No road is long with good company.
Life is tough for each one of us. Sorrow, insecurities, separation, the inner battles and the big bad world make it miserable for us. Life throws stones at us when we least expect them and make it tough to continue. Yet, we prod along. We fall in love, we find someone to share our sorrows and suddenly life changes. A happy relationship is all it takes to change our perspective towards life.
A happy relationship. Doesn’t it sound so romantic? To have someone in life who holds our hand and tells us that everything would be fine at the end – someone who loves us unconditionally and is ready to walk the extra mile for us, with us –that’s the ultimate gift we can get from life.
Yes, a happy and loving relationship is all that we need to take on life and its challenges. However, it’s not easy to get such a relationship. Very few are blessed to be in a happy marriage. Is there any secret behind it? Is it possible to decode it and create one for ourselves? Let’s find out.
Creating a happy relationship – it takes a lot of effort
Relationships demand hard work. You cannot expect it to bear fruit and fill your life with love and happiness without putting in any effort. Most people who enjoy a fulfilling and happy relationship with their partners invest a lot into it in terms time, energy and love. Yes, you need to sow the right seeds to reap good fruits. A happy relationship needs a lot of care. You have to keep on nurturing it. If you are ready to walk the extra mile, you would be amply rewarded, that’s for sure.
Do you often look at your parents and think how they could stay together for so many years? What’s the secret to their happy marriage? It’s not rocket science, for sure. Like you, a lot of people have been intrigued by this question. What makes a marriage work, how some couples stay contented in a relationship for long? Even scientists have been bothered by these questions.
The good news is, unlike UFOs and Big Bang, the scientists have found a definite answer to this. They know what are the elements you need to make a relationship happy and fulfilled.
In a study spanning over 25 years and involving 373 newlyweds, Dr. Terri Orbuch, a research professor at the University of Michigan, found that couples who ended a marriage or a serious relationship, brought up the same set of issues they would improve if they had a change to do it all over again. Lets see what are those issues and how not to let them ruin your relationship.
Let’s talk some more
Words are very powerful. They are the carriers of our emotions. They reveal our thoughts, help us to connect to others and build our image. In a relationship also they play a crucial role. Communication, yes, clear, open and honest communication is the most important element of a happy relationship.
Last week, I saw an elderly couple at the jogger’s park. While strolling around, they kept on talking to each other. It was heartening to see them holding hands, talking to each other and sharing jokes. They have found the recipe to a great, happy relationship.
So, make sure you communicate with your partners. Now, it’s not that everybody who talks enjoys a good relationship. It all depends on how well you communicate. There are certain rules of communication in a relationship and you must follow them.
Maintain eye contact
Always look into the eyes of your partner while speaking. Use simple, positive and encouraging words. Stay away from making any negative comments. Don’t use abusive language even when fighting. Always remember that harsh words leave a dent on the heart of the listener.
Share your thoughts, fears and dreams. Learn to say I love you more often. You don’t need any reason to utter those magic words. Partners, who are in love, never deter from discussing bad issues either. Be it money, sex, relationship issues, kids, the house, vacations – just about anything barring your jobs – you should make it a point to talk about anything and everything with your spouse. Just remember to keep the tone right.
If you are honest in your communications, you can always build an awesome and happy relationship with your partner. Orbuch says, Over 91% of happily married couples say they know their partner intimately.
Learn to deal with money
Do you know the most common reason behind high rates of divorce in the world? Money. It can play a nasty role in your marriage and even break it unless you tame it in the early years of your relationship. Marriage counselors opine that it is not difficult to handle monetary issues if you are open to them.
Decide the financial rules for your family and stick to them. If anyone of you loves to splurge, the other has to pull the rein in. Create a common fund and decide how much you are going to contribute. Plan your expenditures and do not forget to save for your future. If you want to buy anything expensive in future like a house, car or go for an exotic vacation, keep aside an amount for that too.
Give priority to your relationship
“Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is.” funny, right? Do you know who made this comment? It’s none other than the celebrated physicist Richard Feynman. Isn’t it funny that a physicist would be saying this? It also shows how important love is in a relationship.
Actually, if you go by the opinions of the scientists, there are few things responsible for starting a relationship. Love, attraction, sex are a few of these. However, to make it work in the long run and also to give you joy you need something more. Trust, respect, intimacy, and communication are some of the invaluable facets of a joyful relationship.
Respect each other
“Love is honesty. Love is mutual respect for one another.” Respect forms an integral part of a happy relationship. Unless you respect your spouse, you would not be able to win trust, and without trust, a relationship cannot even exist.
When we talk about respect, we need to emphasize the different forms in which it affects a relationship. Respect for each other’s feelings, thoughts, profession and time play a crucial role in making a relationship successful. Giving space to each other also counts a lot. Along with these, you must make sure that you do not talk negatively about your spouse in front of others neither resort to any abusive behavior.
Accept each other
We all have some unfulfilled wishes. “I wish my partner was slimmer or more romantic.” We often say this to ourselves. “I wish she understood me better.” Another one. At the other end of the spectrum, there is uniqueness like an ability to laugh at odd situations or finding positivity in the most dejected situations. Actually, all these make your partner unique and you should learn to accept them.
Holding unrealistic expectations from each other strains the bond. They may even lead to frustrations. We should all try to be happy with whatever we have in life and celebrate them in the right spirit.
Appreciate your partner
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
If each and every one of us remembers this line, only love and happiness would thrive on earth.
Appreciation is nourishment of the soul. Every human being needs appreciation. Lack of it affects self-esteem, makes a person feel unloved or uncared. It can even lead to the death of a relationship if one partner feels that his efforts and emotions are never appreciated. So, make sure that you give your partner ample dose of it. Moreover, it doesn’t cost much to appreciate someone.
Acknowledging the good deeds done by your partner is the least that you can do for your spouse. Kind words, a gift of flowers or a hug would act as icing on the cake. You can cook her favorite dish as an appreciation for what she does for the family. Just do it once and see how loved she feels. She would melt in your arms if you tell her that you value everything she does for the house.
Hey guys, did you feel jealous or unappreciated? Well, this goes out to you too. Men, often do extraordinary things for the family. Not only earning money but being a good husband, taking care of the wife and children need to be appreciated. So, ladies, you know what I am hinting at. Give your husband a bear hug when he returns home today. He may not melt, but would return your gesture with ample rewards in the future. It only take simple gestures like these to be the best women ever in his life.
Focus on good things
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
Do you want to only exist or live? Do you want to live a life that is always full of love, joy, and togetherness? Focus on the good things only. Yes, leading a happy life is all about focusing on the good things. This also holds true for your relationship.
To make your marriage a long-lasting one, you need to only concentrate on the good things in each other. Highlight the virtues of your partner, appreciate them, encourage and help in achieving the dreams. This way, both of your would grow as human beings and make your relationship a long-lasting and fulfilling one.
Make time for humor
What would life be if we are always grumpy? It would be half as fun to be alive. Humor makes life livable. It is a great ability to laugh when things get tough. Life becomes easy if you can laugh off most of your sorrows.
There is one common trait that scientists have discovered in happy couples. It is humor. Yes, almost all happy couples have a quirky sense of humor. No matter how busy they are, they never forget to share jokes or laugh at life. They find time every day for some light-hearted banter. Humor keeps their relationship alive. It infuses new life in it. They are less bothered by the challenges that life throw at them as they can take them in the right spirit.
By laughing off most issues, they maintain a positive attitude towards life. Practicing good humor equips them to handle life in a better way. So, next time you receive a joke in WhatsApp, don’t forget to forward it to your spouse and discuss it when you reach home at night.
Be the best friend to your partner
Who is a real friend? “A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.” Are you that kind of a friend to your partner? Can your partner count on you when the world turns against her? Being best friends is a blessing that only a few couples enjoy. It takes love, care, sharing, and trust, yes, rock like trust to be best friends to each other. And couples who enjoy such kind of friendship can easily create a rocking relationship.
Date your partner
Did you find the title confusing? How can you date a partner of 10 years or fifteen? You can if you are still in love. You can if you want to keep your relationship forever young. If you are passionate about the special bond you share, make time to date each other. This is another aspect of happy relationships that have amazed scientists. People in happy relationships, do things that keep their interest alive in each other and going to date is one of these.
Doesn’t going on a date sound romantic? Yes, it is. It is so exciting to plan and execute the perfect date. You don’t have to spend hours on it. At least, make time to go on a date every month and try to be innovative about the venue. Here are a few ideas that you can use for inspiration.
Take your spouse to an impromptu dinner. Visit the restaurant that you used to frequent before marriage. Comb your city and find old cafés and eateries that offer authentic local cuisine. Visit places where you can get cozy and talk.
Your spouse may love to visit the local museum or art galleries if he loves art. You may also plan to visit entertainment parks for some fun. The idea is to be romantic, give your love a chance to bloom and have fun. If as a couple, you love adventure sports, go for kayaking or bungee jumping. Try water rafting or biking in the woods.
What if you are too tired to go outdoors? Plan a romantic date indoor. Cook together, light candles in the room and give each other a good massage. Watch movies and simply enjoy the day. Go through old albums and relive the memories.
As you make this a ritual, you would get more ideas for dating. Be it funny, romantic or sensual, each date would strengthen the bond and make your union a blissful one.
Sex and intimacy and more
Did you wonder that I have been talking about so many things that make a relationship rock but didn’t mention sex till now? Well, I was looking for the most opportune moment. After trust, respect, humor, and romance comes intimacy and sex. I would like to point out one thing here. Sex and intimacy are different. Both have their own advantages and add different meanings to the relationship.
While we generally equate sex with intercourse, intimacy has a wider meaning. Hugging, kissing, cuddling and even talking about sex falls under intimacy. Anything that makes you feel close to your partner can be considered intimacy.
Physical intimacy is essential for a relationship to continue and intimacy is required to make it flourish. Without intimacy, you cannot make a relationship work in the long run.
Do you know an average couple makes sex twice a week? As per doctors and psychiatrists, this is an alarmingly low number. Sex has various positive side effects on health and relationship and should be indulged more. Moreover, millennials are having less sex than their parents. This also has been revealed by a recent study. Not having enough sex is a sign of couples drifting away from each other. Moreover, it is not at all healthy for the relationship.
So, if you are serious about the relationship, want your marriage to last longer, it is time to buck up and get under the sheets more often. I know you would cite lack of time as an issue, but then you need to schedule your “sex time.” This may sound unromantic or impossible to you, but keeping aside some time for intimacy and sex would make you forget everything else and get into the mood.
It would also let you plan ahead and do things that you otherwise do not get time to indulge. It can be a relaxing massage, elongated foreplay or cuddling or talking about your desires. Enjoying sex is about experimenting with your own body and your partner’s. Try new positions, sex toys, and sexy lingerie and use your imagination to make it hot. Go for role plays, dirty talks and play new games in the bedroom to enjoy the togetherness. Get your partner interested in sex by sending naughty messages.
What about intimacy? Begin your day with a kiss. Hug your spouse before leaving for the day. Once you are back, hug and kiss each other. While watching TV, sit closely. Giving a massage to each other, sharing the day’s happenings and kissing before a good night’s sleep is all that you need to enjoy a rocking marriage.
Find your love language
It takes only a few minutes to let your dear ones know that you love them. An I love you in the morning, a hug at the end of the day or a note to remind someone to take the medicine- love can be manifested in different ways. Couples who are in happy relationships create their own love language. It is fun to have your own rituals of love and intimacy. It can be preparing tea for each other on weekends or sharing a joke at the end of the day.
There are many ways in which you can show your care for your partner and it need not be costly or time-consuming. You don’t have to buy expensive jewelry or take your spouse to fancy restaurants to show that you love. Remembering to wish your husband before a crucial meeting or celebrating the day when you first met is a nice way to show that you value the relationship.
Get your ‘us’ time
We know that you are busy. We all are. We have deadlines to meet, bills to pay and laundry to do. Even happy couples are busy too. Yet, they take out time for each other. That’s the ‘us time’ that they always have for each other. Everyone in a long-term relationship needs to keep aside sometimes only for each other. This is what I call ‘us time’. It fuels the passion that they have for each other and keeps them connected. Just ten minutes. That’s all I ask you to keep aside for each other if life becomes too demanding.
Keep this time only for yourself, only you two. Do not even share it with kids. Simply talk or share each other’s worries. And yes, switch off the mobiles while you talk. Do not let WhatsApp or Twitter messages intrude in your space. Never compromise with this time and make sure that every day you spend a few minutes with your spouse only. It’s the matter of only a few minutes but vital to keep your priorities right and give each other the value you deserve.
The bond you share with your partner is special. Celebrate it, nurture it, and value it. Every day, do something special for each other. A selfless act or a random act of kindness would make your partner realize how much you love her. Be selfless, it pays. Trust me, in a relationship, you need to give more importance to the relationship than yourself. Only then it would flourish and give you abundant joy.
Do you feel blessed to be in such kind of a relationship that is a constant source of joy and laughter in your life? Do you value your relationship? How do you nurture it? What is your secret to a happy relationship?