The Secret Lives of Happy Couples
By Analise Pendergast
We all know a couple like this: After years together they still hold hands, make each other laugh and blush, get along famously, and seem to enjoy a dynamite groove the rest of us envy. But what really goes on behind the scenes? Have these two soulmates actually found their perfect match in this big wide world, or are there secrets and strategies to making sure that romantic spirit continues to flourish over time?
In order to maintain the magic and sustain the spark, happy couples know they must:
Start solid. Remember that best friend you had when you were a kid? Whether blissfully playing side-by-side in the sandbox or building an awesome fort together, you two just grooved on being in each other's presence. Happy couples share that same serendipitous groove, if in the all-grown-up world. Romantic chemistry aside, they genuinely like each other as people and truly enjoy walking down the path of life hand-in-hand.
Keep it fresh. Routines and traditions can give a couple a comforting sense of predictability that's both grounding and reassuring. But surprises and adventures are also essential to really keeping that spark alive. Happy couples make a habit of shaking things up a bit by planning weekend getaways to undiscovered destinations, saving their pennies for a dream vacation, or launching fun and ambitious projects together. Having exciting things on the calendar to look forward to and sharing new adventures together reaffirms their connectedness and refuels the romance.
Clear the air. It's perfectly natural for any couple to encounter frustrations, disappointments, and miscommunications from time to time. But if grievances go unaired, they can pile up to a mountain of resentment and put the relationship at risk. Happy couples make sure they keep the communication open, and navigate those inevitable rough spots with honesty and mutual respect. If any issues should arise that seem too big or too complex to resolve between the two of them, they'll schedule some sessions with a couples therapist to help them safely weather the storm.
Have a life. A healthy relationship consists of two individuals who each maintain a strong sense of themselves and take a genuine interest in the other. One may decide to go back to school to pursue a higher degree, while the other may get involved in a volunteer project or a photography workshop. Maintaining individual identities and pursuing individual interests ensures that there'll always be new things to share and to learn about each other.
Tune it up. Whether it be once a month or once a year, a regularly scheduled sit-down can allow for some essential upkeep and maintenance of a healthy relationship. Happy couples may agree to a periodic summit meeting to check in with one another about the overall well-being of their partnership. They may discuss what they've been appreciating about one another, what dynamics could use some tweaking, and what is on the horizon for their future as a couple. A little preventative TLC from time to time helps keep those relationship engines running smoothly.
Analise Pendergast is a freelance writer specializing in topics of sexuality and relationships. She offers writing workshops for women called Sex, Lies, & Language.
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