We’ve all seen them, and at one point may have even envied them: happy loving couples who seem to have it all. Happy couples manage to really enjoy each other’s company, are supportive of one another and even exude a vibrant sense of sexuality and romance. It’s a powerful combination, which at times can feel tough to achieve. But there’s good news: having a happy and fulfilling relationship (after you choose the right enough partner, of course) is a skill anyone can develop. All it takes is some “secret” information and a desire to make your relationship the very best.
Develop a realistic view of relationships. Couples who know how to be happy understand that the crazy infatuation stage at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t last. Instead, it is replaced with a deeper and richer feeling of commitment. They also know that all relationships experience ups and downs, so they are not terribly caught off guard or too worried when this happens.
Work on the relationship. Just like anything else in life, a successful relationship needs work. Becoming a happy couple doesn’t just happen automatically. Misunderstandings and problems should be addressed immediately before they fester, because neglected relationships go downhill fast.
Make the most of your differences. Think about what attracted you most to your partner at the beginning of your relationship — it’s probably what drives you the most insane about them today. Take a fresh look at your differences. Focus on your partner’s positive traits and find a way to appreciate what makes the two of you different from one another. Differences balance a couple out and can make them a great team.
Keep it fresh. Include surprises and adventures into your relationships. This helps to keep the adrenaline going and the sparks alive. Happy couples make a habit of shaking things up a bit, so plan that weekend getaway, dream vacation or simply enjoy launching fun and ambitious projects together.
Don’t expect your partner to change. If you and your partner stop trying to change each other, this will eliminate a lot, if not most, of your arguments. Instead, try to compliment your partner when they do something you like. It’s a far better strategy for encouraging positive behaviors.
Respect your partner and don’t take him or her for granted. Treating your partner with respect is very likely to encourage the same behavior in return. Regularly reminding them of how much they mean to you enriches a relationship in really extraordinary ways.
So don’t wait any longer. Now is the best time to include these valuable relationship secrets into the repertoire of your daily life. A small effort can yield big benefits for your love life!
Dr. Robi Ludwig is a national TV commentator and psychotherapist who practices in New York City. She is also the author of the book “Till Death Do Us Part” as well as a contributor for both Care.com and TODAY.com.