The One Major Difference Between Happy And Unhappy Couples

It doesn't take a whole to keep your relationship healthy, but there is one trait it's pretty hard to do without.

happy couple Katerina Holmes / Pexels via Canva

Finding someone to spend your life with isn't that hard. But making sure it's a healthy relationship? That's the real challenge.

Relationship podcaster Jimmy Knowles states that there's one key difference that distinguishes happy couples from the rest. So, what is this difference, and how can we incorporate it into our own relationships?



The One Major Difference Between Happy And Unhappy Couples

"The major difference between a happy and unhappy couple lies in their kindness towards each other," explains Knowles. Now you might be thinking, "Well, obviously."


However, couples often understate and underuse kindness because it is so obvious. But in a world filled with gaslighting and trauma, sometimes keeping things simple is the best approach, according to Knowles.

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Moreover, according to the Gottman Institute, "Dr. Gottman’s research has revealed, that the more positive actions and feelings you can create in your marriage, the happier and more stable your marriage will be.”

But how do we create kindness in our relationships?

How To Be Kinder To Your Partner

1. Understand their needs.

Want to be kinder towards your partner? "Try understanding them better," says professor of psychology Susan Krauss Whitbourne.


During difficulties, we approach conflict without understanding our partner's point of view. We don't consider their emotional needs and instead resort to yelling.

As you might expect, this approach will only cause further disarray in your relationships. So, sit down with your partner and take turns sharing your thoughts without interruption.



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2. Be careful with your words.

In moments of anger, we often say things that can hurt and frustrate our partners. Understandably — it's difficult to stay in control when you feel like you're going to explode.

But what can do we? The best thing to do is take a break, says licensed counselor Janie Murphy-Neilson. She continues, “Once conflict has erupted it takes at least 20 minutes to physically calm down.”

Taking a break ensures you aren't escalating the situation and allows for better reflection and conflict resolution. "Avoid cutting the break time short, as doing so can escalate the situation as tensions are bound to still be high," says Neilson.

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3. Remind yourself about teamwork.

"A relationship takes two people," says Whitebourne. And just as you expect your partner to treat you a certain way, you must also treat your spouse with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Ask yourself how you want your partner to see you. Do you want your spouse to see you as a safe person full of love and understanding? Or do you want them to see you as a cruel and unkind person?



Remembering these things will help you pause before making a hurtful comment or engaging in harmful behavior.


Making a relationship last is challenging, but maintaining a healthy one is even harder. By keeping these tips in mind and applying them in your relationships, you can better connect and bond with your partner.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.