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The Happiest Couples Have These 4 Things in Common

Margaret is a mental health advocate and has studied psychology. She aspires to help people live better lives.

Four important things most happy couples have in common

Four important things most happy couples have in common

Have you ever looked at a couple and thought,

“Damn. How do they do it? How do they manage to be so happy?”

There are always ups and downs in all relationships, but some couples manage to stay genuinely happy together, no matter what life throws at them.

How do they do it? Is it honesty? Fidelity? Romantic gestures?

Relationship happiness doesn’t occur by accident.

Here are four things the happiest couples have in common, that allow their relationships to thrive.

1. They Deal With Their Differences in a Constructive Manner

Aren’t differences one of the main reasons couples break up? You want and like different things from your partner, you think and behave differently, or your mindset and life goals are different.

And although there are differences that can truly get in the way of a relationship’s success (e.g. when you want to get married and have kids whereas your partner wants to party and travel the world), most of the time people think their differences are an obstacle when they actually aren’t.

In other words, a partner who’s different from you might be perfectly able to fulfill your needs. That is something couples rarely think about and end up giving up on each other.

On the other hand, partners who remain genuinely happy together accept that differences are always going to emerge in a relationship, and deal with them in a constructive manner.

What does “constructive manner” mean, you ask? According to the Cambridge Dictionary,

“If advice, criticism, or actions are constructive, they are useful and intended to help or improve something.”

Instead of letting their differences ruin their relationships, the happiest couples embrace them and work together to find some common ground and improve their relationship.

They don’t try to change each other’s minds but rather they make an effort to understand each other’s perspectives.

2. They Don’t Hold Grudges Against Each Other

When your partner makes a mistake that hurts your feelings, how do you usually react?

Do you talk about it with them?

Do you wait until they apologize?

And, more importantly, once they do apologize, do you continue as if nothing happened, or do you hold a grudge against them?

Because genuinely happy couples recognize that unresolved tension will keep hurting their relationship, day by day. So, they always talk openly with each other and make sure to forgive one another’s mistakes.

Bottling up feelings of anger and bitterness is of the most harmful things you could do to your relationship — as well as your well-being. As psychotherapist Nancy Colier explains in her article:

“The problem with grudges, besides the fact that they are a drag to carry around (like a bag of sedimentized toxic waste that keeps us stuck in anger) is that they don’t serve the purpose that they are there to serve. They don’t make us feel better or heal our hurt.

Remember, grudges lead to resentment, and resentment can slowly kill a relationship.

3. They Balance Dependence and Independence

Being dependent on your partner is dangerous. But so is being too independent and relying only on yourself.

Relying on your partner to make you happy and being too emotionally dependent on them is unhealthy because a relationship can’t solve your problems and the only person responsible for your happiness is yourself, not your partner.

On the other hand, being too independent and never asking your partner for help and support, or living your life and making plans without taking their needs and schedule into consideration is also unhealthy and harmful for your relationship.

So, what should you do? It’s simple. Follow the happiest couples’ example: balance dependence and independence.

One thing genuinely happy couples have in common is that they allow themselves to be open, vulnerable, and emotionally intimate with each other, without losing themselves within the relationship.

Or, in other words, they have built their relationship on interdependence. As professional counselor Jodi Clarke explains in her article, interdependence is:

“Interdependence suggests that partners recognize and value the importance of the emotional bond they share while maintaining a solid sense of self within the relationship dynamic.”

They see their relationship as an element that adds to their happiness and their sense of self, and not as a way to become happy and “complete” themselves.

4. They Don’t Make Assumptions About Each Other’s Feelings

Why are we always making assumptions about what other people think and feel instead of simply asking them?

Especially our partners, with whom we’re supposed to be able to openly communicate and be honest about our feelings, thoughts, and needs. For example, how many times have you heard someone, including yourself, saying things like:

  • “I think she’s not taking me seriously because she hasn’t introduced me to her family yet.”
  • “He was very quiet yesterday on our date, so he must be getting bored of me already.”
  • “She’s been going out a lot with her friends lately, so she must be cheating on me.”

Assumptions always bring unwanted tension and create conflict in relationships. They might also subconsciously influence your decisions, decisions that can have destructive consequences on your relationship.

That’s why truly happy couples never try to guess each other’s thoughts or “decode” each other’s actions. Instead, they simply ask one another what’s in their minds, or what made them act in a specific way.

They don’t make assumptions about each other’s feelings but openly ask one another about them. And they don’t let pure guesses mess with their heads and cloud their judgment but instead act and make decisions based on strong facts.

The Bottom Line

Relationship happiness doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something couples work for, day by day, by establishing powerful habits and adopting a specific, happiness-oriented mindset.

From dealing with differences in a constructive manner to staying away from assumptions, couples can manage to remain genuinely happy, and keep their relationship going, no matter what life throws at them.

A great place to start is by getting information about all things relationships from articles and books written by licensed therapists and certified relationship coaches. I highly recommend this book by Dr. Gina Senarighi - it's a great relationship workbook about conflict resolution, effective communication, and so much more.

Remember, those couples you sometimes might be jealous of, aren’t more clever than you nor are they skilled at something you can't learn yourself. They simply chose to change their mindsets and habits regarding their relationships. If you’re willing, you can easily do the same to help your relationship succeed.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Margaret Pan