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6 Signs You’re in a Happy, Lasting Relationship
Are you in a happy, lasting relationship?
With Valentine’s Day reminders almost everywhere you turn, it’s not hard to keep your thoughts on love this season. But what does it take to keep love alive and burning in a happy, lasting relationship? Happily, marriage counsellors and relationship psychologists have studied certain habits that couples in happy, lasting relationships have in common. Here are 6 signs that yours is a love that will last.
1. You Intentionally Connect Emotionally
World-renowned researcher and author Dr. John Gottman says that couples periodically reach out for their partner’s affection, attention, or support, and happy couples turn towards each other during these bids for connection. “Over the course of your relationship, every little connection you make is deposited into your relationship’s Emotional Bank Account,” writes Dr. Gottman in “7 Signs Your Relationship Will Last.” “So when conflicts do happen, and you’ve invested with lots of positive deposits, you can pull from your emergency savings of love to maintain trust and connection.” Giving your partner your full attention and staying present with them whenever they try to connect, whether by answering a question about your day, or agreeing to do a household chore together, are ways to intentionally connect.
2.You Do Little Thoughtful Things for Each Other
Clinical psychologist and marriage and relationship counsellor Dr. Jack Ito tells us that it’s not the big, sweeping romantic gestures that pave the way to long-lasting love. Instead, he advises couples to express love in little acts of thoughtfulness. “Little things are actions which require just a little more effort than usual”, he explains. “They don’t take much time or money, but they show that we are thinking about our partner even when he or she isn’t around.” Making the effort to perform small acts of love, such as calling or texting her during the day, or bringing him a drink, shows your partner that you are thinking of them, and lets them know that you value them in the midst of humdrum everyday life.Jiayi and Javi’s Lush Botanical Wedding at Masons at Gillman Barracks by Bloc Memoire Photography
3. You Fight Healthily
Couples in happy, lasting relationships aren’t the ones who never fight, but those who use conflict as a way to understand and love each other better. “Healthy conflict is the entryway to better understanding our spouse,” writes Dr. Greg Smalley in Fight Your Way to a Better Marriage. “The moment we get into an argument, there is that open door to discover our spouse’s most important feelings and needs.” After cooling down, discussing why you were upset with each other and how your partner made you feel allows you to see each other’s point of view. Opening up about your feelings helps your partner understand what you need, and you might be surprised to learn that the reasons behind their anger differ greatly from your assumptions.
4. You Know That Love Takes Effort
“I couldn’t help falling in love.” “We were just meant to be!” The phrases we often use to describe love make relationships sound like they should be as easy and natural as breathing. When things get tough, we start thinking, “We wouldn’t be fighting if we were true soul mates.” Or, “He doesn’t get me. He can’t be The One.” But the couples who stay in love know that love requires effort. Relationship coach Kyle Benson says, “So many relationships turn their hot and passionate fire of love into ashes, just because the couple believes that being in love means never having to do anything demanding. A no-effort relationship is not a great relationship; it’s a doomed relationship. It takes effort to communicate and understand each other. Love takes work. It takes work to expose and resolve conflicting beliefs and expectations.” Having the right mindset and loving intentionally is key to a happy, lasting relationship.Victoria and Kris’ Breathtaking Bali Wedding with an Overwater Aisle by Terralogical
5. You Focus More on the Positive
Couples who focus on what their partners did right, instead of what they did wrong, have a happier relationship. In his article “10 Habits of Happy Couples,” psychologist Dr. Mark Goulston explains, “If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find something. If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something, too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.” If you focus on remembering what your partner did to hurt you, your mind accumulates the “evidence” that you’re unhappy until it warps even your current perspective of your relationship, as Kyle Benson explains in “The Story of Us. The Difference Between Happy and Unhappy Couples.” Conversely, happy couples focus on the positive aspects of the relationship, leading to happier feelings and more loving actions towards their partner.
6. You Do New Things Together
Best-selling author Dr. Helen Fisher and neuroscientist Dr. Lucy Brown’s research led them to conclude that: “Doing challenging, exciting, new things with your partner has proven both in and out of the lab to be one of the single most effective ways of keeping the spark alive.” Regularly planning to go on adventures together, whether it’s trying a new restaurant, or diving off a cliff, sustains the romance in your relationship. While it might not sound romantic, research shows that your brain associates the excitement of the novel activity with your feelings for your partner when you do something new together, leaving you with higher feelings of satisfaction with your relationship.
Credits: Feature image of Eve and Scott’s Bright and Cheery MacRitchie Reservoir Wedding Solemnisation by Andri Tei Photography
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