If you want to get healthy, good habits are a must. This is true of getting physically healthy: Regular exercise and healthy eating habits will help you. It’s true of getting emotionally healthy: Regular self care habits will help you. It’s also true of relationships: The right habits will keep your relationship on top form.
Are you ready to give your relationship a health tune up? Check out these ten habits of healthy couples:
1. They Accentuate The Positive
You know how it goes. Work was busy, you’ve got so much to do, you’re already stressed out and then your partner forgets to take out the trash again. Here’s the thing: Focusing on the bad builds resentment. Instead, focus on the good things. The way he always brings you coffee in the morning. The way he always compliments your hair. Look for the good and let that be your focus. You’ll appreciate your partner much more and find more joy in your relationship.
2. They Say Thank You
Did your partner make a delicious meal? Was he your staunchest supporter when you went after that promotion? Take a moment to say thank you. Saying thank you lets your partner know how much you appreciate the things they do. Getting into the gratitude habit reminds you of why you love your partner, and it makes them feel valued.
3. They Don’t Let The Sun Set On A Fight
Like Elton John said (more or less): Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Going to bed angry means waking up feeling resentful and starting the day off on a bad footing. If you catch yourself in a fight before bedtime, call a timeout. Take a few minutes to sit down together and find a resolution so you can go to bed at peace with each other. As well as stopping you from going to bed angry, doing this reminds you that your relationship is more important than your disagreement.
4. They Take Time To Say Hello and Goodbye
It’s the simplest thing, but so easy to forget. How often do you say goodbye with a reminder to buy milk or pick up the kids? Or unload the stresses of the day on them when you get home from work? Try this new habit instead: When you see them in the morning or whenever one of you is arriving or leaving, take the time to kiss, hug and say hello or goodbye. Doing this will keep the loving connection between you foremost in your mind instead of drowning it under daily worries.
5. They Make Time For Each Other
A healthy relationship can’t run on autopilot. If the only time you spend together involves kids, friends, chores or work, your relationship might not stay the distance. Make regular time for each other, whether that’s a weekly date night, or getting a weekly babysitter so you can enjoy a night in. Take a little time every day to enjoy a meal or beverage together and talk with each other.
6. They Cultivate Shared Interests
Healthy couples know they don’t have to do everything together – but they want to do some things together. Shared interests help you build a strong bond, and give you time together that’s purely for fun and pleasure. If you want to get adventurous and take up kayaking or ziplining together, go for it. Or keep it sweet and simple with a favorite show you watch together, sharing the Sunday morning papers over coffee, or even reading aloud to each other.
7. They Cuddle and Hold Hands
Physical intimacy isn’t just about sex. A great healthy habit for couples is regular cuddling and hand holding. Regular affectionate physical contact keeps you feeling close and connected and establishes intimacy between you. Hold hands when out walking, snuggle up when watching a movie, or simply take a moment to give your partner a hug.
8. They Really Talk To Each Other
If your only real conversation is a harried “tell Nancy to take the peas out of her hair” or “did you remember to order the groceries?” It’s hard for your relationship to stay healthy. Learn to talk to your partner about the things that really matter – and learn to listen. Taking time to talk with each other about your dreams, feelings, fears and innermost thoughts helps you grow together.
9. They Do Things Just Because…
Don’t wait for a birthday or anniversary to buy your partner a gift or cook them a nice meal. It’s easy to get into the habit of only doing nice things for each other on special occasions, or with the hope of getting something in return. Why wait? Even something as simple as picking up a favorite candy bar or offering a foot rub will surprise your partner and remind them that you were thinking of them.
10. They Work On Healthy Communication
All couples fight sometimes, but the fights don’t have to be dirty. Dragging up the past, sarcasm, and personal digs are all surefire ways to turn a disagreement into a melting pot of resentment and hurt. Healthy couples learn the art of centered, compassionate communication that gives both parties the chance to be heard without judgment. Focus on finding mutual solutions, not on being right.
If you want to build your relationship stamina and help it stay healthy in the long term, start cultivating these ten habits today.