The 3 Most Important Habits Of Happy Couples

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The 3 Most Important Habits Of Happy Couples
Love, Self

How many do you do?

John and Julia Gottman are the foremost researchers on marriage in the world as far as I am concerned. They have been observing and following couples for over 30 years, watching their behavior, listening to what they say, and seeing them on cameras as these couples lived in their "Love Lab" in Seattle.

The couple would be there for several days at a time. They would ask couples 7-10 years later some questions and found the happy couples; the ones who said they were glad to be married and would get married all over again to their current spouse without hesitation.

They, then, took the group of couples that were happy after all those years of being observed and came up with the 7 habits that they all had in common.

(By the way, "not fighting" was not on the list of 7 so apparently, couples that fight occasionally can still be happy!)

I will be discussing the top three things that all the happy couples did. Here are the 3 most important signs of a strong relationship:

1. They know each other well. 

They knew what each was feeling for the most part; they were in touch. They knew about things such as whom they liked and did not like at work, their dreams and fears, how each felt about different family members, and so on.

All the happy couples put a value on conversation and spending the time learning about each other.

RELATED: 9 Things The Happiest Couples Always Talk About

2. They consistently express feelings of fondness and admiration for each other.

Whether it's compliments, words of appreciation, and affection, these couples had no problem feeling and expressing positive feelings towards each other. Each person heard positive things from the other.

It did not mean that there never were complaints or negative feelings. It's just that the positive feelings trumped the negative ones and each heard about these positive traits or behaviors or at least saw it demonstrated somehow.

The ratio that I have heard from the Gottmans for an ideal marriage is a 5:1 ratio between positive and negative statements. So remember, if you have something negative to say, that is fine; just come up with 5 positives.

RELATED: 10 Things Truly Happy Couples Do Daily To Keep Their Love Strong

3. They do "stuff" together whether it's folding the laundry, riding bikes, or engaging in a conversation about nature. 

The example I remember they give was that (in their "love lab") if the wife commented about how nice a plant looked, the husband would respond with some response such as, "Yes, that is a nice plant" or even "Yes, but I like the plant over there more."

If the husband just grunted unenthusiastically and this was a patterned response, this couple did not have that sense of "togetherness" that the Gottmans saw was necessary.

An interesting fact is that as they gathered more of their research, the Gottmans could watch a couple and after a few minutes predict with 91 percent certainty if they would be a happily married couple in 7-10 years.

My suggestion then is to practice achieving those three patterns. Spend time knowing your partner. Give frequent expressions and demonstrations of your fondness and admiration via compliments, words of appreciation, and affection. Lastly, do things together; not all the time of course.

Healthy couples also need separateness. However, be together, dance together, clean house together and talk together. These three positive habits have been researched by the Gottmans to be the three biggest predictors of marital bliss. 

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Todd Creager is an expert in relationships. For over 30 years, he has worked as a relationship therapist, specializing in marriage, sex and couples counseling.

This article was originally published at Todd Creager's website. Reprinted with permission from the author.