There are certain couples that seem to be happy together all the time, even if they’re well past their honeymoon phase. Why? Chances are they have healthy relationship habits. There are some surprising things in a relationship worth making time for that these very people likely stick to, and therefore they're about as happy as could be. I’ll talk about some of the ways happy couples spend time together below, and you’ll see how very simple the habits are to incorporate into your relationship, as well.
Life moves fast, so a lot of times when we’re in relationships we might get so caught up in our careers and daily responsibilities that we forget about prioritizing our partners. Likewise, they might lose sight of spending time with us — and/or spending the right kind of time with us. Sure, perhaps you and your SO dedicate Friday nights to having alone time together, but are you spending that time staring at your individual phones and not talking to each other at all? Yes, it’s quality time in a sense, but when you think about it, are you really spending time together? Not fully. It’s the little things in a relationship that can make it so special, including picking the right things to spend time on, and weeding out some of the time wasters (looking at you again, cell phones). By choosing to focus on the right ways to use your time together, you and your partner might just be a whole lot happier than ever before. Here are 11 surprising things in a relationship worth making time for, according to experts.
1. Spending More Phone-Free Time Together
Chances are that when you and your significant other are spending time together, your phones might not be very far away. Even if you’re madly in love with him or her, it’s possible you’re still finding yourself scanning through Instagram or Twitter while you’re “spending quality time together.” Well, turn that phone off. Huffington Post spoke to psychologist Alicia H. Clark who said that constantly staring at your phones while with your SO nonverbally conveys to them that what you’re doing on your phone is more important than them. Clark suggested spending time together where you actually turn off, mute, or put your phone out of reach. “This allows your partner your full attention and sends the nonverbal message that time together is important,” Clark said.
If you’ve been together for a while, what’s the point of continuing to flirt with one another, right? Wrong. According to the experts at eHarmony.com, it’s worth making time to flirt with your partner is you want to remain super happy and in love. The experts said it’s a good way of showing your partner you’re still attracted to him or her.
Check Out: Flirt Fearlessly: The A to Z Guide to Getting Your Flirt On , $15, Amazon
3. Asking Each Other More Questions
Another thing you might consider spending doing today? Asking your partner some questions. Let’s say they tell you they didn’t have the best day at work. Ask them why. When they give you that answers, continue to dig deeper. Real Simple spoke to therapist and relationship expert Esther Boykin who said this habit can help both of you to become more engaged. “It’s so easy to get to the end of the day and say to each other, ‘I don’t know, my day was fine. I’m tired,’” Boykin told the outlet. “But being curious about your partner prompts you to be a little bit more reflective, which also opens the door to being more connected.”
4. Touching, Touching, Touching
A little touch never hurt anybody. In fact, for your relationship, it can very clearly help. Debra K. Fileta, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in relationship and marital issues, penned an article for RELEVANT where she suggested making touch an important part of your relationship. Fileta said even if you have to schedule times to hold hands, do it. According to Fileta, an act of physical touch can show your SO that you notice and desire them.
5. Keeping Each Other Informed
Things can get so busy — especially during the week — so it’s very simple to lose sight over what’s happening with each other at any given moment. Marriage therapist Dr. Jim Walkup, LMFT, penned a Huffington Post article on what it takes to be a happy couple, and specifically talked about the importance of keeping each other informed. Slot out time each day where you let your partner know what’s going on in your life. Do they need to know every detail about the annoying person behind you in line at the grocery store? Probably not. But, should they know you aced the presentation at work that you’d been so worried about? Sure thing! According to Walkup, by keeping your partner informed, you’ll be able to better support each other.
6. Trying Out-Of-The-Box Date Ideas
While it’s awesome if you both have the same favorite restaurant and are in agreement on going there every Friday night — perhaps it’s time to mix it up just a tad. According to Arthur Aron, Ph.D., a Stony Brook University social psychologist who spoke to Prevention, that type of date night won’t fuel your passions. Aron suggested making time to add some novelty into your relationship. For instance, try taking a mini road trip for the weekend to a place neither of you have ever been.
7. Building Each Other Up
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having your partner boost you ego. That said, it’s certainly worth your time to build your partner up whenever possible, and not only match their happiness, but help bring it to the next level. Business Insider spoke to relationship expert Esther Perel who noted happy couples are those who “treasure the happiness of the other even if it has nothing to do with them.”
8. Saying “Good Night” Every Night
Mark Goulston, M.D., F.A.P.A., wrote a Psychology Today article on the habits of happy couples, and turns out... they tend to say good night before bed every night, even if they’re not getting along at the moment. Goulston wrote, “This tells your partner that, regardless of how upset you are with him or her, you still want to be in the relationship.” Next time you’re about to doze off without saying those words, take a little effort and speak up.
I could write in this article that you and your SO should never disagree about anything, but that’s far easier said than done. Realizing that couples don’t see eye to eye on everything all the time, it’s vital to remember to spend time practicing forgiveness in your relationship. According to Fileta, the most satisfied couples she’s encountered are those who have the most forgiveness.
Check Out: Fight Fair: Winning at Conflict Without Losing at Love , $12, Amazon
10. Getting Naked
I’m not talking about sex here, necessarily. Rather, I’m referring to sleeping naked. Stylist reported on a UK survey that found couples who sleep naked are happiest in their relationship. So take a minute and strip down before bedtime (and don’t forget to say good night).
A little laughter is the best medicine — and that plays into relationships as well. Prevention cited laughing together as a great way for couples to stay happy. The outlet cited Doris Bazzini, Ph.D. who said, “When people laugh at the same thing, they validate each other's opinions. And inside jokes or pet names—things others just don't 'get'—strengthen ties between couples.” As often as you can, try taking some time and reminiscing about some old jokes you and your SO have together.
Now that you know some of the top expert-advised ways to spend time with your partner, try incorporating some of these habits into your daily life. You might find you and your S.O. become one of the lucky ones whose relationship remains happy and healthy for years to come.
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