No one can really proclaim a certain formula to having a perfect relationship.
Although specialists will allude to big picture concepts like making sure your beliefs and backgrounds match up and try to have the same goals, there are much simpler things to do on an everyday basis that will ensure longevity and bliss as well.
When you overlook the small joys of each other’s company you miss out on some of the memorable intimacies that last a lifetime.
A Manhattan-based couples therapist named Irina Firstein spoke to Men’s Health about what those small things are and came up with an essential eight.
1. Be Affectionate
Never underestimate the instant gratification you get from giving and receiving affection.
It doesn’t have to lead to sex, and some of the most powerful moments don’t, but it provides a constant reminder of your love.
“Many couples are too busy to touch or feel that if they do it will lead them to sex. And if they don’t have time to get physical, they don’t touch,” Firstein says.
“This is a huge mistake. Touching is part of broad-based eroticism and does not have to be goal oriented, but rather a playful act between partners.”
2. Make Greeting A Big Deal
Believe it or not, but happy couples are actually happy to see each other.
You should hate to see her go and be amped whenever you reunite. Even if you’re being over the top, she’ll appreciate your cheesiness.
“Stop what you are doing when your partner leaves or returns and look at them, greet them, and give each other an embrace—the kind where you relax your bodies into one another’s.
This promotes and strengthens feelings of affection and connection. It makes the other feel loved and important,” Firstein says.
When you’re gone she’s going to long for that embrace and praise when you see her again.
3. No Phones
I don’t have to go into much detail to convince you of the monopoly our smartphones have on our attention.
So imagine the feeling your spouse will have when she notices that you’re not on it at all and when you’re the one who monopolizes her attention instead.
“You need to be present, available, and accessible to your partner,” Firstein says.
When you’re able to sit, talk, and enjoy each others company without aid from any device, your bond will strengthen.
4. Go Down Memory Lane
Whether it’s reminiscing on the moment you guys first met and the way you felt at the time, or the day you first wanted to say I love you, frequenting down memory lane is important because it keeps the relationship fresh.
A good way to make going back down memory lane easier is to be intentional about incorporating scents into your dates and activities.
One study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that nostalgia makes you more hopeful for the future.
5. Those Who Sweat Together Stay Together
You can experience peak happiness with your partner every time you work out, if they become your workout partner. It’s one way to show your vulnerable side as well as help each other improve.
There’s truth to the saying that couples who sweat together stay together: Research from the Journal of Personal Psychology suggests that engaging in a novel activity together, as opposed to walking the dog or reading in bed, breeds heightened relationship satisfaction.
6. Share Sleeping Habits
By nature of having separate lives, it’s easy to get in the habit of falling asleep at different times.
Maybe you have to get up at 4 a.m so you have to sleep routinely early that night or possibly she has to stay up late to study for her CPA, things happen.
But if you want the best opportunity at the happiest relationship, going to bed at the same time is a great way to it.
When your schedules are synced, you’ll create an element of closeness.
Kissing her goodnight in bed is very intimate and is another way to forge your bond. Even if it’s not possible, it’s something to strive for once a week, says Firstein.
7. Cut Loose
As simple as it may sound, laughing is a major component to a happy relationship.
Research from the University of Kansas found the more times a woman laughed at a man’s jokes, the more likely she became romantically invested.
But the secret is not her laughing at all of your jokes, rather you two sharing laughs together. Sharing jokes you two can refer back to builds closeness.
8. Spontaneous Text Messages
When you get into the swing of a relationship it’s easy to become a boring texter.
“What do you want for dinner?” or “Did you pay rent?” can make it less enjoyable seeing your lover’s name pop up as a notification.
Instead, send random long-multiple page text essay’s going full out on why you appreciate them. It doesn’t have to be overtly sexual, as long as it’s genuine and shows you’re thinking about them.
“I like the idea of surprising texts or surprises in general,” says Firstein. “Routine and familiarity kill the romance. Newness and surprise are what make things exciting.”
If it’s in your budget surprise her with gifts, too. But ultimately keeping her on her toes is the objective.
When you do these nonexpensive things, you’ll notice that the relationship will become more light-hearted and healthy.
No one is going to have all the answers to defining what exactly makes a healthy relationship, especially when they’re all different, but identifying a common thread among them is helpful to understand how you can ensure one with your spouse.