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15 Powerful Relationship Lessons From Happy And Loving Couples

15 Powerful Relationship Lessons From Happy And Loving Couples

I hang out with a group of couples who have been with their spouse or partner for 10 years or more.

We all seem to be happy and loving people. Of course our relationships are far from perfect, but somehow we all have decided to make this journey with our significant other, for better or worse.Here are 15 relationship lessons we practice to keep our relationships healthy, happy, and loving.

1. Genuinely like each other.

You have to like the person you are with because to be honest, the intense “in-love” feelings may not always be there. Some days you want to kill your partner, but what stops you is the feeling that you actually like this person.

Crazy talk aside, when it comes down to spending hours upon hours with a single person, liking them becomes very important.

When you say you “like” someone, what you’re really saying is, “he or she is cool to hang out with, they don’t get on my nerves all that much, and to tell you the truth, I feel good when I’m around them.”

2. Enjoy the sense of humor you share.

I find that each couple has their own sense of humor.  They each find the other funny and laugh at the same things that perhaps others wouldn’t find as humorous.

This commonality is something to be valued because finding someone that can make you laugh, especially when things are tough, can be the glue that makes you stick and stay.

3. Cherish the good in the other person.

Focusing on the good traits of your partner will increase your loving feelings for them which may help you overlook the annoying things they do. Because there’s no perfect person, but what there can be is your positive perception of that person.

Also, I have found when you focus on the wonderful qualities of a person, you start seeing more of those qualities come out.

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4. Birds of a feather, flock together.

Men and women who want and are drawn to be in long-term relationships hangout together.  Couples, who do “couples activity” with other couples create friendships and a bond that acts as a support system for the overall health of all relationships involved.

Your couple friends will be there to share the good times. They will also be there to comfort and support the both of you when and if that situation ever arises.

5. Use your words.

I know there’s some science to back my next statement because it’s the honest truth.

Men cannot read minds. Women on the other hand can, especially if they’re related. Therefore when men and women talk, they must use their words.

Joking aside, the healthiest relationships are the ones who communicate well with each other.

I believe both men and women must clearly ask for what they want from their partner in order to receive it.

For example, my boyfriend knows, if I ask for 12 lemons for a 12 lemon center piece, he will bring 12 lemons home. (Share this post if you know my movie reference!)

More importantly, couples who say what they mean in a loving way get to the heart of an issue and find a way to resolve it.

6. Cultivate your individual existence.

The healthiest relationships are where each person has their own lives. Build a life together, but don’t lose yourself and your individual purpose.

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Healthy couples support each other in their individual interests such as hobbies, sport activities, or meaningful work.

When a person has a purpose and a sense of meaning to their life, they behave in a more positive and loving way to their partners and other people in general.

7. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

At any moment in time, you can change your thought, mood, and reaction for the better. Your partner may not always do the right thing, but you have the power to react in a more positive way no matter the situation.

Acting positively and lovingly towards a situation will bring about a more productive resolution.

8. Let them be.

Don’t be afraid to give each other a “cooling-off” period. Not everything needs to be resolved right there and then.

Let each person find their own understanding of a situation so that they can hopefully return with some sense and compassion.

9. Spend time apart.

Nobody likes anybody who is underfoot too long. It is healthy to spend time away from each other.

My boyfriend and I did a long distance thing for three years in the middle of our relationship and I believe it only made our bond stronger.

Let each other enjoy a weekend away with friends and find your own relationship rekindled upon their return.

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10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the best things you can do for a long-term relationship is to not be bothered by the idiosyncrasies of the other person.

There are some things in a person that may never change and you just have to accept that. Yes, you may think your partner was raised in a barn, but he or she is still the one you want in your little universe.

Be quick to forgive dumb, maybe even thoughtless mistakes because as long as it doesn’t make you distrust the person or question your entire relationship, then it can all be worked out with some understanding, compassion, and compromise.

11. Act like a team.

This is one of the lessons that I believe can really help a relationship survive and thrive.

When you know that your partner has your proverbial back, you feel a kind of peace. A sense that you’re not alone, that someone else is looking out for your best interest, and that feels amazing.

A lot of my couple friends own businesses with their spouse and in my observation it brings them closer together. Owning a business with someone teaches you about cooperation, compromise, and the importance of making a decision together.

12. Show your appreciation.

The words “thank you” should be said as often as possible because everyone likes to feel appreciated and respected.

Day in and day out, your partner is always doing something in the name of love and family and that should not go unnoticed. From making dinner, working long hours, and performing simple acts of kindness, give your gratitude.

It’s a universal truth. The more you say thank you to what the universe offers you, the more you receive those kind of things.

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13. Say I love you and show it.

No matter how long you’ve been together, always tell your partner you love them because this short, but meaningful sentence could have such an impact on their day.

For instance, these simple words may be the best thing they hear all day. It can make them feel honored, safe, appreciated, and wanted. By just saying these three little words, you can give these wonderful feelings to each other.

Then show one another the love you feel with small acts of kindness or big gestures of devotion. No matter how you do it, the point is that you do it.

14. Spend romantic time together.

Spending romantic time together is different from the other times you’re spending with each other. Romantic time implies that your sole focus is to connect romantically with your partner and this is very important if you want the fires of love to burn for eternity.

I love the saying, “The grass is greener where your water it.” So if you want the love between the both of you to last, you have to take care of that lawn like it’s the Bermuda grass of the Carolinas.

In plain English, date night is a must-do.

15. It’s about the journey.

You will walk in the sunshine together. You will hold each other tight during a freak storm. Sometimes you will even dance in the rain together.

All that matters is no matter the weather, you will expectantly share the experience together.

But if there comes a time that you don’t, hopefully you’ve done all of the above so you know that you gave it your best, and you showed them how big you can love.

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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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