Wednesday, May 21, 2008

10 Things Happy Couples Do

Happy couples know that the real relationship beginswhen the honeymoon is
over. They know that unless you maintain the garden oflove, its beauty
will wither and die. In a recent column, you discovered the10 relationship
mistakes to avoid. Now discover the 10 things that happycouples do:

1. Go to bed at the same time.
Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn't wait togo to bed with each other to make
love? Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed atdifferent times.
They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakesup later to do
things while their partner sleeps.

2. Cultivate common interests.
After the passion settles down, it's common to realize thatyou have few interests in common. But don't minimize the
importance of activities you can do together that you bothenjoy. If
common interests are not present, happy couples developthem. At the same
time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will makeyou more
interesting to your mate and prevent you from appearingtoo dependent.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side.
Rather than one partner lagging or dragging behind theother, happy couples walk comfortably hand in hand or
side by side. They know it's more important to be withtheir partner than
to see the sights along the way.

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.
If and when they have a disagreement or argument, andif they can't resolve it, happy couples
default to trusting and forgiving rather than distrustingand begrudging.

5. Focus more on what your partner does rightthan what he or she does wrong.
If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find
something. If you look for what he or she does right, youcan always find
something, too. It all depends on what you want to lookfor. Happy couples
accentuate the positive.

6. Hug each other as soon as you see each otherafter work.
Our skin has a memory of "good touch" (loved), "badtouch" (abused) and "no touch"
(neglected). Couples who say hello with a hug keep theirskin bathed in
the "good touch," which can inoculate your spirit againstanonymity in the world.

7. Say "I love you" and "Have a goodday" every morning.
This is a great way to buy some patience and tolerance aseach partner sets out each day
to battle traffic jams, long lines and other annoyances.

8. Say "Good night" every night, regardless ofhow you feel.
This tells your partner that, regardless of how upset you are withhim or her, you
still want to be in the relationship. It says that what you and your
partner have is bigger than any single upsetting incident.

9. Do a "weather" check during theday.
Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or herday is going. This is a great way to adjust
expectations so that you're more in sync when you connectafter work. For
instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it mightbe unreasonable
to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about somethinggood that happened to you.

10. Be proud to be seen with your partner.
Happy couples are pleased to be
seen together and are often in some kind of affectionatecontact -- hand
on hand or hand on shoulder or knee or back of neck. Theyare not showing
off but rather just saying that they belong with eachother.

Even if these actions don't come naturally,happy couples stick with them
until they do become a part of theirrelationship. They know that it takes
30 days for a change in behavior to become ahabit, and a minimum of six
months for a habit to become a way of life andlove.

Dr. Goulston is the co-founder of CouplesCompany.comand the author of The
6 Secrets of a Lasting Relationship (Putnam, 2001).

"Life is not about what you've gained, it's about what you've done"

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