Living

Five things happy couples know

Did you know being married benefits your health? Researchers have concluded that married adults generally have better health than those who are not. Other small studies show that those in strong relationships have fewer mental health problems, reduced pain, lower stress levels and may even live longer. Happy couples know some things and good health is a benefit of this knowledge.

Want a long, healthy marriage? How about five things happy couples know?

Lets start with an easy one. Happy couples care about each other. They ask, “How was your day?” Asking starts the process, listening fulfills it. And a good question gets a good answer. Creativity helps and so does being thoughtful. Try anticipating the needs of your spouse.

A relationship is about negotiation, compromise and understanding. Happy couples know there is give and take and you can’t always be right. When you are right, you are wrong if the goal is to be in relationship. I’m not trying to say there is no truth, just that you may differ in how you see something. If you think your way is the right way, you never hear their way. Now you’re going along two different ways, separately, not happily together.

Happy couples know how to give each other space. You may be in an argument and you need some space. You may even have to go to bed mad. Take a little time out, sleep on it and finish the discussion with cooler heads and after you’ve thought about item one, caring and item two, not needing to be right.

Sometimes you’re fussy and need space and sometimes a girl’s night out or fishing camp with the boys is the right medicine. Then enjoy coming back together because that’s where home is.

You have to have a sense of humor. Happy couples know how to laugh. Being able to laugh at yourself and enjoying the delightful quirkiness of your better half will smooth a lot of rough spots. Playing together is a must, too. It may take some work and experimentation, but playtime builds the joy in Coupling. Traveling, bowling, walking, exercising, these are just a few things people do together. How about giggling, tickling and ribbing. Try some of that!

Happy couples know love is a mystery and they don’t take it for granted. The special bond is something to be appreciated, nurtured and protected. Who can explain how or why two people fall in love? At least science hasn’t explained it yet. And still there it is, both maddening and life giving.

Gratitude will serve you well as you grow and build your lives together. Having an attitude of gratitude in the everydayness of life and speaking it will bless your Coupling. Living gratefully with your spouse will undergird a life that others will admire and only the two of you can fully appreciate.

Happy couples know you pay for a great relationship with some pain. You may have to work through some suffering. You will have to face your fears. Fantasies may not be realized. But its worth it. Real love, enduring love, is worth it.

Bruce Conn is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and works with individuals and couples. Contact him at Bruce@BruceConn.com or call 478-742-1464.

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