Happy couples make love look so easy. But here’s the thing they’re not telling you: what seems so effortless from the outside isn’t always so. In fact, great relationships take work. To keep falling in love with the same person, day after day, you have to take time and get into the habit of making your partnership a priority.
The good news? This means being in a happy couples isn’t just for the lucky. Anyone can achieve ‘effortless’ happiness, it’s just a matter of learning the right romantic patterns…
Make time for just the two of you
Love is friendship set on fire. Truly happy couples come about when two people can’t wait to spend time together; as friends as well as lovers. It doesn’t matter what it is they choose do – hang-gliding, pottery, bird-watching, competitive scrabble – as long as they do it as a team. Indeed, it’s ok to start with simple shared hobbies, something as easy as cooking together, for it’s that process of communicating and working together that counts.2
Take the time to laugh together
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. In a healthy relationship, there are many ties that bind. However, laughing together has to be one of the most joyful – and one of the most necessary. Not only can shared jokes make you feel really connected to someone, laughter can also be a stress reducer, an energy booster and it can even increase intimacy over time. No wonder happy couples make it a daily priority to take time out to laugh together!
Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone and finding that that’s ok with them.’ Another key to relationship happiness is intimacy, and not just the physical kind. Happy couples know that sex is important but they also know that’s not the only thing that matters. Indeed, for long-term affection to flourish, emotional intimacy is just as vital. Couples have to allow themselves to be vulnerable with each other and to be compassionate in return: for this builds trust that can last a lifetime.
Speak your partner’s ‘love language’
Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get, only with what you are expecting to give. If you adore your partner, it’s important to let them know in a way that they can really appreciate. Relationship counsellors suggest that there are five ways people show love (giving/receiving gifts, acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time). While it can be useful to know your own ‘love language’, it’s also essential to know your partner’s – as, by ‘speaking’ it fluently, they’ll understand how much you care.
Never stop ‘dating’ each other
Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new. As a relationship grows through the years, it’s only natural for the wild flames of infatuation to die down. This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong and, in fact, for many happy couples true love starts where infatuation ends. That said, it’s vital to not take your love – or your partner – for granted. Keep your spark ignited by treating them with as much enthusiasm as when you first started dating – make time for dates, take romantic holidays and always, always make each other a priority.
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