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10 Forgotten Habits Happy Couples Have That Make Their Relationships Last

10 Forgotten Habits Happy Couples Have That Make Their Relationships Last

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.

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        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.

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                  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

                      More by this author

                      Missy Yost

                      Missy is a business owner and writes about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on September 30, 2020

                      How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

                      How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Future

                      We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?

                      In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

                      The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

                      The Importance of Living in the Moment

                      “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha

                      While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.

                      Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

                      Better Health

                      By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being[1].

                      Improve Your Relationships

                      Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?

                      Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.

                      How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.

                      By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

                      Greater Self-Control

                      You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier[2].

                      Why Do We Worry?

                      Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

                      When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

                      Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

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                      Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

                      3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment

                      Step 1: Overcome Worrying

                      In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

                      Calm Your Mind

                      When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.

                      The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

                      In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.

                      Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

                      Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

                      People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

                      If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

                      Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

                      In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.

                      Racing Mind

                      Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

                      You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

                      If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.

                      Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past

                      None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

                      So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

                      By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

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                      In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

                      Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

                      A Wandering Mind

                      From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

                      Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.

                      Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities[3].

                      Outside Influences

                      Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future[4].

                      Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

                      Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

                      So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

                      Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

                      Understand Mindfulness

                      The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.

                      When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality[5].

                      You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

                      This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

                      To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

                      If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.

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                      You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.

                      Mindfulness Meditation

                      Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

                      Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

                      You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

                      This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

                      If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: What Is Mindfulness Meditation? 7 Ways to Start Meditating

                      Mindful Breathing

                      While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

                      You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

                      Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

                      Mindful Walking

                      Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

                      Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?

                      Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

                      You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

                      In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.

                      You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.

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                      Mindful Eating

                      Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

                      The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level[6]. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

                      Live in the present with mindful eating.

                        Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss[7].

                        So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

                        • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
                        • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
                        • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

                        You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

                        Mindful Activities

                        Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

                        Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

                        You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.

                        Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

                        Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.

                        The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

                        More About Living in the Present

                        Featured photo credit: Smile Su via unsplash.com

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