8 Essentials for a Happy Relationship
Are you going through a rough patch with your partner right now? Does it feel as though everyone else has happy relationships and you’re not sure why yours isn’t as rosy?
Well there are probably one or two issues that consistently block you and your partner from experiencing true happiness together. To help you live your happiest relationship possible, we’re sharing our 8 Secrets to a Happy Relationship.
Why is it important to learn and live the elements to a happy relationship? So you can enjoy a happy relationship!
So, let’s get started!
Secret #1 – Communication
How many couples do you know really take the time to communicate? Not just “How was your day Honey?” but real conversations about what’s happening in their world, what matters to them, what they might be stressed or scared about?
When you check in with your partner, and get a feeling for what is going on in their head you can understand why they might be acting a certain way, or responding to situations in a certain way.
Sometimes in a relationship you can get stuck in projecting your feelings and experiences onto your partner – unaware that their version of the world and their day-to-day is very different to yours. When you communicate with your partner on a regular basis, you can stay abreast of what issues are mattering most to them, and how you can be the best partner to them.
As Epictetus said: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
Secret #2 – Honesty
I once knew a woman who dyed the roots of her hair red every Friday morning because she had told her husband she was a natural redhead when they were first dating. It wasn’t until the brand of dye she used religiously to keep the same colour, was discontinued and she had to switch brands, that he found out what she’d been up to all those years!
Luckily, he laughed it off and told her that he loved her no matter what her hair colour was and if she’s only told him sooner, she could have saved herself years of 5am hair dye sessions!
Honesty in a relationship is not so much a secret but common sense. You must be honest with your partner, and your partner must be honest with you. Honesty builds trust and that is an essential building block to any relationship.
Sometimes, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship, we might not ‘let on’ the whole truth in order to show ourselves in the best possible light. Overtime the little things (like not actually having completed that half-marathon) probably won’t cause any issues, but the big things (like finding out your partner really has been married before) probably will!
Secret #3 – Compassion
When you’re compassionate you can put yourself in your partner’s shoes and really understand how they’re feeling and where they’re coming from, instead of acting rashly and jumping to conclusions.
Genevieve Lill, has some excellent advice about actively using compassion in your behaviour with your partner;
“Take the highest worldview whenever possible — is winning an argument worth diminishing your partner? Or would you rather go to all lengths, including overriding your own egotistical needs, to make him/her feel happy and secure?”
Being compassionate does not mean that you need to put your needs and opinions to the side for the sake of pleasing your partner, but it can mean that you can adapt your communication approach to suit the situation and both be given the space to share each other’s thoughts and feelings.
Secret #4 – Respect
Aretha said it best. “All I’m askin, is for a little respect!”
When you respect your partner guess what happens? You value them. You value their opinion, their impact on your life, their work, their words, their very being. And when someone feels valued, they feel accepted and loved.
Loveisrespect.org says: “Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships”.
Respect is a beautiful thing to have in a relationship, and if you can let your partner know that you respect them – happy days.
Feeling a lack of respect, not feeling as though you are valued, that your voice or opinion matters and that you aren’t worthy of respect in a relationship is incredibly damaging. If you feel that you are not respected in a relationship I guarantee that you are not happy.
Secret#5 – Forgiveness
Being able to forgive, and for your partner to be able to forgive you could be the biggest secret to a truly happy relationship.
Psychology expert Lucy Firestone says “Studies have shown that couples who practice forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer, more satisfying romantic relationships. Research has even found that people who practice unconditional forgiveness are more likely to enjoy longer lives.”
Think about a time right now where your partner has upset you in some way. Think about all that anger and frustration and resentment you felt. Do you feel uncomfortable? Imagine feeling like that for years and what it can do for your mindset (and your health).
If you are not able to forgive your partner for his or her actions, state your feelings, learn and move on together, leaving the hurt behind, you will never be able to enjoy a truly happy relationship.
Secret #6 – Romance
Most of us crave love, affection and romance. Even if you don’t consider yourself a romantic person, there will be some action, some words, some demonstration of love that you are comfortable with that will let your partner know just how much they mean to you.
Gary Chapman, Creator of The 5 Love Languages says that there are 5 main ways individuals show and express love. They are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
So for some people, simply making your partner a cup of tea is a romantic gesture, for others, a bunch of flowers every now and then is a reminder of your affection. Some need more hugging and kissing – for another just going for an evening walk together is romantic.
Each couple will find their balance of what “romance” means to them, the secret is that you put in the effort to discover what is important to your partner, and they do the same for you!
Secret #7 – Shared Values
Understanding your partner’s values – their core driving factors – tells you a lot about their motivations. By understanding your own values and what really matters to you in a relationship, you can evaluate whether your relationship is one that is going to stand the test of time, or whether it’s doomed to fail from the beginning.
When you and your partner have different values, you’re looking at the world differently, you’re prioritising differently, you’re spending time and energy in different ways.
If you value Kindness and you’re constantly embarrassed how unsympathetic and rude your partner is, you might have an issue. If Courage is value that you rate very highly and your partner is afraid of life, then you might have an issue. If your partner values Affection above everything else, and you don’t like to be touched then you might have an issue.
Secret #8 – Fun
If you’re not having fun then what’s the point? Really. Life is to be enjoyed!
If your partner in life is the person you have the most fun with – remind each other what that feels like. With mortgages and children and bills to pay and jobs to work and everything else that life throws at you, fun is sometimes far down the list of priorities.
When you’re not having fun, and just living the daily grind, you can start to forget what it was about your partner that really sparked your love in the beginning. So make the time for fun. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive holidays or elaborate date nights, even a Sunday drive to a place you’ve always enjoyed together, or a movie night or karaoke night today – be spontaneous and enjoy each others company.
Making time for fun in your relationship can give you both space to be yourselves, enjoy yourselves, smile and be happy!
There you have it, our 8 Secrets to a Happy Relationship!
If you’re reading this article thinking that your current relationship seems far from happy and that you have some work to do with your partner, I urge you to go to “secretsoftruelove.com” and take The Happy Test. This simple test will help you decide what values are important to you personally and what it means for these values to not be met in your relationship. The Happy Test will help provide you with some guidance on the key risk factors your relationship currently is facing and tap into your truth.