Happy couples aren’t perfect the way you might imagine. They fuss and disagree just like everyone else. What’s unique about these couples is that partners are able to step out of negative situations fairly quickly and they do it together. They don’t brood, attack or stonewall each other.
Partners are available and engaged in affirming ways. If there’s a misunderstanding or hurt feelings, they tend to the hurt rather than blame or defend. Partners are able to reach out, connect and repair even when things are difficult.
These aren’t sweeping gestures. They’re tiny, courageous acts of love that have huge impact and bring lovers close.
You know, I’ve never met anyone who wanted to love just a little….or connect every now and then. Human beings want to love and be loved fully. They want to love well.
Loving well requires vigilance, care, and an open heart.
I find it strange that there’s almost nothing out there in the world to prepare people for this.
Consider your own parental role models or the courses you took in school. For most folks…. there’s virtually no role modeling or preparation for the art of connecting and loving well.
Fortunately, we have new, cutting edge research that tells us how people can achieve secure, loving relationships and be measurably healthier and happier.
Loving well takes fearlessness…… maybe….. stepping into fear is a better way of saying it. Either way, loving well is not for the faint of heart. The simplicity of it all is breathtaking because we forget: Simple is Difficult.
For example, loving well will always take you out of your comfort zone. Only you can decide if it’s worth the effort. But why not give it a try?
Here are three things happy couples do (almost) everyday:
1) They Affirm and Support Each Other
There are a few core questions humans ask themselves about their partner and their relationship. Best anyone can tell, in happy couples, the answer is always a non-negotiable and resounding YES! The questions are:
- Do I matter to you?
- Will you be there for me when I need you?
- Can I feel safe and secure with you?
- Can I feel free to be my full, authentic self and still be ok in your eyes?
Anything less than a heartfelt and resounding YES! causes relationship distress. Yes is a word packed with power and lets the other person know they’re valued and important. Answers such as ‘Maybe.’ or ‘I’m not sure.’ are likely to have lasting negative impact.
In happy couples both partners feel safe and can relax into the relationship. They know they can count on their partner in a moment of need.
2) Happy Couples Have ‘Just For Us’ Rituals
People don’t give much thought to daily rituals. Most of the time, these small acts go unnoticed yet they anchor us and give deep meaning to our lives.
Consider the way holiday rituals have the potential to make Thanksgiving or Christmas extra special. Without them holiday celebrations can fall flat.
Daily rituals go way beyond tasks or duties. They’re life enhancing and might include reading special bedtime stories to your children or unique ways of tucking them in at night.
Happy couples have small but important ‘Just for Us’ rituals that enrich their relationship and let partners know they are special and valued.
Here are a few questions that might spark a conversation about daily rituals in your relationship:
How do you and your partner say good bye each morning?
Do you share what your day is going to be like?
How do you greet each other and reconnect at the end of the workday?
Do you have low-stress evening conversations that allow you to take a few minutes to share and up-date your love for each other? Or do you each head over to your favorite electronic device?
Would you consider pouring a glass of wine and cooking together or even listening to music while folding clothes together after the kids go to bed?
3) Happy Couples Express Gratitude and Appreciation
There is nothing more powerful than gratitude and appreciation because it focuses on the good stuff your partner brings to the relationship. It’s the opposite of critiques and criticism. Happy couples lavish their partner with gratitude and appreciation every day and they don’t hold back.
Special note in this regard…gratitude and appreciation apply to admiration as well as tasks completed. Be sure to pay attention to both!
Now take a moment to consider what it would be like for you and your partner to feel just a little bit closer. Then take the exhilarating and life affirming risk. Lean in to the relationship. Connect and see what happens.