There is no ideal relationship. Every couple has to face difficulties and troubles from time to time. However, happy couples are quite different from unhealthy ones. Why is it so? The point is not that such couples quarrel less or that they have absolutely similar opinions about everything. The main differences lie in the way both partners see their relationship and how they solve their conflicts. According to psychotherapists, partners in a happy union do the following things.
Six rules of happy family life
They admit and accept that they need each other
This principle differs from a widespread opinion that partners have to be maximally independent and don’t need anyone. As a clinical psychologist from California Technological Institute Silvina Irwin claims, “we’ve been taught to be ashamed of our need for love and intimacy regardless of the fact that these are human innate needs. Yet, we are often being convinced that if we need another person and love them, we are weak and dependent.”
In a healthy relationship, partners give each other care and emotional intimacy. What does it look like? Silvina gives an example: instead of saying “You are never by my side, you are always busy,” partners in such couples are more likely to say “I need you, let’s spend some time together.” Another partner won’t immerse into their work even more to subdue a feeling of guilt, but they may answer like this: “I am going through a difficult period now. It seems to me that I constantly let you down. I need to know that you love me despite anything.”
They don’t let troubles spoil a relationship
Predominantly, partners have different habits, beliefs, opinions, and expectations. These differences refer to everything: financial decisions, household duties, hobbies, and style of communication. As Chris Kingman, a psychotherapist, believes, “in healthy and happy couples, partners are trying to smooth their differences and consider them as personal peculiarities instead of arguing who is right and wrong.”
In a happy union, partners help each other but don’t compete, and they discuss any contradictions through open dialogue, not a quarrel. They aren’t going to define the winners and the losers since they aim at both partners’ victory. In other words, people in happy couples can turn their differences into benefits.
By the way, do you know who apologizes first in such couples? Not a guilty one, but a person who cares more about a relationship. There is even a saying that an apology doesn’t mean that a person is guilty; it means that a relationship is the highest priority for a person who apologizes.
They immediately admit their guilt
“It’s much more than not being afraid to admit one’s mistakes. I often see that in happy couples, partners are actively trying to admit their mistakes and apologize once they feel they are hurting each other,” says Chris Kingman. The matter is that they have learned not to be afraid of looking imperfect and vulnerable. They have realized that once they admit their mistakes, it raises their self-esteem and positively influences a relationship. Likewise, if they assume their responsibility and show respect for their partner, it gives more confidence and brings pleasure.
A very healthy practice, isn’t it? Why spoil your life with remorse of consciousness if you can apologize the very moment you feel you are wrong?
They are ready to sacrifice their interests
It means that we have to listen to a partner even if they say something we don’t want to hear, to forgive them if they’ve hurt us, and accept them as they are, even with the worst traits. It also implies that your relationship is always your life priority, you treat a partner with love and respect, defend them, and find time for “special” events and moments.
They are grateful and appreciate each other
As Shannon Kolakowski, a psychologist, explains, “when you are appreciated, it helps you not to feel lonely or unloved, it makes the partners closer and heals.” If you feel that a partner really appreciates you, you understand that they see your best traits. Correspondingly, if you always show a partner how much you appreciate them, you help to develop those traits. According to Kolakowski, “in the happiest couples, partners are able to appreciate what they have.” They have goals, and they want to move forward; at the same time, they know how to be grateful for the things they already have.
They don’t accumulate offenses
Offenses spoil a relationship. They accumulate, grow, and start destroying your connection with each other. A person starts “re-living” an offense again and again, which influences their relationship with a partner and communication with them. Chris Kingman underlines that in a healthy relationship, partners don’t postpone the process of solving a problem that has appeared, and they do it productively. Or, provided they decide not to bring up a problematic issue, they really forgive a person and forget, but don’t subdue their anger slowly spitting it at a partner.
Even ideal partners hurt each other. Yet, they approach the problems with understanding, compassion, love, and respect, which makes their bonding only stronger.
To sum up, the secret of a happy relationship is rather simple: respect, genuine care, and an ability to find compromises. Also, never be afraid of expressing your feelings since silence is the most powerful and destructive weapon. Being sincere and straightforward has a lot of benefits. In the first place, it proves that you trust a partner and believe that they deserve your trust; secondly, it spares your and your partner’s time and efforts since they don’t have to guess what your true intentions are; last but not least, it helps to solve any problem easily and productively.