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What happy couples do that struggling couples don't

Posted April 14

Some couples seem to have it all together- what is it they do differently than you? Here are 4 possible answers. (Deseret Photo)

Sometimes we see a couple who seem to have it all together and we may question how they do it. Not every relationship is perfect, but there are some things that happy couples do that only improves their relationship instead of damages it. Here are four of those things:

1. Spend alone time together

Happy couples know they need to spend time together, just the two of them. Between work, kids, activities, and life alone time can be something most couples struggle to get. You may feel you already are spending time together, you are even doing fun things as a family, but your responsibilities are different when your kids are around, and you act differently with other couples than when you’re just with your spouse. You need that time to talk, unwind, and be together, just the two of you.

It may not be possible to actually leave the house and go on a date every week, but try your best to make it happen. Even if it is just the two of you sharing a bowl of ice cream after the kids are in bed, do it. That time is when you reestablish your bond, build more connections with each other, and get the support and love you need from your spouse.

2. Set goals as a couple

Successful couples have goals. Not just individual goals, but goals as a couple and family. It helps you work together towards something. Those goals could be as simple as taking a vacation, or as lofty as buying your dream home. Write down where you want to be in 5, 10, 20 years from now, and create a plan to make it happen. Agree as a couple what you will sacrifice, what moves you will make, and how you will make those goals possible.

When you have goals, it means you are looking toward the future. It helps you feel secure in your relationship, builds trust between the two of you, and gets you excited for things to come. Who better to complete your dreams with than the person you love the most?

3. Talk about their feelings

Couples who are happy know how to express their feelings to each other in constructive ways. This does not mean yelling at them or fighting with them, but rather talking calmly about what happened. Sometimes people, even those who love us the most, do something that makes us unhappy. If we don’t talk about it, then we may bottle those feelings up. Bottled up feelings can lead to resentment, hatred, and explosive fights about something totally unrelated further down the road. When something upsets you, talk about it. Work through it. Seek professional help if needed, but don’t just keep it in and try to ignore it.

4. Share responsibilities

Couples who share responsibilities are usually happier than those who do not. Shared responsibilities means dividing up what needs to be done. It does not necessarily mean taking turns, or you both have the same amount of tasks. It can mean you take over the budget, while your spouse maintains the cars. You may be the one who cooks, but he is the one who does the grocery shopping. You may have 10 more jobs to do on your list than his, but his jobs take up more time or effort.

The point is that you both feel the responsibilities, jobs, tasks, whatever you want to call it, are divided appropriately. When you are unhappy in your relationship, it can be contributed to feeling like you never have help from your spouse. That you do everything in the home, or that they do not appreciate your efforts. Talk about what needs to get done, and how to divide up the work. Then, help out when needed.

5. Support each other

Happy couples know how to support each other. If your wife has a crazy dream of owning her own bakery, support her. If your husband wants to take flying lessons, support him. It does not mean arranging the lessons for him, or renting out a space for her bakery, but rather encouraging them and believing in them. Even if they never move forward with their idea, it is okay. Don’t put them down. Don’t criticize them. Don’t be negative. Support them in every aspect of their life, not just their crazy dreams. Spouses need emotional support; they may need support finding motivation to go to work, or to complete their education.

You need to be their biggest cheerleader. The one they can turn to when they are discouraged, and the one who they want to be comforted by when they fail. You also get to be the one to celebrate with when they succeed, and to stick by their side no matter what they do. Knowing you believe in each other only strengthens your relationship.

If you are not doing any of these habits, it does not mean your marriage is doomed, but perhaps try and make some changes in your relationship. These habits are steps that build strong relationships in years to come and lead to happier marriages all around.

Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in Anthropology and a masters in Psychology. She lives in Orange County, CA and is a mother of twins. Contact her at Meganshauri@gmail.com

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