Our last blog shared four of the habits that healthy couples practice. This second installment of the habits of healthy couples provides four more examples of habits that improve any relationship.
Express Love in your Partner’s Love Language
The concept of love languages (which originated with Gary Chapman) contends that individuals have different ways of feeling loved and, as a result, tend to communicate and express love to others in the same way. However, couples often have different love languages and therefore when one partner is communicating (in some form) their love to the other, the other partner may not actually feel loved. You can see how important it is to know your partner’s love language and consciously try to show them love in the way they perceive it! The five love languages are words of affirmation (someone who feels loved by hearing loving words, receiving compliments, etc), quality time (deliberately investing time in them), touch (affection as much as sexual intimacy), gifts (receiving thoughtful or meaningful gifts, especially spontaneously), and acts of service (doing something concrete to help the other person like doing the dishes to taking care of the car).
Have Both Shared and Separate Interests
Even among healthy couples, there is a continuum in this category, but a balance of having some shared, but also some separate, interests is important. Having shared interests is a way to stay connected and have fun together while having separate interests is a way to maintain one’s identity as an individual and not put pressure on the relationship to share every activity. Since not every couple naturally has many activities they both enjoy in common, it may take both of them being flexible and a little adventurous to try new things and together, discover mutual interests.
Remember You’re a Couple First, then Family
If you and your partner have children, especially young children, they can consume so much time and energy that it becomes difficult to remember you are also, and first, a couple. Developing an identity though as a family, to the exclusion of being a couple, does a disservice to yourselves and even your children. For you to feel connected and fulfilled in your relationship, you need to relate directly to your spouse or partner, not through the children, and for your children to feel as secure as possible in their world, it helps them to know their parents have a solid relationship and it doesn’t depend on them.
Avoid Attacks and Generalizations in Arguments
As noted in the first part of this blog, resolving conflict well is essential to a healthy relationship. Some of the principles of fair fighting make a significant difference in this regard! In any conflict with your partner, try to stay on the topic and the specific behavior that is problematic for you, and avoid attacking their character or making generalizations that cause shame and are difficult to discuss productively. Focusing on just the conflict at hand and specific behaviors greatly increases the odds of having a successful resolution to the conflict.
For more help in your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact the Adne Institute!