Marriage isn’t just an art, it’s also a science. Happy couples follow these eight secrets which improve their relationship satisfaction and increase their chances of long-term success.
1. Celebrate Good News Together
One of the best secrets of a happy marriage is to celebrate good news and success together, according to research conducted by psychologists Shelly Gable, an assistant professor at UCLA, and Harry Reis, a professor at the University of Rochester.
They found that happy couples don’t have to celebrate just the major successes, like a job promotion, to be happy. Instead, couples who celebrate every day victories, such as finding a lost object, are more likely to experience a happy marriage.
2. Keep Your Expectations High
In the past, most marriage experts have encouraged couples to lower their expectations based on the idea that having too high of expectations will only lead to disappointment. However, newer research shows that if you expect good things from your marriage, it’s more likely to happen.
A 2004 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that couples were most happy when their expectations matched their skills. Couples who had high expectations of one another weren’t necessarily doomed to be disappointed, but instead experienced high marital satisfaction when their partner met those expectations.
3. Maintain Close Relationships Outside the Family
Happy couples recognize that they can’t always meet one another’s needs. Therefore, they maintain close relationships with friends and family and encourage one another to get some of their needs met by others.
Happy couples know how to give one another just the right amount of support and then allow others to provide support when necessary. According to a study conducted by the University of Iowa’s Center for Couple and Family studies, giving unwanted advice can be detrimental to a marriage. Therefore, happy couples know when to back off and allow their spouse to seek support from a mother, sibling, friend, or co-worker.
4. Enjoy an Active Intimate Life
An active sex life is important part of a happy marriage. Couples who are less sexually active experience less marital satisfaction, according to a study conducted by Denise Donnelly in The Journal of Sex Research. Couples who engage in frequent sexual activity are more likely to have a happy marriage.
A couple’s sex life doesn’t have to decline with age either. In fact, older men are more likely to enjoy sex more, according to a 2006 study conducted by the British Journal of Urology International. The study found that men in their 50s enjoy sex more than men in their 30s and 40s.
5. Seek Excitement and Surprise One Another
Staving off boredom in marriage is an important part of maintaining a happy relationship. Boredom in a marriage can undermine marital satisfaction, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychological Science in March of 2009.
Maintain excitement in your marriage by going on dates, surprising one another frequently, and looking for new activities to do together as a couple. Keeping the relationship fresh and exciting can increase your chance of long-term success.
6. Resolve Conflict with Teamwork
The words couples use when they disagree can make a big difference in their marital satisfaction. Couples with a happy marriage tend to use the words like “us,” “we,” or “our,” according to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Psychology and Aging.
Couples who used language that showed a desire to work as a team experienced less stress during arguments. They showed more affection and had less negative behaviors overall. Happy couples resolve conflict by using teamwork.
7. Say Thank You
Saying thank you to your spouse is really a small thing to do that can have a big impact on your marriage, according to researchers from Arizona State University. Their 2007 study revealed that when people thanked their partner for completing chores, it led to less resentment over a perceived imbalance in household duties. Showing appreciation for one another’s contribution to the family can be an easy way to maintain a happy marriage.
8. Kiss Good-Bye in the Morning
Kissing good-bye in the mornings can start your day off with a more positive attitude. German physicians and psychologists found that men who kissed their spouses good-bye before heading off for work each morning live an average of five years longer and earn 20 to 30 percent more money than other men.
Men who kissed their wives before leaving even had a lower chance of getting into a car accident on their way to work. Couples in a happy marriage don’t overlook the small things, like a quick kiss before parting, because they feel the positive benefits.