Research shows that we enjoy happier relationships when we focus on the happiness of our partner, as well as ourselves.
Naturally, when both people are focused on creating more happiness, it becomes contagious and allows you to continue building a life together from that place.
This is not to say that we are the source of our partner’s happiness, or that we are to always put them before ourselves at all costs, but that our love for them naturally helps us focus on how to make them feel special.
One of the most helpful ways to sustain a happy marriage is to create a daily ritual of asking yourself these 3 simple, yet powerful questions:
1. How can I put a smile on my partner’s face today
When beginning your day with this easy question, it makes you more conscientious about how you interact with your partner throughout the day and allows them to feel like you are a soft place to land in a not-so-soft world.
Consider putting a love note in their pocket as they leave for work, or give them a quick neck rub, snuggle for a few moments longer before getting out of bed to start the day, or give them a specific example of why you adore them. Small gestures can have a big impact!
2. How can I make my partner’s day easier?
With all of the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to focus on our own to-do list, but what would happen if we picked even one small thing to lighten the load for our partner?
Perhaps it’s running an errand for them, paying a bill, returning a phone call on their behalf, packing some extra food for work when they’ve run out of time (or even surprising them with some delivery), tabling conversations that can wait for another day when they return home exhausted, and the list goes on.
Adulting can be hard work – a little ease can go a long way. If you can’t think of something, feel free to go ahead and ask them!
3. What can I tell my partner that I appreciate about them?
In a society with a drive-thru mentality, it’s easy to get swept up in bouncing from one thing to the next, and expecting more and more (and faster), perhaps without even expressing gratitude.
Partners who feel appreciated show up with a more generous and collaborative spirit in their marriage, while partners who feel criticized and underappreciated, begin to withhold and withdraw.
Finding things to appreciate your partner for daily, helps create a happy, healthy relationship (I’ve seen this to be true with every single couple I’ve coached over the years).
Change it up so it doesn’t feel scripted or unoriginal. Perhaps one day you let them know that you appreciate that they made you a coffee, or brought home a surprise, or let you snooze for a few moments longer in the morning, or stood up for you when someone was being rude. The list is endless.
The key is to be specific and sincere in your daily appreciation.
Asking these three questions every day is probably the most potent secret ingredient to having a happy marriage for life.