If you and your spouse want to be a happier couple, there are some things you can learn to do. Dr Mark Goulston, who is a psychiatrist, speaker and best selling Author, has come up with ten habits that distinguish happy couples from unhappy ones.
In this article, I share Dr Goulston’s ten habits and my thoughts about them. I am convinced that if you intentionally and deliberately develop and include some of these habits into your relationship, they would produce a more loving atmosphere and a happier married experience.
1.) Happy Couples go to bed at the same time. Now I know that this may not be possible all the time for many couples. But the point is that happy couples like to feel each other’s bodies as often as possible. Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t wait to go to bed with each other to make love? Happy couples try hard to keep that habit going. They try to go to bed at the same time, even if one partner has to wake up later to do things while the other partner is asleep.
2.) Happy couples cultivate common interests. As much as it is important to maintain interests of your own, it is important to find things the two of you can do together. Happy couples find out what their partners love doing and put in the effort to like it too. For instance, I like action-packed films, but my wife prefers romantic ones. Each time I want to watch an action film, she joyfully joins in and seems to like them as much as I do. I appreciate her for that, and I reciprocate with the same enthusiasm.
3.) Happy Couples walk hand in hand or side by side. Walking hand in hand is not just for young lovers. Happy couples keep that habit alive all through their marriage life. They do it because they are still very much in love with each other and they don’t mind who knows it or who sees them express it.
4.) Happy Couples make trust and forgiveness their default mode. Many things can go wrong in a marriage that eventually leads to disappointment, hurt or conflict; but the way those things are framed in the minds of the couple is what determines the impact they would have on the marriage. Happy couples learn to deal with their issues in a positive way – by trusting and forgiving each other. Unhappy couples believe the worst of each other and generally manifest what they believe.
5.) Happy Couples focus more on what their partner does right than what he or she does wrong. If you’re looking for things your partner does wrong, you will find a handful. That’s because we are all flawed and broken to some extent. Unhappy couples complain about what they don’t have. They are angry with everyone because their cup is ‘half empty’. Happy couples, on the other hand, pray about the negatives, but focus on the positives. They are excited and grateful that their cup is at least ‘half full’ – and they trust that with time, it would get even fuller!
6.) Happy Couples hug or kiss each other as soon as they met or return from an outing. Tenderly touching and hugging are languages of love. When we are hugged we feel loved. When we are not touched or hugged we feel abandoned or neglected. Happy couples know that tender and affectionate hugs inoculate their partner’s soul against feelings of neglect.
7.) Happy Couples say things like “I love you” or “Have a great day” every morning. Happy couples know that words are powerful; so they use positive words to express their feelings and their desires to each other.
8.) Happy Couples say “Good night” every night, regardless of how they feel. This is their way of saying they still value the relationship irrespective of their pain. It also shows they believe that what they have is bigger than any annoying incident or argument.
9.) Happy Couples do a “weather” check during the day. Happy couples call each other once or twice during the day, just to check up on how their spouse is doing. They know that a simple thing like that says volumes to their spouse. It can even prepare the atmosphere for a more romantic evening.
10.) Happy Couples are proud to be seen with their partner. They are a team and are not ashamed of each other. Their affection keeps them beautiful and youthful. They are not necessarily showing off, but rather just saying that they belong to each other.
Happy couples are grateful for what they have, and often want the same for other couples. If you learn what happy couples do and start to incorporate them into your own relationship, the chances are that you will see an increase in your level of marriage satisfaction. There is no reason why your marriage can’t be happier and why you can’t join the breed of happy couples in a society riddled with marriage failure.
By Tony Peters