When pursuing happiness as a couple, nothing is certain. There’s no specific roadmap to finding the inner peace, joy, and satisfaction that comes with being happy. By and large, happiness comes to those who throw out caution and commit to learning new things, embracing change, and challenging themselves on a deeper level each day. Here are a few things truly happy, joyful partners do when they’re together.
1. They turn off screens when spending quality time together.
Sure, many of us love sitting down to Game of Thrones over our favorite snacks. But opting to turn off your phones, the television, and other distractions can really enhance quality time you’re having together. Go for a run or hike, roll around with your dog, cook a meal, or weed the garden together. It feels nicer to be with someone when they aren’t returning a friend’s text every few minutes or answering a quick work email.
2. Happy couples learn each other’s love language.
There are five emotional languages that people use in love, and partners often tend to fall into one or two of them. A love language is the way or ways in which you best receive emotional love from your partner. These are: receiving gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time. Try to determine your partner’s preferred language by reading the book and taking the quiz, and see how it compares to yours.
3. They cultivate independence.
Couples who have lives apart from their partners tend to be more joyful. Working on your friendships, hobbies, and your career should not take a backseat when you’re in a relationship. (More and more couples are even choosing to have separate bedrooms and reaping the benefits of it!)
4. Happy couples exercise together.
Couples who work out together, stay together. Trying a new cycling class or strength training program with your partner and releasing some endorphins together will do excellent things for your relationship, while keeping you physically fit and physically attractive to each other.
5. They communicate about their finances and goals.
Talk about any debt you have, and about what your financial picture looks like overall so that you are both on the same page when it comes to expectations about the future. The happiest couples may not necessarily have strong financial portfolios, but they’ve communicated about spending patterns and how to meet their goals in the future.
6. Happy couples have a system for cleaning their home.
Cleaning can be therapeutic for some, and a form of low-grade torture for others. For couples, the politics of keeping a home clean can really affect their relationship. Learning to stay on the same page when it comes to tidiness is important. No one wants to be the one nagging the other to pick up their dirty clothes, and no one wants to think of themselves as the messy one. Happy couples speak together about the level of cleanliness they want in their home, and they decide as a couple on a system to keep the house clean, so that it doesn’t have to be a daily or weekly battle.
7. They are willing to change habits, but know the non-negotiables.
Flexibility is key to a person having a fantastic relationship. But if you let your morning lope through the woods go in favor of going out to brunch with your partner’s friends, or if you let your mountain bike gather dust because your partner loves to go boating instead, are you losing some of your personality? Maybe not, but consistently letting go of your favorite activities in favor of your partner’s can build up into resentment.
8. Happy couples talk about what they want from their sex life.
Touching each other allows your bodies to release oxytocin, a hormone that promotes trust and bonding between people. Sex is a critical part of a relationship for many couples, and successful couples are willing to communicate about what they need, like, and don’t want. Remember that your desires and fantasies can shift over time, as can your partner’s. And trying new things together can be really fun. It takes a little courage, especially when you’ve been together for a while and have a sex routine, but stepping out of your relationship norms and trying something new can be a lot of fun and a great way to bond with your partner.
9. They stay in the present moment.
Happy couples often spend most of their time talking and thinking about the present. They avoid wishful language like “I wish we had a newer car,” or “When I get a promotion I’ll take us to Fiji.” Wishing is an energy leak. It takes our focus away from what is happening here and now and being grateful for it.