Whenever I see a happy couple, especially older ones, who have been together for a long time, holding hands, relaxed, smooching, and having fun, I ask them what is the secret to their long lasting relationship, and their answers are generally the same. And these common factors show up in endless scientific studies and articles about what makes a relationship healthy, long lasting, and happy.
As a psychologist and a couple therapist, I’ve seen these “secrets” play out in a never ending quest to make a relationship meaningful and happy.
So, here are top 7 secrets of love to help you and your partner grow old together, happily.
People with long and happy relationships are friendship based. Studies consistently show that couples who are best friends have deeper and meaningful relationships, with fewer bickering and meanness. So establish a friendship as early as possible. If you can’t be friends and you’re not able to communicate and share easily and naturally, it could be a bumpy road.
This is another common factor among happy couples. People who are willing to open up their minds and try to understand their partner’s perspective, rather than imposing their own unto them, have fewer arguments and disappointments. They are also more willing to compromise, which leads to a harmonious relationship. Try to consider the other person’s feelings, thoughts, and situations, before getting upset. It could make an enormous difference.
Often we don’t listen to the people closest to us. Try active listening, which means that when your partner is talking, all you are doing is just listening to him/her and absolutely nothing else. No silent thoughts drifting to other things. Focus and truly listen. You’ll be amazed what you will hear.
Try an exercise where you and your partner sit across from each other and give 5 minutes each to talk and actively listen. It has done wonders for many couples.
Couples who laugh together seem to stay together. This makes sense. So, seek humor everyday and share, poke fun, and be silly whenever there’s a chance, and laugh out loud. A couple throwing their heads back and laughing together is a beautiful sight.
Have Lots in Common
Opposites may attract initially and it may sound romantic, but in reality most relationships fair better and longer when you have more common interests, values, goals, and views. After the honeymoon period, when the daily routine takes over, life could be calmer when you see eye to eye most of the time.
Have Fun, Fun, and More Fun!
Fun doesn’t take a lot of money or time, even for couples. The fact is, if you’re not having fun with your partner, you are growing more distant than you know and before you know it, you’ll be strangers in many ways. Invest the time and the energy to enjoy each other and have fun. It’s part of working on your relationship. Just make sure it’s fun for both of you.
Enjoy the Relationship.
Don’t think or analyze the relationship to death. Don’t start thinking about the next step/level, robbing yourself of the present one. Just enjoy each other’s company and the adventures that come with it. Give and receive lots of hugs, kisses, and enjoy the ride. The real ones don’t happen that often.
For the Lonely and Heartbroken…
I’ve learned that no relationships, good or horrible are ever a waste. It builds our character, makes us stronger, and prepares us for the real one that awaits us. And when it comes, we won’t miss it, sabotage it, or throw it away. We’ll embrace and appreciate it with all the glory of love. So, don’t fret. The best is yet to come and stay.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!