This post is about how to improve a relationship whether you are at the beginning stages or been married for 50 years and counting. We all have our imperfections, it’s how we deal with it that matters.
Before we get into what makes a happy and loving relationship – we should talk a little about the struggles and things every couple should try to avoid.
What Not To Do In A Relationship
Do Not Mind Read
Communication is what keeps relationships healthy, strong, and long lasting. Your partner cannot read your mind, and therefore you will have to thoroughly explain things to them on a daily basis.
Do No Play Hot Potato With Your Feelings
You can’t throw your feelings at someone else and make them take responsibility. You must own your emotions.
Do Not Aim To Win
If you win a fight, then the relationship loses. And believe us, nobody wins if the relationship doesn’t win.
Asking Your Partner To Change
Asking your partner to change something about them, consider this a red flag. You may be entering dangerous territory within your relationship.
Some Warning Signs That Your Relationship Is Rocky
- You don’t discuss how you are feeling with each other and it builds up inside you, often resenting each other. Neither of you is willing to forgive one another.
- You criticize each other in front of others, show contempt, roll your eyes, act defensively, resort to name-calling and tuning out.
- There is little physical affection, laughter, or communication between the two of you.
- He/she lies to you about where they have been and only confesses when you find out the truth.
- Not allowing you to indulge in your interests and wants you to stop.
- You are constantly struggling to live up to their standards or the person you think they want you to be.
- You can’t forgive and/or forget each others mistakes.
- Having wandering eyes and has proved to be untrustworthy.
The Best Apology
Don’t apologize for someone else’s feelings. Saying “I”m sorry you’re mad”, is not an apology. It’s condescending.
Do apologize for your own actions and attitude. Say “I’m sorry i was rude”, is an apology that takes ownership. Be specific about what you did wrong. “I’m sorry for whatever made you mad”, is not going to work.
Don’t add an excuse to your apology. “I’m sorry i was rude, but i was really irritated”, means you’re not really sorry. You feel justified for the way you acted and you expect to be excused. One way to remember this is that whey you say “I’m sorry, but…”, you’re really just a sorry butt.
Do ask for forgiveness when you apologize. “I’m sorry”, on it’s own is just a statement. It requires no response. “Will you forgive me”? is a humble request that can rebuild a relationship. When you ask your spouse to forgive you, wait. Listen. Be prepared for them to say in response, “I need a minute, I’m not there right now”. When you are in the wrong, you are never owed forgiveness. Be grateful when you receive it.
Don’t expect a reciprocal apology. Do not apologize expecting your spouse to apologize equally. When you recognize you have done something wrong, just own your part of it. The end.
Do attempt to make a repair. Once you get through the brutal, “I’m sorry will you forgive me?”. It’s wise to make the next step and ask, “is there anything i can do to make this right?”.
The Science Behind a Happy Relationship
Now that we got through the hard part of a relationship, lets start having some fun and start talking about some hard scientific facts about relationships.
Couples in the happiest relationships bring out the best in each other. They help each other get closer to becoming their “ideal” selves. In one study, couples who were asked to recall a moment that involved “shared laughter” reported being more satisfied in their relationship than those prompted to recall positive moments in their relationship.
Here are some fun facts you might be interested in.
- Happy couple ratio is 5:1 – Happy couples have 5 positive interactions for every negative one.
- Couples who ultimately split up has just 0.8:1 ratio of happy encounters for every one negative interactions.
- Friendship with each other is the determining factor in whether couples feel satisfied with the sex, romance and passion in their relationship.
- Happy couples talk more. People in the most successful relationships spend 5 more hours a week being together and talking.
- Cultivate positive interactions everyday by giving a compliment, do something nice for them, relive a fun memory and show your appreciation for something big (or small).
- Make time for intimacy – The happiest couples have sex 2 to 3 times a week.
- More Sex More Joy – People are 55% more likely to report higher levels of happiness when they have sex every few days.
- The Once-a-Week Boost – Having sex once a week makes people 44% more likely to have positive feelings.
Some Interesting Facts On Marriage
Couples who can put a positive spin on their marriage have a 94% chance of experiencing a happy future together. Based on a 20-year British study, the people who are happiest with their marriages.
- Have been married 5 years or less
- Don’t have any children
- Both have a College/University degree
- The male is employed
Marriage leads to a big happiness boost for the first 2 years on average. After that, couples happiness levels tend to return to what they were prior to the engagement.
How do kids factor into a couple’s happiness? 33% feel just as satisfied (or more satisfied) than before and 67% experience a big drop in marital satisfaction.
Married couples are unhappiest when kids are in preschool & couple’s happiness levels increase again once the youngest kid has grown up.
American couples reveal why they got married
- 93% – For love
- 87% – Making a life long commitment
- 81% – For companionship
- 59% – To have children
- 31% – To be financially secure
10 Tips To Stay Madly In Love With Your Partner
- Be Loving
Start and end the day with a hug and a kiss.
- Show Gratitude
Thank one another for what you each do on a daily basis.
- Don’t Take Their Emotions On
Acknowledge that they are feeling a certain way, not you.
- Encourage One Another
When your partner is negative, try to stay on the positive side.
- Don’t One-UP Each Other
Spoiler alert – one upping matches are not productive.
- Stop Beating Up On Your Body
They love your body and don’t want to hear you talking badly about it.
- Men, Tell Us We’re Beautiful
And smart and awesome and inspiring – a compliment can go a long way.
- Make Time For One Another
Whether it’s a date night out or couch time at home, doesn’t matter.
- Be Patient With One Another
There has to be room to be human, make mistakes and grow.
Respect in a relationship looks a lot like love.
Some Wonderful Marriage Advice
Go On Date Nights
Just because you’re married, doesn’t mean you should stop dating each other. Make the time to have fun, create memories, connect, ask open-ended questions, and dream together and never stop pursuing each other.
Your spouse is not a mind reader. Constant communication keeps you on the same page and sets the right expectations of each other. Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to talk to each other about life.
You’ve made a mistake and now it’s time to own it and apologize to your spouse. Being right is not as important as being together. Taking responsibility for the pain you’ve caused will create a trusting environment.
Assume The Best
Don’t assume you already know what your spouse is going to say and how they will respond. Happily married couples focus on the positive qualities and always assume the best of each other.
Feelings come and go but true love is a choice. Everyday do something that will move you closer to your spouse and find new ways to love them by being intentional with showing small acts of kindness.
Find A Win-Win Solution
Stop spending your time fighting about who is wrong and who is right. Rather, take the time and find win-win solutions that work for both of you. Sure there’s option A and B, but there’s also option C-Z to think about.
Kissing is not only a great option for foreplay but it also produces the “love” hormone Oxytocin. This hormone creates an environment for connection, trust, respect, safety and love.
Forgiveness is a choice not a feeling. And because your spouse isn’t perfect, you will have to choose to forgive them so that you’re not bitter and filled with resentment. Forgiveness is the greatest habit you can learn for your marriage.
If you enjoyed reading this post, pass it on to the world… or at least to your better half!