It warms my heart when I see a couple in their 70’s walking hand-in-hand.

Do they have a secret formula for a lasting love? After all, their relationship endured the years while so many others fell victim to breakups and divorces.

It turns out that most happy couples share similar reasons as to why their love has stood the test of time, reasons too many of us may have forgotten.

Here are 10 of those reasons.

1. They Continually Share in Common Interests and Find New Things to be Interested in Together

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Image via Flickr by Ryan G. Smith

Common interests are one of the things that bring happy couples together and is something that keeps them together in the long run. When couples continue to share common interests and cultivate new ones, they create a common time they enjoy together.

Common interests do not need to be elaborate. They can be something as simple as enjoying cuddle time under a blanket while watching a movie.

Today, too many couples forget what common interests attracted them to one another in the first place and are too busy to recognize new ones.

Continuing through a relationship as individuals with different interests instead of sharing at least some common interests can be detrimental to the relationship in the long run.

2. They Move Towards the Bedroom Together Each Night

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Image via Flickr by K

Many happy couples suggest that moving to the bedroom at the same time is important to them in maintaining a loving bond.

Melissa Orlov, author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage, suggests couples create a “sacred time” around bedtime. This is a time when partners can share a loving and intimate time together.

Orlov further suggests that it’s okay if a partner needs to get back up to finish something. The important thing is to create a pattern for sharing a special time at the end of each day.

Many couples today live their lives on different schedules and have forgotten the importance of the intimate time needed before sleep. Instead of staying in the living room to watch television while your partner goes to bed, join them in the bedroom. You can watch that show together while cuddling under the blanket.

3. They Never go to Sleep Angry

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Image via Flickr by Aldan McMichael

The happiest of couples say that this is their cardinal rule.

Interviews with couples married 50 to 60 years suggest that the moral of this advice goes deeper than just a cliche.

Going to bed angry can lead to unresolved issues and feelings of resentment that go beyond one evening of disagreement.

Before drifting off to sleep, recognize this battle does not define your relationship and reassure your partner that you love them.

Today, too many couples ignore this cardinal rule and drift off to sleep angry. If this becomes a pattern, it can do irreparable harm to their relationship.

4. They Hug and Kiss to Start the Day and Hug and Kiss to End It

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Image via Flickr by Tania Cataldo

Happy couples say they start and end every day with a hug and kiss. Psychologists suggest that hugs create feelings of positivity and better health. Andrea F. Polard, Psy.D suggests hugs release the hormone oxytocin, which elevates feelings of attachment, connection, trust, and intimacy.

Too often today, couples forget to touch their partners and some go through days without good hugs and kisses. The lack of intimacy can eventually take a toll on a relationship.

5. They Trust Their Partner

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Image via Flickr by Duncan Rawlinson

Couples that trust each other take a huge element of conflict from their relationship.

Catherine Morris, MFT advises “Trust is the bedrock for building a strong relationship.”  By placing your confidence and faith in your partner, happy couples can believe and rely on their partner when things get tough.

Today it seems that many couples incorporate distrust as part of their relationship. In the end, this creates a situation of excess worry and a relationship that never realizes its full potential.

6. They Say Thank You Instead of I’m Sorry

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Image via Flickr by Ed Yourdon

Happy couples focus on the positive aspects of their relationship instead of dwelling on the negative. By turning the focus to something positive and thanking a partner for putting up with something instead of apologizing for something, they eliminate the acknowledgment of a negative behavior.

Today, too many couples point out each others flaws and forget that they have flaws of their own. Both people in a relationship must love each other in spite of the other’s flaws.  Focusing on your partner’s acceptance instead of apologizing for short comings can strengthen relationships.

7. They Celebrate in their Partner’s Accomplishments

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Image via Flickr by Audrey & Elvis

Happy couples remain proud of their partners and celebrate in all of their accomplishments no matter how small. If it is important to their partner, it is important to them.

Happy couples encourage their partners along their journey of personal goals. They ask them about their progress and encourage them to keep moving forward.

Today, too many couples tend to forget that to be a happy couple in a relationship you have to be a team. There is no I in team. Never be too busy to recognize, encourage, and celebrate with your partner.

8. They Continually Do Small Things for Each Other

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Image via Flickr by Chris Goldberg

Small actions equal big rewards in a successful relationship. Happy couples continuously do small things for their partner. It could be something as simple as slipping a note in a lunch that says “I love you,” or taking the dogs for a walk when your partner is too tired to walk them.

Today, couples forget that giving is not dependent on receiving. If you continue to do nice things for your partner, they may eventually do nice things in return; but even if they don’t, you will feel good about your efforts.

9. They Acknowledge Each Others Feelings

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Image via Flickr by Francisco Osorlo

Happy couples don’t have to agree on everything, but they do say that at least acknowledging the other person’s feelings is important in a successful relationship.

Just saying “I understand how you feel” makes a huge difference in keeping the roots of problems on the surface and manageable.

Today, couples tend to tell their partner how they are crazy for feeling a certain way. By not validating a partner’s feelings, hurt feelings can run deep. Instead of building a partner up, this breaks them down. Eventually, it can damage a relationship.

10. They Keep a Sense of Humor

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You never know what life will throw your way. Happy couples have learned to use their sense of humor as a tool to diffuse uncomfortable situations and keep a lighthearted outlook on life. There are even annual conferences that teach how to use humor in a relationship.

Cultivating a humorous outlook requires respect. Today, some couples confuse extreme sarcasm and humor. Extreme sarcasm can be hurtful if it hits too close to a partner’s insecurity. Set some ground rules and respect each others boundaries when it comes to humor.

Do you know anyone who has a lasting relationship? How do their values compare with the list above? Do they have any additional tips they think were important to their success?  Share with us their secrets in the comment section below. We can all learn from each other.

Featured photo credit: Image via Flickr by Patrick via flickr.com

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