I do not believe in forever but I do believe in love and the possibility of keeping a marriage happy for a lifetime.
I have seen it. I have seen how my grandparents kept their love strong and healthy for more than 50 years. I have seen the subtle acts of caring, like preparing each other’s coffee and biscuits together every morning and rubbing essential oils on each other’s legs when rheumatism strikes. I have always admired the sweetness of the two old hearts as they read the bible together, stroll down the seaside at a slower pace while holding each other’s wrinkled hands, and dance just like the good ‘ol days whenever their jam plays on the radio.
They remained this way until mortality finally called the old man.
You see, it is possible to grow happy in love though the years, and it takes two people who are emotionally committed to make a marriage work – even in the modern era’s hustle and bustle.
The ways to achieving a happy, rock-solid relationship aren’t that complex. To begin with, let’s talk about the 11 things couples in happiest relationships say and do to remain madly in love.
Happy couples prioritize verbal communication. You should too. The stories you’ll talk about may be regarding your achievements at work, your little arguments with your siblings, or even the most shallow events that happened throughout the day. The point is you should never put yourselves to sleep without communicating.
If possible, don’t wait until the end of the day when you’re both exhausted to start talking. Call each other every lunch break and free time, or surprise each other. And please, put the gadgets down and pay attention during your “limited” leisure time.
In the beginning of a relationship, couples tend to have a hard time keeping their hands off each other. Later on in a relationship, they can’t seem to keep their hands off their phones or their fully-loaded planners.
Happy couples know that lack of time wreaks havoc with their marriage so they cultivate physical connection whenever possible. Whether it’s a flirtatious activity in bed or a random movie date this weekend, setting aside time to reconnect with your partner keeps the love alive. Even the simplest things like stirring up conversations over morning coffee, walking around the block after being stuffed, and cooking and cleaning together help nurture your marriage.
Everyone appreciates compliments and words of gratitude, so always look for positive things to celebrate and acknowledge. Simple remarks like, “thank you for satisying my tummy with that wonderful dinner, honey” or “have I told you how hot you look on that black suit?” can mean the world to your partner.
A quarrel often begins with a simple misunderstanding. It occurs when one assumes that the other have understood the idea, when the truth is they have not. Want something? Ask. Angry and need some alone time? Tell. Being clingy and need some attention? Demand. Don’t make everything seem more complicated for the both of you.
In other words, happy couples don’t expect their partners to read their minds, period.
Even the happiest couples argue, that is normal. It is how you work through (and not work through) arguments that make the difference. When you find yourselves arguing, never let anger devour you, causing you to hurt your spouse emotionally and even physically. Always maintain the respect.
Laughing isn’t just intoxicating. It is also an vital ingredient to nurturing a relationship. According to Dr. Samantha Rodman, a clinical psychologist in Maryland, when couples get out of the habit of laughing together, their relationship tend to deteriorate and lose its joy and spirit.
Happy couples always find things to talk and laugh about. So instead of saving your funny puns for your friend, let your partner hear them out. Watch funny movies or talk about your funny coworkers, your pet, and the best jokes you can pull off until one of you farts out of laughter.
Whether it’s just a smack or a longer, more passionate (and wet) one, kisses do create magic. Kiss your spouse everytime you say greetings and goodbyes, good mornings and goodnights, and whenever possible. And of course, follow them up with a warm embrace.
I know it’s not good to count these priceless intimate moments but they do happen when you’re too busy, so try to kiss your partner at least twice a day to maintain the spark. And when you kiss, don’t forget to make eye contact.
“It’s sappy and it grosses out the kids, but it works,” says marriage and family therapist Aaron Anderson. Emotionally healthy couples aren’t afraid to express affection to each other even in public. So go ahead and hold hands or wrap your arms around your partner while walking, or snuggle up while you’re watching a film in a dark, cold movie house just like the old times.
Financial stress is considered as one of the major reasons for divorce. Couples either fight over money issues constantly or not argue at all until the problem has gotten so much worse. Either way calls for a big relationship wreck.
Never let financial stress come between the both of you. Openly talk about your finances, develop a realistic financial plan, and make sure you’re going on the same track.
Words like “divorce”, “annulment”, and “separation” are terms happy couples don’t acknowledge. Instead of thinking about exit strategies, they work on their marriage.
If you want your marriage to work, assume that divorce does not exist. Marriage isn’t like a job where you’d resign after realizing that you’re unhappy with your workplace. You must know what it truly meant to commit.
Okay, this may sound weird and unrealistic but if there’s one surefire way to make your marriage work, that is by putting it on top of your priorities over careers, personal pursuits, and kids. Yes, even kids, because the best gift you’ll give them is the promise of a happy, tight family, lead by their two loving parents.
We’re not saying you abandon these top priorities, but pay attention to the status of your marriage. Acknowledge the factors that can hurt your relationship and stay away from them. Before you make a huge decision, always ask, “is this aligned with my priorities, or rather. OUR priorities?”
Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for The Relationship Room , a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counseling and therapies for couples and families. When she’s not using her pen in writing self-help articles focused on love, dating, and relationships, she spends her time creating poems and screenplays, painting, and making music.