Just because your partner knows “you don’t mean it” doesn’t mean you get to say it. Couples planning on being together for the long haul know this. They treat their partners with the same common courtesies that we extend to strangers. Even if “they should be doing the dishes”, a simple thank you is often extended. Appreciation is said out loud so that partners feel seen and heard.
Related: 10 Signs of a Healthy Relationship
Physical Attention and Affection is Not Placed on the Back Burner.
Many people have written about how regular and consistent sex is important in relationships. We know, too, how hard that can be for long-term couples to navigate and negotiate. It’s a sensitive topic that has to be respected and carefully kept. Successful couples don’t have an easier time navigating this than anyone else. However, they are not put off by the challenge and they commit to keeping talking about it.
Dry spells happen. Couples can have differing sex drives. Kids, work, stress, and health can all be factors that get in the way of regular and consistent affection and attention. The couples who are happier are the ones who don’t accept this as the answer but just keep working on it.
They give one another hugs. They still kiss. They sit close on the couch. They hold hands. They touch inside and outside of the bedroom to maintain that connection when the sex is good and when it’s absent.
Want to know more about how a happy relationship depends on physical affection? Check this video out below:
They Know There’s No Such Thing as a 50/50 Relationship.
So many arguments can start with who’s doing what, who’s doing more, who’s always, and who’s never. Couples who want to stay happy get that there is no such thing as equal division of labor in a long term relationship. At times, someone will be pulling 40% of the weight and the other will pull 60%. At some point, it will shift and someone may be pulling 90% when the other person can only get it together enough to manage 10%.
That’s ok, though. Those times don’t last and aren’t permanent. It’ll all even out in the end. Happy couples are aware of this and are mindful enough to make sure the other person gets a turn.
They Trust One Another’s Good Intentions.
It’s so easy to be mad and fly off the handle when we feel abandoned or not taken care of. When someone says something, does something, doesn’t say or doesn’t do something, we quickly create stories about their words and behaviors in our minds. When we’re feeling mad or sad about what just happened, our instinct is often to go to the negative. She doesn’t care about me. He only thinks about himself.
Couples committed to working it out take a breath and argue back to that inner voice. Maybe he didn’t mean to forget to call when he knew he was going to be late. Maybe she was distracted when she said that.
Strong couples recognize that a momentary lapse of intention or respect is not always a reflection of how their partner views the relationship. They keep this in mind, even when they are feeling hurt.
They Accept that Good Relationships Involve Work and are Committed to Doing it.
Few in this world just get lucky and have their happiness handed to them. Real happiness is a choice. Choosing to be happy in your relationship is a choice. Working at doing it better every day is a choice. The happy couples—successful couples—choose to be happy and they choose to do the work.
Written by Heather Gray Originally appeared on The Goodmen Project.com