Developing Happiness As a Couple – Part 1

Happy couples feel joy, appreciation and love, especially for each other and for their families. In this 2-part article, Developing Happiness as a Couple, we look at how to build positive, loving partnerships, and what to avoid.  In Part 1, we look at the “low-lying fruit,” or ways to build a store of goodwill we can savor,  enjoy and draw on when we find our relationship is driving us nuts.

A Happy Relationship Thrives on Gestures of Good Will

Dr. John Gottman spent over thirty years studying what makes marriages work. His research looked at both positive and negative interactions. His findings show that the balance of positive interactions to unpleasant ones needs to be about 30 to 1 for a relationship to thrive.

If that sounds like a lot, remember that smiling at your partner, giving a pat on the shoulder, and similar small gestures count.

How To Build Good Will

Here are some simple, easy gestures that are examples of positive interactions:

  • Laughing together
  • Singing while together while you clean up the kitchen
  • Taking your partner’s side in a complaint, at least initially (instead of being neutral or giving advice)
  • Giving a foot or back rub
  • Snuggling during a TV show
  • Getting up to help with a baby or child when it isn’t “your turn”

Your words matter too.  Saying sincerely what you like about your partner always counts for several points.

Your Daily Routines Can Build Your Happiness As a Couple

Couples who thrive have rituals, for instance:

  • Kisses as they leave and return
  • A short recap of the day in conversation
  • A favorite activity done frequently

Feel free to create your own habits as a couple

Take Time to Know Your Partner’s Thoughts Needs and Dreams

Happiness as a couple grows through knowing your partner’s world:

  • What annoys your partner or causes pain
  • Which foods or simple pleasure your partner loves
  • What are each other’s dream vacations
  • What’s on his or her mind

Knowing each other well leads to feeling understood and loved.

Kindness Matters in Everyday Life

One of the most important conversational patterns is the way couples make simple requests of each other. For happiness as a couple, it’s helpful to ask nicely, rather than complain. While this topic deserves more discussion, you can try it out now to start. Just ask, “Sweetie, when you get a minute, would you…?”

In summary, be nice, have fun with each other, and know the value of small gestures and habits that fill a reservoir of good feelings and memories.   Part 2 looks at trouble to avoid in your effort to build your happiness as a couple.

Bring More Balance, Joy and Love Into your Life

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