Everybody's seen them before. You know, the couple that just reeks of happiness and joy? You think, "there's no way they can possibly be that happy." But then your mindset shifts and you wonder, "what if they really are that happy?" So, your mind has only one question — how do they do it? Regardless of where you are in your relationship, you want to know the secrets of happy couples, because they seem to be the couples that last the longest. But it turns out, they're not really secrets. There are simply habits of happy couples that you and your partner can integrate into your every day routines to ensure long term happiness.
Of course, not all the habits of happy couples listed below are mandatory. If you feel like diving into all of them at the same time might be a little bit much for where you and your partner are in your relationship, start slow and ease yourself by working on one or two at a time. Most of the following habits of happy couples will come naturally to couples who have a good foundation of communication skills with one another, and are both committed to making their relationship work. If you're ready to be one of those couples who radiate their happiness to everyone around them, read on and start integrating the habits of happy couples into your relationship.
1. They Find Common Interests
According to matchmaker and dating expert Carly Spindel, happy couples find common interests so that they can spend quality time together. It doesn't sound like rocket science, but once you've been in a committed relationship for a while, you'll understand that even though you may not love the same music, or the same television shows, or the same books, that making the choice to do things as a couple is what really matters. "Finding something fun to do together consistently," is the key, according to Spindel.
2. They Continually Get To Know Each Other
Psychologist and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, Terri Orbuch, told Oprah that keeping the interest alive in your relationship beyond your initial dating period is one of the keys to becoming a happy couple. Orbuch recommended that couples talk to each other for at least 10 minutes a day, and not about work, family, or their relationship. Her suggestions for that 10 minute conversation ranged from what you would do if you won the lottery, to what career they would start over with if they could. By continuously keeping the interest alive with your partner, you'll not only learn new things about them as time goes on, you'll make them feel paid attention to, and loved.
3. They Know Small Gestures Matter
Though you may think that grand gestures are what keep a romance alive, the director of University of Virginia's 2011 National Marriage Project, W. Bradford Wilcox, found that it's continual small gestures that make couples the happiest. From offering your partner a cup of coffee to taking care of a chore when it's not technically your turn, the happiest couples are those who do unasked tasks and showed unprompted affections to their partner on a regular basis.
4. They Go To Bed At The Same Time
Spindel wrote on Huffington Post that going to sleep at the same time as your partner is a necessity for a happy relationship. "When you go to bed together, you're promoting healthy relationship patterns," Spindel said.
5. They Hold Onto Each Other — Literally
According to clinical sexologist Charley Ferrer, couples who start and end their days by holding onto one another for a few minutes are happier in the long run. "Couples should take five minutes each morning and each night to simply hold each other," Ferrer told Women's Health. "Though you may give a hug before leaving for work or hug your partner before falling asleep, this is a focused moment to consciously share with your partner." Making sure you and your partner get quality physical time together will make both of you happier.
6. They Find A Tribe
According to W. Bradford Wilcox, it takes a village to foster a good marriage. In an interview with Oprah, Wilcox said that he and his colleagues found that couples who find a community of people that help support their relationship are more satisfied than couples who go it alone.
7. They Celebrate One Another
Couples therapist Tonya Lester told Women's Health that something as simple as lighting up when your partner walks in the room can make you happier. The act, "will send positive reverberations through your relationship mo matter how long you've been together," Lester said. She also noted that though it might feel artificial at first, it has the tendency to become infectious, and can change the dynamic of your relationship.
8. They Stay In Contact
Licensed marriage and family therapist Lori Schade told Women's Health that texting your partner sweet messages throughout the day can do great things for your relationship. "We all know little things we can do that our partners would like, so couples can engage in any of these small behaviors to influence the environment in a relationship," Schade said, adding that her husband texts her love messages throughout the day and it keeps their relationship going strong.
9. They Look At Arguments From The Outside
Though most couples spend a lot of time trying to see things from their partner's point of view, according to social psychologist Eli Finkel, seeing things from a third party's point of view is most effective. In his study, he asked married couples to spend several minutes writing about a recent fight they'd had with their spouse from the point of view of a neutral observer. The couples did this three times throughout the year. When the study finished at the end of the year, these couples had a more satisfying and passionate relationship than couples who didn't partake in the exercise.