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Everyone seems to know one of those effortlessly happy couples, a duo who just seem to naturally radiate togetherness and joy. But here’s the thing they often won’t tell you — what seems so easy from the outside often requires a little work from within; a bit of romantic effort to complement the natural chemistry.
The good news, of course, is that this makes such happiness an achievable goal: it’s simply a matter of practicing the right steps. To make it easier, we’ve rounded up the five habits that can help create a truly happy couple.
1. Laugh together
‘’If love is the treasure, laughter is the key’’ — Yakov Smirnoff
Healthy relationships are made up many ingredients, from trust to loyalty to appreciation. But, if you want your relationship to be healthy and happy, you also need something less serious: laughter. The bonding experience that comes from sharing a joke not only brings people together – the long term benefits can also include decreased stress, increased energy and heightened intimacy.1 No wonder in-jokes are a happy couple must-have!
2. Cook together
”The people who give you their food give you their heart.” — Cesar Chavez
Want happiness? Ballroom dance together. Deep-sea dive together. Cuddle up and read together. The activity itself doesn’t matter, the important thing is to find something you both enjoy and to take it on as a team. It’s all about learning the key happy-couple-habit of indulging your friendship alongside your romance. Stuck on where to begin? Start by cooking dinner together. You’ll get the sensual, aphrodisiac factor of great food, while also creating something together, communicating and (hopefully) having fun in the process.2
3. Learn what your partner needs to feel cherished
‘’You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving’’ —Victor Hugo
In his ‘The Five Love Languages’ book series, relationship counsellor Gary Chapman suggests that, when it comes to giving and receiving affection, people tend to feel most comfortable with one of five particular communication methods (which he identifies as receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch and quality time).3 While it can be useful to know your own love language, it’s equally valuable to know your partner’s – and to make sure that you ‘speak’ it fluently so that they understand how much you care. Most couples cherish each other: happy couples know how to express that fact.
4. Make intimacy a priority
”Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.’’ — Alain de Botton
Intimacy is another essential piece of the happy couple puzzle, a piece which can come in two forms, both physical and emotional. The key to true relationship happiness is to remember that both of these forms are equally valid ways to show love and equally important for long-term affection. It’s not the only similarity: in order to thrive, both physical and emotional intimacy require a couple to act with vulnerability, honesty and compassion. The reward for such behaviour? Increased closeness, increased happiness and love that lingers.
5. Never stop ‘dating’ your partner
”Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new” — Ursula K. Le Guin
Those in long-lasting relationships know that the giddy roar of infatuation must eventually give way to something quieter. While this quiet love can be incredibly rewarding, happy couples know that it is something that mustn’t be taken for granted: it is vital to keep the thrill of your togetherness alive. A great way achieve this is to keeping dating your partner, no matter how many years you’ve been together. Surprise them with a meal somewhere special to you both, take a romantic trip together, make regular time to be alone together. By making your partnership a priority, you’ll be reminded of how much you mean to one another – and that is going to make for one very happy couple.
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1 Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Melinda Smith, M.A., 2015 Fixing relationship problems with humour, http://www.helpguide.org/articles/relationships/fixing-relationship-problems-with-humor.htm
2 Ashely Martell, writing for Foodall, 2014. ‘Cooking with your spouse strengthens relationships.’ Found at http://foodal.com/knowledge/how-to/cooking-spouse-stengthens-relationships/
3 Gary Chapman, http://www.5lovelanguages.com/about/gary-chapman/