You know those friends of yours who always look so happy together? The ones who you know not only look happy but who are happy? Together. Don’t you sometimes just hate them? Don’t you wonder the top secrets that the happiest couples already know?
What do they know that you don’t know? That is always the question, whispered among those who wish they too could be so happy.
Here are the answers.
#1 – Sex, Sex, Sex, Sex.
So, let’s just start with the obvious one.
Every happily married couple has a sex life that suits them. There is no exact formula for how much sex a couple must have to be happy. Instead, each couple needs to decide what is best for them, to talk about it and play around and meet each other’s sexual needs in a way that makes everyone excited.
I have a client whose husband wants to have sex EVERY night and, while she really likes having sex with him, every night just doesn’t work for her. She used to just rebuff his advances, which made him feel badly, but on my advice she talked to him about it. She explained how she felt, they agreed that she would be the instigator and that she would instigate often. That worked for both of them and they were happy.
So tick this one off of your list. Talk to your partner about your sex life and make a plan to make it work well for both of you.
Sounds fun, right?
#2 – Equitable division of labor.
I have known many, many married couples. I have known many, many divorced couples. What is the differentiating factor that exists between the two? Equality in execution of chores.
My 15 year old daughter did a survey for school once. Who were the happiest parents among her friend group? She discovered that those who shared the household chores, particularly the meal planning, were the happiest.
Why? Because chores are a HUGE bone of contention for many couples. HUGE.
What usually happens is is that the person “in charge” delegates the chores to their spouse. The “in charge” person has expectations about the execution of the chore and if it’s not done within the expected time, or in the expected way, tensions flair. The delegator takes it personally and lashes out and the executor is left bewildered because they had no idea what the expectations were.
If both people are responsible for the delegation, and execution, of the chores then a huge issue just disappears. Things get done, or don’t, and both partners are responsible.
So, my daughter reported, my ex-husband’s and my decision to divide and conquer (he would work and I would run the house) was the deciding factor in the failure of our marriage. My sister in law and her husband, who equally shared home responsibilities, are living happily ever after.
I wish she had done this research earlier…
#3 – Inside jokes.
What really? How can that be? That is such a little thing.
Happy couples are like a little islands unto themselves. Sure, they have families and friends and jobs and responsibilities but they also have things that they only share with each other. Inside jokes.
Imagine this. You and your spouse are at a family BBQ. Tensions are flying over something. Politics, perhaps. And then your father in law says something, something that he ALWAYS says and that you and your spouse have whispered about in bed at night. You meet eyes as the statement is made and you just connect. You smile and nod and go on with the day with a warm feeling in your tummy.
Connection is what real love is about. And having a secret is super fun. So having an inside joke, a combination of the two, can’t be beat for keeping couples close.
#4 – Pie in the sky hopes and dreams.
Happy couples are couples who not only dream big but dream big together.
Remember when you were young and falling in love? Hours would be spent talking about the future – the jobs, the house, the kids, the happily ever after. And then life happens. Day to day living gets in the way of those dreams.
But not for happy couples. Happy couples still dream together. It might be little things, like dreaming of a movie date on Friday, but they dream together and work as a team to get it done.
So dream big. Or small. But dream together.
#5 – Putting each other first. Period.
Yes, yes, I know. There are so many important things in our lives these days. Making money is one of the first that comes to mind. Making sure our children grow into successful adults is another. And then there is exercise. And friends. And hobbies. And your phone.
And all of these are important. But one thing that you realize, when you no longer have a partner, is that none of these things really matter because you, well, you don’t have a partner.
So make your partner your priority. Every day.
Work is important but so is getting home for date night. That Saturday morning 15 mile run? Go for it but if you could instead spend the morning alone with your spouse, consider it. A movie night with the girls? Bring your husband instead. Movie negotiable. The phone? Put it down.
Consider all the good that could come from making your spouse a priority. Connection, laughter, physical affection, good will, sex, happiness. Arguably more life enhancing than the money and the muscles and the children with a perfect score on their SAT.
Being part of happy couple isn’t something that just happens. It, like all of the best things in life, takes concerted effort.
That effort at work pays off with a raise. That effort at the gym pays off with muscles. Why not make that effort with your partner and be one of those truly happy couples?
So listen to the top secrets that the happiest couples already know. Go home, look your spouse in the eye and kiss them hard, throw your dirty clothes in the hamper, laugh about the co-worker you love to hate, talk about a trip away together next month, make love and fall asleep happy.
It will all be totally worth it. I promise.
If you are still reading this it’s your goal to be one of the world’s happiest couples.
Let me help you, NOW, so you can reach you goal sooner!
Email me at email@example.com and let’s get started.
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.