1. Communicate Openly
Research shows that communication style is more important than commitment levels, personality traits or stress in predicting which couples will stay happy. Healthy couples don’t avoid conflict, but they do know how to keep the lines of communication open. Happy couples know that the best conversations happen without the distraction of phones, tablets and laptops.
2. Don’t Forget the Small Things
Saying please and thank you shouldn’t be reserved for the company. Manners are important – even with the person you’ve been with for 20 years. Extend the same respect to your spouse as you would to a visiting guest. Say please and thank you, make polite conversation and why not offer your partner a drink? A few manners and niceties will go a long way to maintaining a culture of mutual respect.
3. Exercise Together
Studies show that couples who exercise together are not only healthier, but more satisfied with their marriage. Psychology Today cites several studies that report that the symptoms of physiological arousal (the type of high you get from exercise) mimic the effects of sexual and romantic arousal. If you work out together, you will feel sexy, and in love!
4. Go On Vacation
A couple’s retreat can be energizing for a relationship, but so can traveling separately! Many happy, healthy couples take their own short vacations, or have regular trips away with a social group. Being alone, meeting new friends, or enjoying adventures without your partner can be very empowering. Ultimately, you will return to your partner energized, enthusiastic- and more in love than ever.
Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system and releases endorphins. Laughter expert, Lesley Lyle, author of the book Laugh Your Way To Happiness, says that smiling and laughing will make you feel better -even if it is forced! So, even if you and your loved one are both having a hard day, try smiling and laughing for no reason at all. The physical act of laughing will make you happier and healthier.
6. Eat together
Families that eat together, stay together. The supper table is a place for couples and their family members to connect and to receive nourishment – both physical and spiritual. Eating healthy food together at a table will not only encourage good family nutrition, but provides a regular, sacred space for conversation and laughter.
7. Switch roles once in a while
Boredom and routine can make a relationship stagnant. If hubby always drives, why not switch it up next week, so she can take the wheel? Or if she always cooks, why not suggest a few meals prepared by him? Switching roles will not only mix things up a little- it may make you appreciate things from your partner’s perspective. It goes without saying that switching roles in the bedroom can spice up a relationship. If your partner usually initiates sex, maybe it’s your turn!
8. Never Go to Bed Angry (But Do Sleep On An Argument)
There is an old saying, “never go to bed angry”. But is half-past midnight really the time to discuss a problem? If you have a disagreement in the evening, do not discuss things if you are both tired. Set a time to talk the following day, say goodnight, and sleep on it. Things will be much clearer in the morning.
9. Be tolerant of physical change
As your partner and you grow old together, you will both mature and change – and because you have grown so comfortable together, you may be quick to point out flaws in each other. But, if you want your happy relationship to last, you should never mention the the stretch marks, the beer belly or the bald spot! No matter how old and wrinkly you both get, the answer to “How do I look?” is always: “You look beautiful (and I love you)”.