Relationship happiness looks different for all people. What works for you and your partner may not work for someone else. If your idea of happiness is sitting home on a rainy Saturday watching Netflix shows and drinking copious amounts of coffee with your partner, then do that. If you want to travel, go to a sporting event or start a creative project together — that is fine, too.
Here are some ways to maintain a happy relationship that will ensure longevity and strengthen your overall bond with your partner:
Know What You Want — And Don’t Deviate From Your Present Course.
Ruminate about what makes you happy. Know your triggers of unhappiness and other positive and negative behaviors. When you’re unhappy, you can’t have a happy relationship with your significant other. It could cause tension that leads to unwanted arguments. Know what you want and expect out of your partner (or a potential mate). There is give and take in each relationship, but if you have deal breakers, you will want to be attuned to them.Practice strategies to manage your positive and negative emotions.
Always Continue To Work On Your Relationship.
Kelly Campbell, PhD, revealed that one secret for a long marriage is the need to commit to making it work, no matter what. “The only thing that can break up a relationship are the partners themselves,” she added.
You could still be in your honeymoon stage or married for 30 years. Always be committed to working on your relationship. Communicate well and often. If you push issues under the rug, they will stay there and continue to pile up until they are unmanageable. Talk about them when they happen or when you are ready. And on the flip side, don’t be afraid to talk about the positive aspects of your coupled or individual lives. Compliment your significant other and talk about what you both want for the future. If you have children, be upfront and honest about parenting goals and objectives.
Make Time For Each Other.
When you have work, family and other obligations, it could be difficult to carve out some time with your partner. Always make time for each other, even if you have to schedule it. Make reservations at your favorite fancy restaurant, do a shared hobby, talk about conspiracy theories in “Game of Thrones,” go for a walk, etc. Don’t just watch TV together and call it a day. Do something that engages both of you and causes you to have actual conversations about actual things going on in our lives.
Clinical psychologist and author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Dr. Sue Johnson explained “that the secret to loving relationships and to keeping them strong and vibrant over the years, to falling in love again and again, is emotional responsiveness.”
Don’t Make Your Partner Change.
All of us have our quirks and personality traits. Your partner may leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight or piles of clothes on the bedroom floor. On the other end, you could leave your coffee cups on your home office desk or never take out the trash. Each of you will have strengths and weaknesses. Stop trying to change your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. If something bothers you, don’t argue about it. Just go ahead and pick up the clothes or wash the dishes. Your partner will likely notice and take initiative with those things — or help you with things that you don’t do around the house.
“Life tends to throw some unexpected curveballs along the course of a relationship. The one quality that consistently helps couples through adversity or tragedy is mutual respect,” explained Elisabeth J. LaMotte, LICSW, MSW.
Be Honest, Always.
Sometimes, this can be challenging. Having hard conversations about your relationship or how you are internally feeling can be something you may want to avoid. Always be honest with your partner. Chances are, you will be able to work through any issues and eventually find common ground with a solution that works for you both. Be respectful and always mean it when you say, “I love you.”
If you’re finding yourself in a less than a happy relationship or want to build an even stronger foundation for your current happy relationship, consider talking with someone. Talk with a licensed mental health professional.