Sure, fireworks are great, but that's not what keeps love and marriages strong and happy for years. These 10 simple things do.
10 Things Happy Couples Do
1. Let Love Grow
If you think the heart-pounding rapture of a new relationship is what
long-term love is like, you're in for a surprise. Couples who start out
thinking the fiery intensity of new romance will last forever lose 50%
of their passion for each other after just 18 months, according to
Harvard psychologist Robert Epstein, PhD.
The couples who grow happier
over time are the ones who understand that love evolves; becoming
calmer, deeper, richer, and more powerful. Allowing love to change, lets
2. Play Nice
The happiest couples do something other couples often don't: They're kind to each other. It's not about nightly back rubs and offers to do the dishes, either (although those never hurt). Happy partners simply don't get mean or nasty with each other, even during arguments.
couples treat each other like best friends," says David Penner, PhD,
assistant clinical director of the Gottman Relationship Institute.
"They're nice to each other across the board. That's what builds loving
3. Do This in Bed
Surprise: Fooling around is not tops on the list of the most important things happy couples do in bed.
a few minutes chatting every night before sleep lets you catch up, make
plans, and discuss problems in a quiet, tender setting explains University of Minnesota family social science professor Paul Rosenblatt, PhD,
4. Double Date
for two are cozy, but dinners for four are just as important in a
relationship. Bonding with other couples actually strengthens your own
relationship, according to a 2010 study at Wayne State University. Having open, intimate conversations with other two-somes reinforces your own sense of togetherness. Being close to them makes you feel closer to each other.
5. Face Your Differences
couples have their differences, and the more you have, the greater the
seeming threat to your relationship, according to Dr. Epstein.
how you handle them that really matters.
Happy couples bring their differences out into the open rather than denying or dismissing them.
"Put issues on the table, and look for ways you can work around them,"
he says. "The process of examination and renewal makes the threats
6. Skip Some of the Small Talk
who have deep conversations are far likelier to be happy than couples
who always keep it light, according to a 2010 study in the journal
Researchers report that the happiest couples have twice as many substantive discussions and far fewer superficial ones -- as the unhappiest couples.
7. Be Equally Committed
you're both pretty lazy when it comes to working out your problems, you
can be just as happy as partners who put in a lot of effort. What
matters is that you both feel you devote the same amount of care and
effort-- a lot or a little -- to keeping your relationship strong,
according to a 2011 study in Psychological Science.
Happiness doesn't necessarily depend on how intense your level of commitment is, but on how mutual it is.
8. Soften Up
It's impossible to avoid arguments entirely. In fact, they happen frequently. But the happiest couples keep conflicts from becoming confrontations. They soften their approach when bringing up tough issues. And neither
feels as if one of them always gets his or her way. Each occasionally
yields to the other.
9. Accentuate the Positive
couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and
about each other as negative ones, even when they are arguing says Dr. Penner.
Oh, it's not always easy to be nice but it pays off by solidifying a healthy bond between you.
10. Hang In There!Slogging through bad times can make both of you happier and the relationship stronger than ever.