Want some life hacks that improve your relationship? Of course you do! We all want to know the secrets of happy couples. Since I am a relationship therapist, I talk to people about their relationships every day. I've started to notice some themes come up when people are happy in their relationship. So since I'm so generous, I am going to share them with you!
Read on for 5 Things Happy Couples Do that maybe you should start to do too!
1. They greet each other every time.
Every time they see each other, they greet each other. This seems so simple and you are probably thinking you already do this. But really think about it. Do you? When you work, or have kids, or have a million things going on like every other American, it's easy to get in your head. So when you are in the middle of something and they come home, you're focused on your task. Not a lot of people drop what they are doing and run to the door to give a hug and a kiss. They might say hey but that's usually it.
Do you have a dog? One of the greatest things about dogs is every time you come home, they are happy to see you. It feels amazing. It's like a little love song sang right to you every time you walk in the door.
So try this. Just do it for one week and see what happens. Every time they come home, get up and go to them. Say hi, so glad you are home, or just give them a hug and a kiss. Then do it again tomorrow.
2. They play.
One thing I have noticed with happy couples is how playful they are with each other. They joke, they tease, they roll around or tickle, they try new fun things, and they laugh. They have inside jokes. They play tricks. They make play an important part of their relationship. And guess what? Science shows this has a huge impact.
Feel good hormones are released when you play. Endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. They improve your mood, reduce your stress, and make you feel more alive. When couples play together, their brains start to associate this other person with those feel good hormones. Picture your brain saying "oh that person! Whenever I'm with them, I get to feel good! Give me more of that person."
3. Happy couples have sex.
You're like "duh, Corrin." But wait! Let me explain more. I'm not saying they have frequent sex. I'm just saying they have sex. Some of the couples I meet are totally happy with sex once a month. When they have sex, they have great sex. Other couples have it a couple times a month, or a couple times a week, it all varies. So I'm not saying they have lots of sex. I've simply noticed that in comparison with couples that are unhappy, couples that are happy are having some sex. The amount depends on the couples preference.
Also, I'd like to point out they have the kind of sex that works for them. The happiest couples I know have a fluid definition of sex. For a lot of people, sex means penis-in-vagina intercourse. The happy couples I know count all sexual acts and try to incorporate it in as much as they can. Maybe they give the other person oral, or they do it to each other, and they reach climax. Or maybe they just make out. Sometimes they only have the energy for some fun petting. Any way it happens, they don't hold grudges or a rigid definition of what they "need" to do. It's pretty awesome.
4. They show interest in the other person.
Happy couples are truly interested in their partner. They want to know what their experiences are like and they listen when they tell them something. They don't just wait for their turn to talk. They ask questions and are curious. They remember the small details and they make an effort.
They also do things the other person likes. And they do it happily! It makes them happy to attend something the other person enjoys, even if it's not their most favorite thing. They find joy in watching their partner do something they love.
5. They're reciprocal.
Couples that take notice of when they get something from the other person, be it time, a gift, energy, interest, etc., and make sure they reciprocate something back, are happier. They are sure to not just take. They give back willingly and happily. They notice when things have been tipped in their direction and take care to tip it back. This constant state of reciprocation keeps the couple happily moving forward.
So pay a little more attention to when your partner has done something for you, as small as greeting you at the door (see what I did there?) and then be sure to do it back to them. One positive interaction followed by another positive interaction, and then again and again, builds a lifetime of positive interactions.
There you have it! 5 Things Happy Couples Do. Make sure to try a few of them out if you aren't already doing it and let me know how it goes for you!
Corrin Voeller is a relationship therapist in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. She does in-person and online counseling and coaching with couples and individuals to improve the relationships in their lives. She lives with her husband, children, and extremely fat dog.
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