Healthy couples build their love from robust and solid pillars like respect, admiration, equality, complicity, transparency and trust.
Several years ago, the psychiatrist Mark Goulston set out to determine if happy couples might share certain characteristics. This question led him to investigate further and perform a study in which he discovered that the happiest couples share certain habits that cause them to lead a life based in wellbeing and harmony.
Before proceeding further in Goulston's study, it is important to clarify that having a harmonious life as a couple does not mean you are exempt from conflict or discussion. Conflict is inherent in any relationship, and to think that there are couples who do not discuss issues or have problems is to have an overly simplified view of life. Harmony and love are guardians that allow discussions to happen in an authentic space for learning and growth as a couple.
These are the guidelines that Goulston's study revealed, and which you should review in order to evaluate the state of wellbeing that exists in your relationship:
1. They go to bed at the same time.
Happy couples are synchronized and they go to bed at night at the same time, except for certain justified exceptions, such as an excess of work for one partner or the illness of the other. Why would you want to stay awake when your partner has already decided to go to bed?
2. They cultivate common interests.
One of the strengths that solid couples have is the trait of sharing hobbies or common interests, as well as joint projects. How many activities do you share with your partner? What interests unite you? How can you develop more shared projects?
3. They walk hand in hand.
Mark Goulston recommends that couples walk side by side and hold hands. This gesture is a symbol of unity and affection. Do not lose the sense of companionship. What would it take to get you closer to your partner? What would happen if you were to resume the custom of holding hands?
4. They focus more on what their partner does right than what they do wrong.
If you insist in seeking fault in your partner, I assure you that you will always find something. If you concentrate on finding positive qualities and virtues, I assure you that you will find those as well. What aspects do you focus on? Goulston affirms that happy couples accentuate the positive.
5. They embrace when they see each other after the workday or other activities.
The absence of caresses and hugs in a relationship is emotional neglect with important consequences. How long has it been since you gave your partner a passionate kiss? How do you think increased physical contact would influence your relationship?
6. They trust and forgive.
Forgiveness is the great tool of healing and repair. It provides tremendous relief and it prevents relationships from deteriorating. If we add trust to forgiveness, we drive away the resentment that may follow from unresolved issues or conversations. How many times have you been left with the feeling that you didn't say everything that you wanted to during a discussion with your partner? What do you think you would have to change about yourself in order to be able to sincerely forgive? Why is there no trust in your relationship?
7. They say "I love you" and "Have a good day."
The day begins at home with the people we live with. Knowing that you can count on the support of your partner will make daily problems, challenges, and nuisances affect you differently. Keep the habit of wishing your partner a good day and telling them that you love them. When was the last time that you told them so?
8. They say "Good night" every night.
It is very comforting to end every day at home with the feeling that our relationship is special. What a happy couple shares is much bigger than any troubling incident, Goulston says.
9. They call or send a message to their partner during the day.
Calling or sending a message asking our partner how they are or how their day is going helps to maintain a loving connection and a bridge of complicity. How would you feel if in the middle of a difficult situation you received a message from your partner telling you that they miss you and are happy to be with you?
10. They feel proud of their partner.
Admiration is one of the keystones of a happy relationship. What do you most admire about your partner? How far do you go to show it?
If your life as a couple is truly important to you, and you feel that you are going through a bad time, I invite you to choose one of the habits that you have just read about and cultivate it. I guarantee that it will make you feel better, that it will bring the best out of you, and that it will lead you to make positive changes in your relationship.
You only need to make the decision to begin and to have the will to be consistent, even if at first it doesn't work. Believe it.
This blog originally ran on HuffPost Spain, and has been translated from Spanish.
Also on HuffPost: