Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

The #1 Ingredient In EVERY Happy Relationship

Photo: weheartit
The Number One Ingredient In Every Happy Relationship
Love

This is the glue that keeps it all together.

Ask yourself right now — when did you and your spouse last have a laugh together?

Our kids often turn to us and ask, "What is the secret to a happy marriage?"

There is no secret and there isn’t just one thing that keeps us happily married. But, without a doubt, laughter is the glue that keeps us together.

Long-term relationships are a roller coaster ride for sure but all of them have one thing in common: a great shared sense of humor.

Having been very happily married for 28 years and running a coaching, counseling, and hypnotherapy business, I understand relationships and what makes people connect personally and romantically at a deep level.

There are many components to being happily married and I can honestly say combining work, commitment, and time all wrapped up with laughter, marriage really does get better and better each year.

My clients are often horrified when I say to them early on in our sessions, "You might never have the relationship you want with your partner." But clients early on in therapy often think of the worst possible case.

The reality is the relationship might not become what you thought you originally wanted but something so much more fulfilling and loving. I could never have imagined being this happy (for the most part) 32 years ago when I first met my husband

People spend their lives trying to change their partners, but rarely looking inside of themselves, rarely accepting they are the ones who need to change, rarely taking responsibility for their feelings.

It’s when people take responsibility for themselves, stop the blaming, start accepting their partner for who they are, start communicating better, taking the time to be with one another, appreciating each other’s views, and having a laugh together every day that life really takes off on another level.

I’d love to share with you some tips that have really helped my own marriage and that of my clients grow and deepen over the years.

By keeping ourselves focused on these points below laughter has become part of our everyday life:

1. Laughter has to be number one.

Every day, we really do have a laugh about something, often something quite trivial, but we always have that connection, even if it’s just something small, perhaps something like Bella, our puppy, did.

Often when discussing serious matters such as money or work, we always end up making a joke of some sort at the end. Even when we feel upset because we know how to lighten the situation we can "get back up again".

Having a daily laugh stops us from taking life too seriously and keeps our vibration high so we have positive mindsets.

2. Focus on your partner’s positive qualities.

In my own marriage and in all my year’s of counseling, 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 harboring negative thoughts will be a thing of the past as you move on.

8. 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!

Louise Armstrong is a Family Relationship Coach, Counsellor and Clinical Hypnotherapist. If you’re struggling with your relationship, come and join our closed FB group especially created for women to move forwards in a caring, non-judgemental environment, “Let’s Talk Relationship & Life.” Take the relationship quiz here and see where your relationship is right now.

This article was originally published at The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.

Author
Expert