Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.
What are the most common traits and characteristics of happy couples? Look closely and you’ll start to notice that couples who cultivate a few simple healthy relationship habits that keep their marriage strong.
Healthy relationship habits can help couples build the strong physical and emotional bonds that keep them together. Of course, no relationship is perfect, and there will be days when some of these habits of happily married couples are harder to follow through on than others. But by simply being aware of the things that make a relationship strong, happy, and healthy, your relationship has a better chance of surviving the ups and downs of married life.
People in healthy relationships make an effort to keep their sleeping habits in synch. Happy couples go to bed at the same time as often as possible. Why does this help make a relationship strong? It increases the number of intimate connections you have with your lover each day. You could be in the mood to make out, or, if you are feeling extra frisky, make love. Even if you don’t connect sexually when you go to bed together, you can still cuddle. And of course, there’s pillow talk too, the sweet soft conversations that you have with your partner as you both drift off to sleep. If you like to read and your partner just wants to sleep when it’s time to hit the sack, he can still snuggle with you while you curl up with a good book under the sheets. Going to bed together should be part of your healthy relationship routine. There’s rarely anything on TV that’s worth more than time spent with your husband, is there?
There are times, of course, when busy couples can’t always go to bed together—perhaps one person has unpredictable shifts at work or the other partner has to travel frequently—and they will have to make an effort to sustain healthy sleeping habits together as often as possible. A couple in a long-distance relationship could make a nightly phone call or good night love text part of their romantic routine too.
Happy couples make a habit of keeping physical intimacy alive. Do you remember when you and your partner first got together and started being physically intimate with one another? Ah yes, the honeymoon phase when you can’t keep your hands off of each other. Wasn’t that fun, until life happened and you things started to get busy? But making your relationship strong, day in and day out, means working at keeping your love life alive, on a mutually consensual basis of course. Make time to check in with each other to talk about your love life and what you both want from it. Sure, it may not feel spontaneous to talk about or even plan your intimate encounters, but being in a mature, healthy relationship is about communicating your wants and needs to each other in a safe, respectful way.
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Connected couples appreciate the power of touch. Holding hands, touches toes as your stretch out side by side on the couch, reaching out for a gentle squeeze or back rub when your partner passes you in the hall, around the kitchen, or while doing everyday household chores.
Strong couples make an effort to find and nurture common interests. Spending quality time together doing things that you both love is a no-brainer when it comes to fostering a strong relationship. But that doesn’t mean that you have to only do stuff that you both love. Making a silent compromise to participate in an activity that your spouse loves, but you don’t, is one of the ways couples strengthen their emotional and intellectual bonds.
Men and women in strong relationships don’t sweat the small stuff. Happy couples emphasize the positive things each other does, and they find a way to put the less than positive things into perspective. They know how to have mindful conversations about things that are bothering them, rather than nagging each other, or worse, giving each other the silent treatment. If you are always finding fault with your partner and letting him know about it, that says more about you than it does about him. As long as the things that he is doing aren’t abusive, ask yourself if letting it bother you so much is really worth letting the relationship wither.
Partners acknowledge each others’ presence with kisses and other signs of affection. Kissing your partner when he comes home or leaves for work is a sweet sign of love and affection. Kissing your partner before you part, however brief, sends you both on your way in good spirits. Life is short and unpredictable. Sadly, people die suddenly in the most tragic of circumstances. Knowing that the love of your life is out there with your kiss on his lips is the best way to be in the world. Imagine the pain, grief, and guilt you’d feel if the one you love died suddenly and your last interaction with him was cold and sullen? Show each other how much you appreciate their presence in your life with frequent gestures of affection.
These are just a few of the habits of couples in healthy, happy relationships. And sometimes it takes work to remember these good habits and keep them at the forefront of your busy lives. But every effort you make to strengthen your marriage is worth it. No one is saying that all of these good relationship habits have to be practiced perfectly each and every day in order for your marriage to succeed. That's just not realistic, and having unrealistic expectations for your relationship can be counterproductive, if not totally destructive. But finding the courage to show your vulnerability to your partner and communicate your needs can help make your relationship stronger and stronger.
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.
© 2016 Sadie Holloway