Last modified on July 1st, 2020
Happiness is truly a choice. Thus, a happy relationship isn’t by luck or chance and isn’t a “wait and see” game. A lot of things come together to make a happy relationship happen and a lot of it is up to you to work on.
Only you can determine whether you’ll have a happy relationship or not. It is not in the hands of any other person to determine despite the fact that love is a two-way street.
A lot of people make the mistake of entering into a relationship to be happy or to find happiness. This is but a recipe for unhappiness in such a life. It’s very unfair of you to place the responsibility of your happiness on your partner when in a relationship.
A truly happy relationship is the product of the partner’s own individual happiness flowing into the relationship. A relationship thus provides a place where you can share the happiness that is already inside of you.
There will always be problems in life but you have within you the power to decide how they affect your happiness. It is your daily choices that add up to make or mar your relational happiness.
Having a Happy Relationship
In essence, to have a happy relationship involves hard work and commitment. There is need for you to make concerted and intentional choices that will support the happiness you seek.
Is that happiness for you to live a peaceful, conflict-free life or to have tremendous amount of fun, great intimacy and lots of laughter? It all correlates directly to what your expectations, desires, needs and wants are.
But life is never static and whatever definitions you have about what brings you happiness might drastically change in the course of time.
So, here are some “secrets” to help you develop a happy relationship with your spouse that will stand the test of time.
1. Have Realistic Expectations
Understand that the expectations you had when you newly fell in love might not survive the honeymoon. In its place, together, you can set more realistic goals that will help in the development and sustenance of a more romantic, deeper, and richer relationship.
Always remember that like everything in life, long term relationships ebb and flow. So don’t get carried away thinking that yours will be all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, before the rainbow comes, there always rain first.
Also, it is important not to expect too much from your spouse. Don’t put them on a high pedestal that they can easily fall from. Take them for who they are and accept their capabilities and their weaknesses. We are flawed in one way or the other, period!
A 2002 study on happiness found that the happiest people rarely feel euphoria or ecstasy. Instead, they feel medium to moderately strong pleasant emotions much of the time. Want to be happy? Set realistic expectations.1
2. Work Hard on Your Relationship
To create a happy relationship requires that you put in the work to make it run smoothly. Nothing good happens in life without people putting in the necessary effort. If happiness came that easy, I believe we would all be relaxing in our great relationships today. But I guess you know better!
As problems arise in the relationship, you might need to summon some degree of courage to address them at times. Handling misunderstandings with your spouse can be difficult at times. There are days you might need to be self-controlled and empathic towards your spouse to maintain the peace.
Life is far too important to be taken seriously.
You can also be expectant of those day when you don’t just feel up to it. However, because you love your partner, you do whatever needs to be done anyway.
So, be prepared for the challenges and sacrifices that love so often demands of those who truly seek her pleasures. There is – not might be – the need to also take time to study and improve your relationship skills.
While it might all sound like serious hard work, the fact is that you’re gradually building a strong foundation for a happy relationship.
3. Engage in Shared Activities
As couples, you need to intentionally determine to create time to be with each other. This isn’t the type of time you spend in front of the television set, though it helps.
It is more about spending time together by engaging in shared activities. You should give good consideration to hanging out more, dating yourself every once in a while, and having those good open-ended conversations. Discover stuffs to engage in that will help you form strong bonds as a couple.
4. Respect One Another
Respect is a very vital component of any successful relationship. Therefore, always treat your spouse in a respectful way and stop taking him or her for granted.
Always be mindful of your spouse’s feelings before you speak or do anything that will affect them. And don’t fail to always tell them how much they mean to you and how they have enriched your life.
When you treat your significant other with respect, you can expect to get the same in return. So, show your spouse how much you really hold them high and how concerned you are about their needs and happiness.
5. Have Open Communication
Having a happy relationship is practically impossible without couples engaging in regular healthy communication. Happy couples are also not afraid of being vulnerable with their partner through engaging in honest communication.
Dedicated time weekly so you and your spouse can sit down and honestly talk about things going on in your relationship. This is not a time for getting into arguments or complaints but rather an opportunity for open and honest deliberations.
Keeping the lines of communication always open is very vital for the health of your relationship. This way, you’ll always be abreast of the good things as well as the problems happening in the relationship. With such knowledge, nothing will be too dramatic for your relationship to handle.
To develop a happy relationship, you need to avoid running away from conflicts when they do occur. You also need to understand the benefits of having those difficult conversations.
6. Have Fun and Laugh More
You can’t talk of having a happy relationship without adding some fun and laughter sessions to the mix. Add laughter to different situations in your life because true happiness is about doing the things that make you happy.
Interestingly, experts claim that laughter makes the body to release hormones that are similar to those released when you orgasm. At the same time, it helps the body to relax while also boosting the immune system.
Robert Fulghum once said that “…laughter is the only cure for grief.” So, if you’re feeling stressed out from a hard day’s work, try smiling at yourself and see what happens. Laughter is indeed the best medicine.
So do some silly stuffs that can make you and your spouse laugh and be silly with each other. Watch a funny movie together or tell some jokes – don’t worry even if they’re dry, that’s part of the fun itself.
The best formula for the health of the individual is contained in the mathematical expression: health varies as the amount of laughter… This favorable effect on the mind influences various functions of the body and makes them healthier than would otherwise be the case.
In fact, experts say that even when it is forced, smiling and laughing makes you feel better. So at the worst, if nothing else works, try smiling and laughing even if for no reason at all.
7. Have Frequent Sex
Having frequent sex with your spouse can help to reduce the anxiety which some other couples experience. Despite the emotional connection couples in happy relationships experience, they’re also aware of the need of having sexual connection.
There is the tendency to become bored seeing the same body parts over time. Therefore, you need to always look for innovative ways to bring the excitement back into the bedroom. Don’t be shy of discussing your evolving sexual fantasies as you grow old together.
Having frequent sex does not only help to strengthen the bonds in a relationship. It also has significant health benefits that include blood pressure reduction, sleep improvement, and stress reduction.
8. Give Each Other Some Space
To develop a truly happy relationship, where neither partner feels suffocated, it’s important to often give each other some space. Your spending time apart to engage in separate interests and activities can help you come back to the relationship rejuvenated.
The time spent apart also helps you to miss your partner thus reminding you of how important they are to you. The reality is that you don’t have to be that attached to your spouse to be really happy. Your individual freedom and happiness is what the relationship needs to thrive and stay happy.
9. Focus on the Positives
We all came into our relationships the flawed humans we are by nature. And whether you like it or not, there will always be problems in a relationship, including yours. If you really want to see all the problems with your relationship, you’ll see them pretty easily without trying too hard.
To maintain a happy relationship, one thing you can do is to try to focus more on the positive aspects of your relationship. This will help you to avoid complaining or dwelling too much on the negatives.
The idea is to refocus your thinking whenever there is a disrupting negative situation in the relationship. If they forgot to do the laundry, thank them for tasty dinner you just had. Perhaps they did something irritable, simply replace it with other positive thoughts of things they’ve done before.
So, when things become difficult, take your mind back to the great times you’ve shared together as a couple. Learn to overlook mistakes and attitudes you might not like about your spouse or relationship. Accentuating the positive will only lead to more positives.
10. Express Gratitude
Learn to show gratitude for the healthy and happy relationship you have with your spouse. Make it a habit of saying thank you for all the contributory little things your partner does in the relationship.
When the small stuff that happen around you might make you offended, always think of the larger picture of your happy relationship. There’s no need sweating over the small stuff.
Look for the good things in your relationship and express gratitude for them. Always let your spouse know that you’re grateful for all their love and effort in making your relationship great.
11. Take Care of Each Other
To have a truly happy relationship with your spouse, it is not enough to simply feel confident that you truly love your spouse. You also need to express your love in ways your spouse can see and feel.
Because you’ve been together for years doesn’t mean that you should stop being tenderly kind to your spouse. Develop a culture of being considerate and physically affectionate towards your spouse all the time.
And remember not to ever get tired of verbally telling your spouse how much you love them. You can also leave cues around the house that also express your undying love for them.
12. Accept Your Differences
That you’ve been couples for years does not mean that you’re the same individuals. It might be true that you’ve developed a very strong closeness and now share a lot of identical views. Yet, you know how differently you still reason at times.
It’s therefore important to bear in mind that although you both make a great team, you’re still two distinct individuals. Therefore, you need to honor and make the most of the differences between both of you.
Try to focus on the positive reasons you got together in the first place. Things like the emotional and physical attraction, general outlook on life, and the likeminded future aspirations that brought you together should lead you on.
Ultimately, you’re both headed in the same direction, to have a happy relationship that will stand the test of time.