8 Healthy Relationship Habits The Most Secure Couples Embrace

Purge your most toxic couple habits.

People celebrate practicing healthy relationship habits in the new year. bernardbodo | Canva

Purge your toxic relationship habits and embrace some new, healthy ones. Here are several, expert-endorsed, healthy habits the most secure couples embrace.

Here are 8 healthy relationship habits to embrace, according to YourTango experts:

1. Practice transparency

In general, men could disclose more and women could be more direct. Doing so may feel uncomfortable but can foster intimacy and contentment. Expecting your partner to read your mind is like regressing to infancy when you cried and it was your mother's job to figure out what you needed. Start by saying what you are feeling and asking for what you want. —Dr. Dan Neuharth


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2. Know what not to do

When I ask couples in counseling how they could create a really bad evening together, they generally have no trouble describing exactly what would alienate, anger, and disappoint each other. Ask yourself the same question. Now that you have a roadmap to destruction, you know what not to do. A great way to improve your relationship in the new year is this: Each day, do the opposite of at least one of those relationship-killing behaviors you identified. —Dr. Dan Neuharth

3. Decode complaints

Nagging is a shabbily dressed wish. If you're about to complain, stop and identify the desire underneath. Instead of saying "We never hug anymore," ask for a hug or offer one. It may feel risky but voicing a desire is more likely to draw your partner closer than complaining. By the same token, if your partner complains, rather than ignoring or disputing it, listen for the longing underneath. Greet "How come I always clean up after dinner?" with the magic words, "You're right." Then hand him the TV remote or draw her a bath and, while he or she relaxes, tidy up. You will make more than the kitchen sparkle. —Dr. Dan Neuharth


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4. Give a daily dose of goodness

When we first fall in love, we tend to shower our partners with compliments. In time, these can slow to a trickle. Whether it is kind words, a loving touch, or a warm look, make it a priority to catch your honey doing something right. Love thrives on spontaneity, not expectation. When you are fully present, a single kiss can be a feast. —Dr. Dan Neuharth

5. Be curious about each other

Being curious is a great way to enhance your relationship and your love life. It's easy to fall into the habit of believing you know everything about your partner. Being curious not only makes you a better listener, but it's a great way to add excitement to your relationship. You'll discover new things about your partner, including new things they’d like to experience in (and out of) the bedroom. —Dr. Lori Buckley


6. Face difficult conversations head-on

Sometimes it feels easier to avoid difficult, intimate conversations. But avoiding them can lead to boring, disconnected, passionless relationships. It takes courage to talk about difficult things, like telling your partner you’d like to try using a toy together or telling him/her how you'd prefer to be touched. Sometimes it takes courage to just tell your partner how much you love him/her or to kiss him/her passionately for no apparent reason ... especially if it's been a while since you've done it, but taking risks by acting courageously increases intimacy and passion. —Dr. Lori Buckley

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7. Listen more; hear more

Practice listening and hearing the other person. When someone asks a question or makes a suggestion, check your defensiveness meter. Begin to monitor the chatter inside your head. Notice it and let it go. Look at the person with whom you are speaking, look at his/her eyes, and let go of your thoughts. Take in what he/she is saying and allow yourself to respond from a new place. —Penni Wild

8. Respond more; react less

Practice taming your automatic reactions in favor of a more productive response. Create a practice for yourself where you can find the space that immediately follows getting triggered about anything. Focus on making that space bigger — the space before your habitual reaction. The more you get in touch with that space, the more you will discover your own creative and unique response — one that inspires your highest and best contribution in the moment. —Penni Wild


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Penni Wild is an executive and business coach who advises leaders and organizations on reputation management and strategic communications issues to improve employee engagement and profitability. Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., has more than 25 years of experience in private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist. He is the author of Secrets You Keep From Yourself: How to Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness. Dr. Lori Buckley is a therapist, life coach, and relationship and intimacy expert who helps her clients move from simply coping and surviving to living their best life.