40 secrets to a happy relationship
Ask for what you want
This may seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many relationship problems start with the inability of one or both partners to tell the person they love what they want. Expecting your partner to read your mind isn’t fair to him. Living in silent misery because your needs aren’t being met isn’t fair to you. What happens to your relationship if this issue goes unaddressed isn’t fair to either of you.
-- By Sharon O'Brien
Date your partner
Being in a committed long-term relationship is no reason to stop dating. Dating your partner, that is. No matter how long you’ve been together, a little romance now and then can help you both stay excited about the relationship and happy about the person who’s holding your hand.
Schedule weekly date nights, and a weekend getaway at least every two or three months, to help keep the romance alive.
Live your own life
Your relationship is a very important part of your life, but it isn’t your whole life. Being independent and having a life that is separate from your partner—with your own friends, work and interests—will help you feel validated as an individual and enable you to give more to the relationship.
Don’t base your relationship expectations on love songs and romantic comedies. Those are entertainment; this is your life. Understand the difference and don’t expect your partner to live up to some idealistic view of the perfect mate.
Not from each other, but for each other. You and your partner need to be able to share anything, no matter how personal or potentially embarrassing, and know that it won’t go any farther. Let alone end up as girlfriend gossip or a punch line for the guys.
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Countless studies have shown that sex is good for you. Having sex regularly boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men and helps to prevent late-life incontinence in women. Frequent sex is also good for your relationship; it promotes intimacy and helps couples bond, build trust, and more easily weather daily irritations and serious life crises.
Know why you stay
Why is it better for you to stay with your partner than to be single? If you don’t know, or you can imagine yourself living on your own again without many feelings of loss or regret, there’s a good chance your relationship won’t last. Think about this and make your list. Happy couples know why they are together.
Pick your battles
Every couple argues. It’s inevitable. It’s even healthy. But happy couples know how to pick their battles, let the little things go, and only fight over things that matter. Couples who argue to clarify the issue, determine where each partner stands and find a solution both can support, also tend to be happier than couples who just fight to win.
Share the chores
Unless you’re auditioning for an episode of “Hoarders,” it takes a lot of work to keep your home running smoothly—laundry, dishes, vacuuming, paying bills—and there’s plenty of work to go around. Don’t leave this to chance. Decide together on a fair division of labor, and switch things up now and then to make sure neither of you always gets stuck with the same chores.
Don’t fix your relationship, maintain it
Couples often don’t seek counseling or start talking seriously about their problems until the relationship is broken and one of the partners has shut down. By then, it may be too late. The truth is maintenance always trumps repair. If you add enough oil and coolant to your car at regular intervals, the engine won’t freeze up or overheat. The same goes for your marriage. Frequent tune ups and regular maintenance can keep things running smoothly.