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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 enjoys decorating, capturing the beauty of her surroundings on canvas, and making new friends. She shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                      How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                      How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                      For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                      If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                      Example 1

                      You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                      You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                      In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                      Example 2

                      You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                      People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                      You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                      Example 3

                      You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                      The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                      Example 4

                      You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                      Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                      If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                      Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                      • Understand your own communication style
                      • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                      • Communicate with precision and care
                      • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                      1. Understand Your Communication Style

                      To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                      In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                      Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                      2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                      Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                      If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                      “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                      This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                      To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                      3. Exercise Precision and Care

                      A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                      On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                      Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                      I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                      I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                      In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                      The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                      Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                      4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                      Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                      In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                      “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                      Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                      Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                      It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                      It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                      It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                      Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                      Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                      The Bottom Line

                      When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                      I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                      Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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