How you can be happy in a long term relationship

Following on from my Number One ingredient post last week here are some more pointers to think about which just might help you to keep your relationship healthy and on track.

1. Focus on your partner’s positive qualities.
In my own marriage and in all my year’s of counselling, I find that couples all complain about similar things, but it’s the happy couples who choose to focus on the positive qualities in their partner.
Then, express your appreciation to your partner and just tell them. This will cement the good things you see in your partner, overriding the negative and annoying things.

2. We all fight and argue.
It’s part of a relationship but it’s how you disagree that counts. Keep your arguments to the point being respectful and kind, it’s not about “winning” the argument, being sarcastic or putting the other person down so you feel better.
Don’t drag everything else into it and you’ll find they are far more easily resolved.

3. Understand your partner.
Even if you don’t agree with them, put yourself in their shoes. Try and see their point of view and agree that you understand their opinion. Show empathy. Then only if you are asked to, express your opinion.
This can “kill” a lot of arguments on the spot as you immediately take the heat out of the situation by agreeing with their understanding.

4. Compliment your partner.
This is something that comes naturally to me but so many people struggle with it. I noticed early on in our relationship that I very rarely said anything against Ian when in company, whereas my girlfriends would spend the evening complaining about their partners.
Try and change your language and compliment your partner in front of others — “He’s a great cook” or “He’s been a big help this weekend.”
You’ll be surprised at the effect it has on how you see your partner. You are validating the person you have chosen to be with.

5. Take time together every day.
Someone said to me recently: “Is it the fact that you and Ian walk the dog every day that keeps you happily married?”
Well, it’s not the whole thing but yes, it’s a component. We make time together every day and because of this, we learned more and more to enjoy just being together. Being married to a pilot means we have a lot of time apart but we always make the effort to text or Skype, keeping that connection.

6. Forgive each other and move on.
Don’t hold a grudge, it is a waste of time and very destructive towards your relationship.
By taking responsibility for your own actions, you will learn to forgive one another and not place a wedge in-between you both. Sulking and harbouring negative thoughts will be a thing of the past as you move on.

7. Have a joint goal.
It’s always a good idea to be working towards a joint venture whether it’s a housing project, a holiday, a hobby, a fitness routine, a relationship goal, a project, or trying out new recipes.
Do it together! This will give you focus, working towards a shared vision.
Healthy, happy relationships aren’t without arguments, disagreements, or flaws. But they do have commitment, respect, love, and laughter. Bringing laughter into your relationship every day could make all the difference!

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