Falling in love is easy, but relationships take work. Most people and couples can agree with that statement. There isn’t any set formula to determine if a relationship will last or if a person you are in love with is “the one” to spend the rest of your life with. While there are certain traits happy couples have, there are also certain rituals couples do to keep that happiness.
Here are 10 things happy couples do to strengthen their relationship every night.
Traits of a happy couple
A survey done by E-Harmony in 2019 states that 83% of American couples are happy together. The survey also noted that the happiest couples were ones who were very similar to each other. These are the same traits they shared:
- Similar personality traits
- Held similar political views
- Both had been seeking a meaningful relationship from the start
- Are faithful to each other /monogamous
- Have equivalent or related education
- Open communication is strongly believed in
- One party is not more dominant over the other
- Tended to be of either the Millennial or Gen Z age groups
- Stay knowledgeable and aware of current events
- Maintain good health
- Have up to 2 children
Other studies share some of these traits and also show some changes over the years.
According to a 2007 Pew Research study, the factors that make a marriage work included:
- Healthy and happy intimacy
- Sharing chores
- Solid income
- A decent home to live in
- Same or similar religious beliefs
- Shared interests
- Identical or similar political views
What was interesting was when the 2007 poll was compared to a study in 1990; certain elements showed a definite shift.
- The desire to have children to aid a relationship has declined over the years. From 1990 to 2007 it went down by 27 points.
- The importance of shared responsibility in the household had increased by 15 points from 1990 – 2007.
Traits that can destroy a relationship
On the opposite end of the spectrum, some traits identified could end even the best of relationships. In an article in PsyBlog, Professor John Gottman is credited with isolating those very traits from his 40 years of analyzing all types of relationships.
Per the article, he has isolated 4 distinct behaviors:
Repeated criticism points at the other person as if they somehow are “less than” or flawed in some manner. The type of criticism he is speaking of is one that isolates a personal trait of an individual, as opposed to pointing out a habit that could use some change.
For example: Telling a person, “You’re always on your phone, so you’re never there to listen to me.” There may be a legitimate complaint in that one person should put down the phone when another is trying to communicate. That doesn’t necessarily point to them not ever being emotionally available for the other.
Contempt can be shown in a variety of manners. By mocking the other person’s interests, calling them insulting names, mimicking them, being overly sarcastic, or discounting their opinion or expression of emotions. Professor Gottman reportedly stated that this one trait almost always led to divorce.
Being defensive often is a sign of not taking responsibility and making excuses for mistakes. It is viewed even worse if that defensiveness includes pointing out the other person’s mistakes without owning your own. A relationship requires teamwork, cooperation, and partnership. If one party is excusing their behavior while pointing fingers at the other, there is no togetherness in making things work.
4. Stonewalling or the silent treatment.
Once communication or any form of acknowledgment of the other person ceases, the relationship is at a standstill and pretty much over. Communication and the desire to connect is the foundation of a relationship. Without it, there cannot be any moving forward.
10 things happy couples do to strengthen their relationship
Happy Couples Do These 10 Things to Strengthen the Relationship
As stated above, connection and communication are essential to maintaining a relationship. We all get busy in life between jobs, errands, cleaning, children, health issues, and other responsibilities. It can be easy to slip into your own world and lose touch with each other. This is one area that couples agree requires work to keep that connection, appreciation, and love shown to each other. Making the commitment to do certain things each night to strengthen their relationship is one way to ensure each other’s hearts are still touched.
1. Reliving a funny event that they shared in the past.
A study in 2006 showed that couples who reminisced about a past situation, which was funny, showed higher relationship satisfaction that went beyond just mood enhancement from laughter. Within the study, previous studies are listed demonstrating that couples who laugh together and where each party demonstrated humor in the day, was among the top 3 reasons why they were satisfied in their marriage.
2. Share in a typical bedtime preparation ritual.
Usually, people have things they do before they get into bed, such as brush their teeth, put out their clothes for the morning, take a shower, shave, and wash off makeup. Happy couples will choose to do one or two of these at the same time as the other is doing their thing. Think of the cartoon where the man is sitting on the toilet, and the woman is brushing her teeth. These little self-care rituals that people do become more intimate when shared with a partner.
3. Share about each other’s day.
Sometimes couples don’t have the time to share much about each other’s day until bedtime. There may be children to take care of, dinner to make, laundry to do, or other commitments. Making a sincere effort to reach out to your partner and both share about your day can help relieve stress as well as make their work world not seem so far away.
4. Keep arguments or heated discussions out of the bedroom.
The bedroom should be your sanctuary away from everyday life, a place you both know you can come together and just be with each other. Not only should arguments be resolved before going to bed, but they should be resolved outside of the bedroom in order to keep it a safe place to be together.
It genuinely is the little things in life that can show someone that they are special, important, and loved. Prepping the coffee pot, making lunch for the next day’s work, filling the humidifier, putting out the toothbrush or shaving gear, or running a hot bath. Choosing something that will make the other party’s life just a teensy bit easier shows a lot of care.