7 Secrets to a Happy Relationship

Everyone wishes there was a magic formula or some type of button we could push to make our relationships easier, and always happy. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic. Even the strongest of couples argue, and aren’t happy all the time. However, these are the couples who also know how to argue correctly, and get through tough times together.

It’s not just about getting through difficult times as a couple, but knowing how to navigate through life as a unit. Believe it or not, these couples do usually follow certain rules or characteristics, whether they realize it or not. So, what is it they do? Let’s take a look at seven of the best secrets to a happy relationship.

1. Be Realistic
Understand that not every relationship is going to feel like a fairytale. It’s important that both people in a relationship have realistic expectations and goals for themselves, for each other, and for the relationship itself. When you can communicate these goals effectively, there are no ‘surprises’ and no one is let down.

2. Share Your Time
In today’s fast-paced world, spending quality time together is more important than ever. Happy couples know that it’s necessary to make time for one another. That includes unplugged time away from cell phones, work, etc. Make time for yourself as a couple, without interruptions, and you might be surprised at how well you continuously connect and get stronger.

3. Value Alone Time
This might seem contradictory to the tip listed above, but separate time is also very important in a relationship. You’re never going to like all the same things, or the same activities. Having hobbies you enjoy on your own is healthy. Being able to experience things you enjoy by yourself gives you more to share with your partner later, and allows you to fully realize the value of the time you do spend together.

4. Embrace Your Differences
Over time, the things that we once adored about our partner can turn into the things that grate on our nerves. Everyone has little quirks, or different ways of doing things. Stop and think about how you can better appreciate those differences in your partner. Focus on their positive characteristics, instead of trying to pick apart everything they do.

5. Talk, Talk, Talk
You’ve probably heard that ‘communication is key’ many times before. But, it’s worth repeating again and again. Communication is usually the top reason a relationship is strong, and the top reason relationships fail. Understand each other’s communicative style, and figure out what works best for both of you. Take the time to actually listen to your partner throughout a conversation. This is even more important if it’s an argument or a conflict of some kind. Your communication styles could make or break your relationship, so this secret should be something taken very seriously.

6. Be Honest
Most of us don’t think there is any harm in a little white lie, but being completely honest with your partner is essential for a strong, happy relationship. Honesty may not always be the easiest choice, and it may even hurt your partner at times. However, it will always help to build trust. In the end, a solid foundation of trust in a relationship will make it stronger than your partner having a reason to doubt the things you say.

7. Put in the Work
Happy couples don’t keep their relationships on autopilot. Relationships take work, like tuning up a car or tending to a garden. You may be extremely compatible with your partner, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be ups and downs throughout your time together. If you ignore issues, or don’t take the time to tend to the relationship itself, it can go downhill very quickly. Treat it with care, and it will continue to grow.

As you can see, these ‘secrets’ aren’t necessarily anything special that only certain couples are aware of. You’ve probably heard of several of them before. But, it’s not always easy to put them into practice when we’re in a committed relationship. But, using these tips can make a huge difference in how you function as a couple, how strong your relationship is, and your entire outlook on where you can end up together. The secrets are out – and they are yours for the taking!

Written by Kin Leung, MFT, providing couples therapy Burlingame