Have you ever met a couple that made you envy what they had? I don’t mean in the negative sort of way that we view Pinterest-perfect couples who are good-looking and rich. I mean the real, down-to-earth couples who love each other with such depth and understanding that they draw you in and make you wonder how they do it.
I remember one time when my wife and I were first dating, we attended a church service where this gray-haired couple in front of us bobbed up and down together to the music, their sides glued together like they were newly in love, his arm around her shoulder. Almost 10 years later, it’s a picture that we both remember vividly, not because they were “a cute old couple,” but because we could see they had that deep love for one another; the love we desperately hoped for in our own relationship.
Nine years into marriage, I now understand that getting to that point takes a lot of hard work. If you and your significant other are doing the below things in your relationship, you should celebrate that fact together; you are on your way to creating that deep love we all dream about.
Here are 14 things every enviable couple does:
1 | They figure out their own personal issues.
This is always step one. Two halves don’t make a whole when it comes to relationships. If you want your relationship to be excellent, one of the best things you can do is figure out and resolve your issues. Be open to counseling.
2 | They learn their significant other’s love language.
This is a game changer. Once I learned that my wife’s love language is “words of affirmation,” I immediately upped my appreciation of her and it made a huge impact in our relationship. Don’t hesitate on this one. Figure out your significant other’s love language and then love them in that way.
3 |They learn if their significant other is an introvert or extrovert.
I’m an introvert and sometimes I need space. It took my wife and me a while to figure that out but once we did, things we once thought were issues suddenly became easy to fix: I just needed some time to myself to regain energy. Here is a simple test to figure out if you’re an introvert or extrovert.
4 | They always criticize behaviors, not the person.
Never criticize your spouse’s character or blame a shortfall on their personality or other unchangeable trait. If your spouse has done something to hurt you, speak to their behaviors.
5 | They make “date night” a regular thing.
Whether it’s once a week or once a month, you must invest one-on-one time in your relationship to build that intimacy that makes a relationship so wonderful.
6 | They communicate hurts and disappointments.
Bottling up hurts and resentment is a great way to destroy intimacy in your relationship. When you bring up an issue, be nice, find the right time, and remember to focus on the behavior.
7 | They get on a budget.
No atmosphere sets the stage for a fight like uncontrolled finances. Get on a budget.
8 | They make kid-less vacations a regular thing.
Nothing creates intimacy and bonding like new experiences and time away from the stresses of work and kids. It doesn’t have to be expensive or all that often, it just needs to be for the two of you.
9 | They find a good babysitter.
You can’t go on date nights or meet with friends if you don’t have a trusted babysitter. Ask friends, colleagues, or others that you trust for referrals.
10 | They assume the best.
When your significant other says something that goes against the facts as you understand them, choose to assume the best. You will strengthen the relationship by doing so.
11 | They do things they both like.
Couples who invest significant amounts of time in solo activities end up drifting apart over the years: he wants to golf; she wants to paint. Find hobbies you both like and invest in those.
12 | They don’t split chores evenly.
It only serves to build resentment in the relationship.
13 | They take a time-out when they get too upset.
We all say things we regret when we get too upset. Talk with your significant other ahead of time about setting parameters for a time out.
14 | They find great friends.
Our friends’ support, guidance, and love has had a hugely positive impact on our marriage. Join a church, sport, or other active community and find friends in your stage of life. It’s worth the investment.