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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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                      Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                      How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                      Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

                      In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                      Step right up, don’t be shy!

                      Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

                      The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

                      Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

                      Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
                      So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

                      A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

                      Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

                      Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

                      When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

                      Culturally Conditioned

                      We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

                      I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

                      The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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                      Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

                      Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

                      Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

                      1. Broadens Your Network

                      After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

                      2. Improves Your Communication Skills

                      I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

                      Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

                      3. Continually Learning

                      So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

                      Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

                      4. Increases Self Confidence

                      Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

                      Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

                      So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

                      How to Talk to Strangers

                      Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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                      1. Say Hello

                      Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

                      Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

                      Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

                      2. Ask About Them

                      Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

                      You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

                      As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

                      3. Just Do It

                      One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

                      When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

                      Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

                      4. Don’t Take It Personal

                      One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

                      When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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                      5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

                      I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

                      One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

                      6. Detach

                      A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

                      Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

                      7. Share Your Stories

                      Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

                      To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

                      So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

                      8. Give a Compliment

                      Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

                      When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

                      9. Relax Your Body Language

                      If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

                      When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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                      If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

                      10. Practice, Practice, Practice

                      Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

                      Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

                      After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

                      The Bottom Line

                      As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

                      There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                      Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

                      Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

                      More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

                      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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