Love, Family

5 Habits Of The Happiest, Healthiest Couples

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5 Habits of Happy, Healthy Couples

Creating deeper connection and joy in your relationship doesn't require sweeping, grand gestures. Small tweaks lead to big results.

Here are five things happy couples take the time to do that allows them to have healthy relationships:

1. They express gratitude often. 

Thank your partner for making you tea every morning, let them know that you're happy for them that they got the assignment they wanted at work, tell them how much it meant that they stopped and bought you cold medicine.

We all want (and need) to know that our partner appreciates us and that we matter. Practicing gratitude sets a tone in a relationship.

2. They offer requests, not complaints. 

Too often couples fall into the pattern of giving feedback through complaints.

"You never put your laundry away."

"We only go out when you want to."

So much changes when we slow down and get up the guts to ask for what we want. How about:

"I really love it when our bedroom is clean. Could you put that laundry away that's been sitting out all week?"

"I think we need to start getting out more. How about trying that new restaurant after work one night next week?"

Yes, you risk disappointment or rejection, but most of us don't change through critique and criticism. We change when we see rewards or something to be gained.

RELATED: 10 Dos And Don'ts For Healthy Relationship Communication

3. They make time and set boundaries.

If you only give your relationship the time and attention that's left over at the end of the day, there will never be enough. Happy, healthy couples are unapologetic about setting boundaries for dedicated time together.

This might mean going away for a weekend and shutting off your phones, agreeing to once a week arrive home from work at the same time to cook dinner together, having a regular date night or even leaving a party early because you haven't had much time to connect. 

4. They lead with intention, not feeling. 

Relationships seem to be one of the only areas of life we believe we shouldn't do something unless we feel like it or want to. This is a setup for disappointment and letdown.

Strong couples act with intention rather than feeling. You might not feel like listening to your partner's debrief on their day, but your intention is for them to feel loved and supported, so you listen.

You might not feel like greeting them at the door with a hug and kiss, but your intention is to make them feel special, so you do. A little bit of this goes such a long way.

RELATED: How To Listen — Without Getting Defensive

5. They take self-care seriously. 

It's your job to make you happy, not your partner's. As one of my colleagues says, "Happiness is a one person job". Thriving couples put this into action and recognize that when you take care of yourself you are better to every single person in your life.

Time apart enhances time together. Meet up with a friend for lunch, go for a walk, join a club, and know that your partner will be there waiting for you at the end of the day.

Happy, healthy couples know that strong relationships don't just happen — they are constructed and created.

RELATED: 20 Little Things That'll Make Your Relationship Super Strong

Jessica Lyons MS, LMFT is a writer, relationship expert, and psychotherapist. She has a private clinical practice and offers intensive retreats for individuals and couples in the Greater Boston area.