• Happy Couple

    7 Happiness Habits for Couples

    Like most other worthwhile things in life, being happy often takes work — and that holds true for individuals and couples alike. Here are seven happiness habits that you can adopt in your relationship starting today.

    1. Focus on Sharing Experiences vs. Things. Time and money spent on vacation, for example, versus a fancy new gadget is more likely to reap long-term rewards in the happiness department for couples. Indicators show that vacations are getting shorter and shorter for Americans with 4 in 10 not even using all the vacation time allotted to them, and and this has lead to greater stress and burnout. Don’t let summer — or any season for that matter — pass you and your partner by without taking some time to smell the roses.

    2. Put Feelings Front and Center. When discussing an issue, as a couple, try to concentrate on expressing your feelings honestly as much as possible. If you’re angry, try to uncover the more vulnerable feeling underneath such as guilt, shame, sadness or loneliness. Staying engaged emotionally with yourself and your partner is central to being happy. Try to use “I” statements more than “you” statements in your discussions.

    3. Use Rituals to Reconnect. Every day (or at least once a week), use a ritual as a means of reconnecting and reengaging. It could be an evening walk, morning coffee, Sunday breakfast or weekly date night. These rituals can serve as relationship anchor points in your otherwise busy schedules. But the rule is, no discussions about problems, chores, money or the kids — and consider this time a technology blackout. Silence your phones, power down the laptop and turn off the TV. This time is all about the two of you. If you make this a regular habit, you can shore up the foundation of your relationship so that it can be more resilient to the stresses and strains of daily life.

    4. Stay Present. When you’re not ruminating about the past or fearful about the future, you can be more responsive and emotionally available to your partner. Individual or couples therapy, journaling or getting support from friends and family can all be effective ways to work through issues that are weighing on your mind — as can communicating directly, honestly and supportively with your partner. What you want to avoid is having any emotional difficulties you’re experiencing interfere with your ability to stay present when you’re trying to focus on your relationship.

    5. Practice Gratitude x2. Consider starting a gratitude practice together. At the end of the day, reflect on what you have to be grateful for as a couple. It could be an enjoyable meal that you shared, a night out with friends or a funny moment with your child. Take time to notice and appreciate the small stuff and celebrate your victories.

    6. Share New and Varied Experiences. Hedonic adaptation refers to the tendency to become acclimated to the good things in our lives. For example, that new car makes us deliriously happy at first, but then we start emotionally leveling off until we’re once again as happy as we were before the purchase. Changing things up makes it harder to adapt and helps maintain interest over time. It’s important to remember, however, that you don’t need to implement a drastic change in order to make a difference. Try out a different restaurant, take a day trip, or find a new recreational activity. If date night usually consists of streaming a movie at home, try going to a jazz bar or a museum instead.

    7. Prioritize Your Relationship. Research shows that maintaining a secure attachment in your relationship is fundamental to happiness. There’s little else with a bigger ROI than putting time and attention toward your lives as a couple. Because if that bond is strong, it can go a long way toward helping you weather whatever storms life blows your way. And if you’re finding that your relationship is no longer the safe harbor it once was, consider couples therapy to learn how to communicate more openly and honestly and strengthen the connection that brought you together to begin with. I offer a brief complementary consultation so you can find out if therapy might be of benefit to you and your partner. Feel free to call me at my office at 407-579-2070.



    Therapy services available via Telehealth.