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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

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                      Missy Yost

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

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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                      7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                      The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                      Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                      Posture

                      First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                      • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                      • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                      • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                      • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                      All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                      Facial Expressions

                      Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                      • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                      • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                      • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                      If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                      1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                      A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                      The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                      This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                      2. Relax Your Face

                      New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                      The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                      To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                      3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                      Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                      The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                      To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                      3. Smile More

                      There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                      Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                      4. Hand Gestures

                      Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                      It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                      5. Enhance Your Handshake

                      In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                      “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                      It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                      6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                      As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                      Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                      Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                      Final Takeaways

                      Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                      If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                      More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                      Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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