The Habits of a Healthy Relationship: What’s the Secret to a Long and Happy Marriage?

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When it comes to relationships, most people are looking for the secret to a long and happy marriage. The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are some habits that have been shown to be beneficial in healthy relationships. In this article, we will discuss six habits of couples who have been together for a long time and are still happy!

Stay Connected

Couples who want to stay together for the long haul know that it’s the little things that matter. They find small ways to stay physically and emotionally connected, even on the busiest days. That might mean going in for a nice, long hug, listening attentively while your partner is venting (not looking at your phone, ahem) or offering words of affirmation and encouragement.

“Emotional connection is the glue in our relationships,” marriage and family therapist Jennifer Chappell Marsh recently told the HuffPost. “Over time, these small interactions build into a deep sense of trust and intimacy that keep couples happy and together.”

So if you’re wondering what you can do to improve your relationship, start with the little things. They’ll make a big difference in the long run. One habit that is common in healthy relationships is communication.

Couples who communicate openly and honestly with each other are more likely to stay together. They understand each other’s needs and wants, and they are able to resolve conflicts in a constructive way.

Check-in Regularly

Couples who have lasting relationships make it a point to have regular check-ins with each other. These check-ins can be a quick nightly chat before bed or a more in-depth yearly conversation. They provide the opportunity for both partners to be mentally prepared to explore, resolve and plan.

According to marriage and family therapist Spencer Northey, an emotional connection is key in keeping couples happy and together. The small interactions that come from regular check-ins build trust and intimacy over time.

Couples who invest time in their relationship through these conversations often find themselves with a strong, lasting bond.

Say You’re Sorry, And Mean It

Couples are bound to step on each other’s toes from time to time – it’s inevitable. But, according to psychologist Ryan Howes, it’s important to humble yourself and take responsibility for your role in your partner’s pain.

A half-assed attempt at an apology – “I’m sorry your feelings were hurt” – isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you should aim for an apology that expresses empathy for your partner, takes responsibility for your wrongdoings, and shows that you’re working to change the behavior.

Here’s what Howes suggests: “I see that you’re hurt, and it kills me to see you in this pain. I take full responsibility for my part in this, and I’m taking these steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Couples who can communicate openly and work together to solve problems are more likely to have a long-term, successful relationship.

Don’t Hold Grudges

Couples who go the distance don’t hold grudges and let resentments fester. They discuss it, work through it and move forward, according to psychologist and sex therapist Janet Brito.

Couples that are able to do this are better equipped to maturely handle future conflicts, said Steve Howes, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. “There are some folks who seem to be grievance collectors, who hold on to every relational sin from their partner and wheel them out for the big arguments, especially if they’re losing,” he said.

By not holding grudges, couples can focus on the current issue at hand and work together to find a resolution instead of getting caught up in a past disagreement.Brito said that spouses who don’t hold past transgressions over the other’s head understand that “mistakes are lessons learned and not reasons to shame or punish each other.” When mistakes occur, they know that they are still loved and valued. This allows them to have a more positive outlook on the relationship as a whole.

Couples that can move on from fights without holding a grudge are more likely to have a lasting relationship.

Show You’re Thinking of Each Other

Couples who have been together for a long time know the importance of regularly expressing how much they mean to each other. It doesn’t have to be some big, romantic overture – it could be something as simple as sending a text during the workday to thank your partner for packing you a lunch you enjoyed, or picking up a bottle of wine they were raving about on your honeymoon.

As therapist Juan Olmedo explains, it’s all about being thoughtful and spontaneous – letting your partner know that you were thinking about them and that you appreciate them. And there’s no need for reciprocation – it’s just a nice way to show how much you care.

Have Uncomfortable Conversations

“Couples who stay together have uncomfortable conversations where they share difficult emotions,” Chappell Marsh said. “When couples feel their expression of distress is seen and heard, their bond strengthens, they become more resilient and their capacity for overall happiness increases.”

Couples who avoid these conversations may seem to be avoiding conflict, but in reality, they are doing the exact opposite. Couples who communicate openly about the tough stuff are building a foundation of trust and intimacy that will help them weather any storm.

So next time you’re feeling tongue-tied, take a deep breath and start talking — it just might be the best thing you ever do for your relationship.

Bottom Line

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how to have a successful relationship, research has shown that there are some habits that are beneficial for couples who want to stay together and be happy. In this article, we’ve outlined six of those habits.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your relationship, try implementing some (or all!) of these habits into your daily routine. And if you need help getting started, don’t hesitate to reach out for advice from an expert!

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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.