We’ve all heard the term ‘happy wife, happy life’, but doesn’t that seem a bit one-sided? How about a happy relationship, where all parties involved feel loved and appreciated? A good, solid relationship needs to be well-rounded, and both partners should be equally happy. So how do we accomplish this? How do we create, nurture, and preserve a happy relationship? Well, I’m going to show you! I’m going to list and thoroughly explain ten healthy habits for a successful relationship so you can feel safe, secure, and happy in your relationship.
1. Set Goals Together
One of the greatest things about a relationship is that you get to do things together! Set common goals so you can climb up to meet them as one. Make plans for the future, go on adventures, and live life to the fullest together! Yes, you should have personal goals for yourself, but there is something so fulfilling about creating dreams with a loved one and seeing them come to pass. It can be something small, like hiking to the top of a mountain together, or it can be something big like buying a house and starting a family. Any goal that is achieved together is one that you can cherish for the entire lifetime of your relationship.
2. Hey, Listen!
Everyone wants to be heard. If your partner has a concern, or just something really important they want to tell you, listen. They will feel appreciated when they know you understand and care enough about them to give your undivided attention. It will also help you connect better with your partner. If you listen to them regularly, you grow closer and learn more about them. Maybe it will give you more to love about them! Take the time to turn off that cell phone, pause the show you’re binge-watching, take them by the hand, look deep into their eyes, and listen. The more they know they can speak openly with you, the more they will feel loved.
This leads me to my next point.
3. Communication Is Key
Communication is key in any relationship. Many arguments are started because of misunderstandings and underlying issues that were never properly brought to the surface and talked about. Here’s a little secret: Your partner can’t read your mind. You may want them to, but they can’t. So if you have an issue or anything you deeply want them to know, communicate it to them. And listen when they communicate back. If you see that something is bothering your partner, reach out and ask them. Don’t let it stew. Help coax them to communicate their thoughts to you so you two can become closer and have an open, honest relationship. No perfect relationship exists, and if you tell me you never get angry at your partner, I’m going to think you’re lying. Don’t be afraid to let out some steam and tell them when you are angry. Just be mature, and talk calmly. Try not to yell too much, and leave the room if it gets too heated. Always resolve whatever problem angered you, forgive, and never go to bed angry. These are all keys to healthy communication and a happy relationship.
4. Tune In!
Tune in to your partner’s needs and desires. This goes along with communication, but in a slightly different way. Combine my two previous points and add a bit of instinct to determine what your partner needs from you. Say they had a bad day. They may not have said that outright, but if you listened and communicated well with them that day, you may have picked up on it. If you see that they’re down, give them a quick hug or some kind words to let them know that you’re there and you heard them. Alternatively, if they seem to have had a really good day full of accomplishments, go all out and compliment their successes and do a little jig! Use your imaginary antenna to zero in on their mood and give the right responses to their situations. They will love you so much more for it.
5. Understanding Love Languages
Everybody shows affection differently. Take, for instance, a cat and a dog. A cat will show its affection by purring, leaving you little presents, and not clawing your arm off when you pet it. A dog, on the other hand, shows affection by barking, wagging its tail, and jumping up on your lap for some sloppy puppy dog kisses. Humans are similarly diverse. Some may show their affection with gifts, while others just want to spend time with each other and snuggle. These different forms of adoration are called love languages! There are five recorded love languages, and those are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch or intimacy, acts of service, and gift-giving/receiving. Find out what you and your partners’ love languages are so you can show your love in the most compatible ways!
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6. Forgiveness Is Freeing
Everybody messes up some times, but if you can’t forgive your partner, you’ll never lose the grudges that are holding you back from a healthy relationship. If you truly care about someone, you will forgive them. A good way to think about it is this: You can love the person even if you don’t love the action that upset you. Separate the two, and try to resolve the issue to the best of your ability while being open and willing to forgive. Your partner will thank you, and you will feel so free from the burden of holding a grudge. Your relationship will last a lot longer once you both learn how to forgive one another.
7. Take Responsibility For Your Actions And Be Honest
Just like you and your partner should forgive each other, you should also take responsibility for the times you are wrong. Forgiveness and taking responsibility go hand in hand. One partner forgives, but in order for that forgiveness to occur, the other partner has to accept the fact that they were wrong and admit it. Don’t point fingers. In the same line of thinking, make sure to always be open and honest in your relationships. A stable foundation for any relationship is trust, and a big part of that trust is admitting when you’re wrong and being honest about it.
8. Give Me Some Space!
Give each other some space a few times a week. Did you know that giving your partner a bit of space every once in a while can actually strengthen your relationship? This doesn’t mean taking a leave of absence, it just means giving your partner some alone time or a breather every once in a while. If you’re together 24/7, it’s hard not to step on toes and eventually cause an unnecessary argument. ‘Me time’ is a must-have in relationships, because everyone needs a bit of time to themselves to relax.
9. Date Night
Just like everyone needs occasional alone time, you also need time together! It’s all about balance. However, when you’re in a relationship spending time together is something to cherish. I know we’re all busy these days, but try to set aside at least one day out of every week that is exclusively for you and your partner. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, but it can be! A date can be anything from a homemade picnic on the living room floor to dinner at a fancy candle-lit restaurant. As long as you spend time with your partner and show them you’re there and you care, it’s a date in my book.
10. Safety and Security
I’ve saved arguably the best advice for last. In any healthy relationship, you want to feel loved, secure, and safe. Never bring violence into a relationship, and always let your partner know that you are there and that you are their safe haven. People have enough problems in their daily lives. Their partners should not be one of them, and they should never feel scared or anxious about being around each other. This is why communication and forgiveness are big factors in my list. Be understanding of one another, and always resolve your differences with calm words, never violent ones. Furthermore, never, never, lay a hand on each other in anger.
I know this all may seem like a lot. Take it step-by-step, and learn from each day. You don’t have to master everything in this list all at once, but try to incorporate at least two or three of these things into your relationship each day and you will start to realize that it is helping your relationship blossom. Everyone wants to have a complete and happy relationship, and I promise that it’s within your grasp! Just take the words I’ve said to heart, and I sincerely believe it will help you and your partner grow stronger, happier, and healthier in the long run. I hope you enjoyed reading this list, and I wish you the best in your relationship endeavors!
—Amy North, relationship expert and author of The Devotion System: For women frustrated with dating and/or struggling to find and keep a quality man.
Wishing you love and happiness.