over time. The bond you share with your significant other is strengthened by the little things you do each day.
These seemingly trivial things are actually what hold your relationship together and prevent it from falling apart at the seams.
1. Having other activities to do. When you think of a happy couple, you may visualize two people who are snuggling and laughing together. But in reality, it also helps to spend some time apart doing other things. Couples often bring different things into the relationship. What they bring in is dependent on what they do when they’re not together.
Having different interests and sharing their insights with each other allow two people to vicariously expand their horizons through their significant other. Sounds complicated? It’s actually pretty simple.
Take a couple where the woman’s hobby is writing music, while the guy works as an artist. When they talk, they can each mention little facets of their interests, and in turn, it can open their partner’s eyes to that particular topic. It’s like a daily dose of show and tell whenever they start talking about what they’ve been up to while they were apart.
2. Showing appreciation. Simply saying thank you for even the littlest things can be enough to make your partner feel loved and appreciated. Sometimes, you can even up the ante by giving your partner a little treat whenever he/she does something difficult. For instance, when your partner has worked for hours to clean up the garage, you can cook his favorite meal for dinner.
You can even insert your appreciation whenever you’re asking your partner for something. Instead of telling your partner to do something, you can phrase it a little differently. For example, you can say, “Honey, I would really love it if you could please help me move the furniture. It would really make me happy.” Simply changing the words can be enough to make your partner feel like his help would make you happy.
3. Allowing your partner to vent. Every once in a while, your partner may be overwhelmed by stress. In times like this, don’t go naggity-nag-nag on him/her by saying, “I told you so!” Instead, try to be a little more empathetic. Sometimes, all your partner really needs is a person who will listen and understand. Letting off the steam and having an understanding partner around can be enough to help dissipate the stress.
And of course, being a little more stress-free would help your relationship flourish even more. Whenever your partner is stressed out, being welcoming and empathetic shows them that they’re not alone, and that things are going to be okay. It also helps solidify your relationship since you’re helping them out of a rough patch.
4. A little extra effort. Going through the motions as a couple is fine, but adding a bit of effort in the little things you do can make all the difference. It shows your partner that you haven’t settled and gotten too comfortable. Instead, it shows your partner that you want to make them feel even more loved each and every day.
One way you can do this is by adding a personal touch to otherwise typical romantic gestures. Instead of making them the usual breakfast, make heart-shaped pancakes or add a short love note. When your partner gets home after a tiring day, offer him/her a foot massage or a back rub. And when your budget allows, a completely random gift can also brighten up his/her day.
5. Trying not to change each other. When you try to change your partner for the better, it may come off as criticism or as a sign that you’re not completely happy with who they are. If there’s something you want to change about your partner, don’t force it to happen. Instead, show him/her that by changing one of their bad habits, they’re doing it for themselves instead of for you.
For instance, you may want your partner to eat a little healthier. At first, you may think that getting rid of all the bacon and sweets would be the right thing to do. But then, this would just feel like you’re punishing your partner for liking certain unhealthy foods.
Instead, you can open them up to a whole new culinary world of delicious veggies and lean meats. In time, they may decide that these new foods are actually better than the processed stuff they used to love.