7 Habits For a Successful Relationship
Inspired from Dr. Pepper SchwartzGrow Together
We all wonder how to have a successful relationship that lasts forever. Showing your love isn't hard. But we sometimes forget how important it is and how it impacts how to have a successful relationship. Let's look at seven simple, but powerful gestures of affection you can use to create and maintain a good relationship day by day.
1. Say I Love You
There's an old joke about a husband and wife. The wife asks, "Why don't you ever say you love me anymore?" And the husband responds, "Hey, I told you once. If it changes, I'll let you know."
In reality, that's no joke. A lot of people actually believe that since they love their partner, they don't need to come out and say it. But actually using the words, I and LOVE and YOU is really important. In fact, in the Normal Bar survey relationships expert Dr. Pepper Schwartz conducted, 88% of happy couples say I love you on a daily basis. Now, it's not that simply saying I love you is a magic bullet, but those three words do seem to make partners feel more secure, important, and treasured. They help to keep hearts full and let the other person know that the relationship isn't cooling or being taken for granted.
Of course, it's important to back up those "I love yous" with actions, too. Telling them is important. Showing them is even better.
Let's talk for a second about Endorphins. Endorphins are natural hormones created by our pituitary glands. And they are nature's miracle drug for repairing both brain and body. Releases of endorphins are linked to lower risk of heart disease, stronger immune systems, cell repair, and pain relief. Endorphins are even said to counter the affects of aging. But most important to our cause here are what endorphins can do for your relationship. Endorphins can act as a mood mediator. When they are released, they can change the climate from adversarial to collaborative. They can stop aggression and calm anger, and replace those feelings with warmth and love. In other words, they can stop arguing in relationships. And one of the easiest ways to help the body release endorphins is through the use of gentle and reassuring touches. A squeeze of a hand. A rub of the back. A hug. A kiss. Touch is a powerful thing. And relationships need lots of it.
3. Give Compliments
Seems like it doesn't need to be said, but simply paying your partner a compliment from time to time is a great way to show your affection. It is part of healthy communication in relationships. Compliment their looks. Compliment their smarts. Compliment them at home. Compliment them in public. Giving compliments makes your partner feel loved. And that's something we all deserve.
But what's interesting about compliments is that if you practice giving them enough, it will actually make YOU feel better. It's sort of like how practicing gratitude helps you learn to appreciate life better. The practice of telling someone what you like about them makes you realize just how much you actually DO like them, and you start to like them, and your relationship, even more.
And of course, receiving compliments will boost the mood of your partner, making them feel stronger about you, and once that starts to happen, look out. You might just start experiencing some "bonus" benefits, too.
4. Give Gifts
It may seem materialistic, but giving a thoughtful gift every now and again can be a great, and romantic, way to express your love. Giving your partner a gift for a special holiday, anniversary, or birthday can be as simple as writing a poem, sending a love note or flowers, or offering a relaxing massage. But research shows that giving nothing is toxic.
Of course, there are lots of reasons we don't give gifts. Some couples make agreements not to buy gifts to save money. Sometimes you just give up giving gifts because you feel your partner never appreciates what you offer. But in Dr. Pepper Schwartz' experience, often what a partner is saying when he or she says, "It's ok, you don't need to get me anything for my birthday," what they're really saying is "If I have to tell you want to get me, don't bother."
It's really the thought, or lack of thought, that counts. Romantic gifts need to be genuine surprises. They need to come from the heart, not out of a sense of obligation. No one wants to have to tell the other person to give; so if you feel the love, by all means, show the love.
5. Celebrate Occasions
Birthdays and anniversaries are no-brainers. Celebrate them. But Dr. Pepper Schwartz recommends you and your partner find more opportunities throughout the year to hit the pause button and celebrate your life together. Mark other significant life events you've had together – like the day you met or the day you got engaged. If something positive happens at one of your jobs, celebrate. If you get a tax refund – celebrate! If you lose 5 pounds, celebrate! If it's a sunny day, celebrate!
If you're struggling to find something to celebrate, make something up. Or go online and search some random international holiday and try to celebrate that. The Spanish have St. Jordi day in April – a romantic holiday where boys give girls flowers and in return the girls give boys books. In November, Koreans exchange candy on Peppero day. In June, Brazilians celebrate Lover's day.
There are fun holidays like these all over the place, and exploring them with your partner can be a fun way to continue to make your life together an ongoing love fest.
Dr. Pepper Schwartz has a saying. Couples who play together, stay together. Play is an essential part of every relationship. Finding ways to play together – to laugh, to be silly, to exercise, to be creative, to have adventures – it’s an essential element of a strong relationship.
But fun doesn't just happen – especially when other priorities compete for your time. You have to make it happen. Thankfully, doing so is cheap. Play doesn't have to be in the form of an expensive vacation to an exotic destination (although that'd be great). Simple things. Going on a hike. Taking a drive. Hitting the town. Playing video games. They all up the excitement level in your relationship, deepening your connection at the same time.
7. Schedule Sex
Sex is very important for a healthy relationship. The research is clear – couples that have sex regularly are happier and healthier than those that don’t. This article by Health.com addresses well how an active sex life generates happiness in your relationship.
Now there are lots of reasons for not having sex very often in our relationship. For some, medical conditions make doing so difficult, and if that's you, we encourage you to speak to your doctor to understand and diagnose your condition and discuss your options. But for a lot of us, our busy lives just put sex on the back burner. We can only get to it if everything else on our list has been accomplished. And let's face it – that list is getting longer, not shorter. If that's you, here is some simple advice. Schedule sex. Put it on the calendar.
The idea of scheduling sex probably rubs some of you the wrong way, but Dr. Pepper Schwartz has been offering this guidance to couples for years, and it works. We schedule everything else in our lives, why shouldn't we schedule this? In today's busy world, scheduling makes things happen that otherwise might not. So her recommendation is simple:
Send your partner a meeting invite. 9 PM tonight. Location? Bedroom.
They may seem little – saying I love you, touching, giving compliments, celebrating and playing together, scheduling sex – but the truth is that it’s the little things, if practiced often, that can have the biggest impact on the health of your relationship. And if these things don't come naturally to you, it may take practice. But that's true about anything you want to get good at, right? Why would relationships be any different?
Want to learn more about how to strengthen a relationship? Enroll now for free in Grow Together: Secrets To A Lasting Relationship – a new course from Life Reimagined taught by relationships expert, Dr. Pepper Schwartz.