Relationships

Top 6 habits of happy couples

By: Caitlin O'Hanlon

©iStockphoto.com/Shapecharge Photography Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Shapecharge Photography

Relationships

Top 6 habits of happy couples

By: Caitlin O'Hanlon
No one begins a new relationship with the intention of becoming miserable one day. Rather we forge ahead in our most blissful state with dreams of happiness and love that will last a lifetime. And then the honeymoon phase wears off. But for every couple who hits a rough patch that they just can't find a way past, there is a couple who remains committed and in love for the long haul.

So how do they pull it off? To learn more about what it takes to keep a relationship going strong we turned to psychologist Lesley Lacny, who regularly witnesses the habits that help bring continual happiness to many couples.

1. Communication: Happy couples talk -- a lot
Keeping communication going strong throughout your marriage can be as simple as sitting down with your partner in the evenings and asking how his or her day was.

Not surprisingly, couples who make the effort to put communication at the forefront of their relationship are often the happiest, says Lacny.

Make an effort to talk to your partner daily. It doesn't matter what you discuss, but keeping those lines of communication open will only serve to better your relationship, she explains.

2. Happy couples (really) listen to each other
The best thing you can ever do for your partner is to truly listen to him or her. It allows you to understand your partner so much better.

"Get to know your and your partner's sensitivities and where they come from," says Lacny. "Understanding our 'buttons' or 'triggers' helps make sense of why small issues can turn into big ones," she explains.

Learning what makes your partner tick only serves to ensure that you know how to diffuse those situations, and the fewer problematic situations you face the happier you both will be.
 
Page 1 of 2 -- Discover four more habits of highly happy couples on page 2.
3. Happy couples know when to walk away
Everyone knows the age-old adage that a couple should never go to bed angry. What you might not know, however, is just how important it is to know when to walk away from an argument -- whether it's at bedtime or not. This is something that happy couples navigate very well.

"When we get worked up, we lose our ability to stay grounded and our ability to access our 'logical brain,'" explains Lacny.

"Take a break to help calm yourself and get clear about what your intentions are and how you would prefer to communicate them," she advises. "Come back to the discussion when you are both calmer, and refocus on better understanding the other's perspective versus trying to get your partner to see it your way." 

4. Happy couples are lovers and friends
The strongest partnerships are ones where both individuals place equal emphasis on being their partner's lover and their partner's friend. "Really make an effort to know each other on a daily basis," says Lacny. "Be involved in each other's lives. Find out what's happening with your partner, what their current stresses are and what they are excited about."

Having the person you share the most with so close to you in your life can make a huge difference when it comes to how happy you are as a person and as part of a couple. 

5. Happy couples put themselves in their partners' shoes
People who are part of a happy couple make a habit of putting themselves in their partner's shoes in order to understand why he or she may be feeling a certain way about a specific event or happening within the relationship.

"Focus on developing an understanding of the other person's perspectives and feelings," suggests Lacny. "Empathize with how your partner feels, even if their feelings are different than your own."

6. Happy couples stay positive
A positive attitude is one of the biggest contributing factors in a successful relationship. "These couples don't lose sight of each other's positive qualities, the positive feelings they hold for each other and the positive experiences they have shared together," says Lacny.

Reminding yourself of why you love your partner and of all the great moments you've shared together helps to keep you consistently satisfied with the state of your relationship. It also helps reinforce why the two of you are so great for one another.

We all want our relationship to be the best it can possibly be. We want to be happy and healthy and in love with our partners for the rest of our lives. While this is not always as easy as it seems, never underestimate the power of small changes. By making an effort to communicate, listen and maintain a positive outlook, you can easily improve both your happiness within your relationship and your own overall well-being.

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Top 6 habits of happy couples

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