Finding that special someone is hard.
Keeping both you and your partner happy is even harder.
There are no guaranteed ways to make a successful relationship. Everyone is different, and the same things that make one person happy might offend another.
However, researchers have discovered a few tips that will significantly increase your chances of long-term success. Here are 15 things you can do today to make your relationship happier and longer lasting.
1. Talk with each other more.
The more couples communicate, generally the happier they are. This is especially true for girls.1 However, how you communicate also matters.
The number of times you connect with your partner through technology like texting, calling, and Skyping does not correlate with relationship satisfaction.1 If you want to keep your partner happy, you need to make time for face-to-face conversations, too.
2. If you don’t have anything nice to text, don’t text.
Texting your partner can sometimes do more harm than good. Couples who text each other to express affection are generally happier, but couples who text each other to apologize, hurt each other, or discuss serious issues or confrontational topics are not as happy.2
Here’s how Melissa Schneider puts it:
Basically, highly satisfied couples were much more likely to text ‘hey sweetie bear’ than ‘huge credit card bill 🙁 we need 2 talk.’
3. Display more items that you acquired together.
Happier couples generally have a larger number of items they obtained together in the room they usually use to entertain guests. This probably isn’t an accident, since they also tend to want people to notice these items more.3
Researchers think this is because these couples are proud of their relationship, and that these items give them more opportunities to talk to their guests about the experiences they’ve had together.
We don’t know if this is the result or cause of their happiness. However, it probably wouldn’t hurt to put that piece of Navajo pottery you bought together in Santa Fe on your coffee table.
4. Apologize and accept responsibility.
The total number of times you apologize to your partner doesn’t correlate with your overall relationship satisfaction. However, the number of times you apologize and accept responsibility for your actions does make for a happier partnership.4
Of course, any apology is better than none. If you don’t apologize, your relationship almost always stays the same (and if you’re apologizing a lot, it’s probably not great), or it will get worse.4
5. Go the extra mile.
Some research indicates that close connections are somewhat interchangeable — people may be more worried about being close with someone, anyone, than with you in particular.5 Basically, your partner may care about having a general sense of connection as much or more than being connected specifically with you.
So, what are you going to do that sets you apart and makes your partner stick with you? Here’s an idea…
6. Try something new together.
When you try activities that are new, exciting, and interesting, you generally feel a greater sense of “self expansion” or what you and I would probably call “self improvement” or “self fulfillment.”6 Self expansion is a key part of building strong relationships.6
When you try activities that make you both feel more fulfilled and invested in the relationship, you both also become closer, more satisfied with your relationship, and develop higher levels of self esteem.6
If your relationship doesn’t provide enough opportunities for personal growth, your partner may also become more likely to cheat on you.7
7. Whatever you do together, make it exciting.
Doing exciting activities with your partner, as opposed to just pleasant ones, generally results in happier relationships.8 A dinner date might be nice, but playing paintball while jet-skiing at night (or something like that) is probably going to keep you both happier in the long-term.
8. If you’re in a long distance relationship, make plans to meet in person.
Couples in Long Distance Relationships, or “LDRs” who meet face-to-face more often are more committed and satisfied with their relationships than people who rarely see each other.9
Translation: Skype won’t cut it. Buy some plane tickets.
9. Learn to be a better kisser.
Both men and women are far less likely to continue a relationship if their partner sucks at kissing (pun intended).10 We don’t need to get into technical details, but here’s a good tip from Mark Manson, specifically for guys:
“… if at least a few girls haven’t complimented you on your kissing before, then you aren’t good enough. If you haven’t kissed enough girls to know if they’d compliment you, then you’re definitely not good enough.”
10. Have sex more often.
Most people report not having sex enough in relationships. That’s true for men and women.11
However, there are also some people who want sex less often. Problems arise when there’s a disconnect between how much sex your partner wants, and how much they’re getting.
The solution? Tip #1: Talk about it.
11. Get enough sleep.
This might be a little harder if you use the last step, but it’s worth getting to bed earlier if you want to keep going steady.
Just one night of bad sleep can make your relationship worse the next day. You become less empathetic and able to resolve conflicts, and more negative and selfish.12
12. Get in shape.
People in excellent or good health tend to have better relationships, and especially better sex, than people in worse shape.13 So make sure your answer is “I do,” when you partner asks, “Do you even lift?”
13. Be okay with being a little jealous, but talk about it.
Some psychologists think that jealousy is a mechanism that helps you become more aware of potential threats to your relationship.14 It also causes you to become more invested and protective of your relationship (hopefully in a good way).
The way to make jealousy into a positive is to talk about it. Partners who discuss their feelings of jealousy are typically more satisfied with their relationships than those who refuse to talk about it or don’t address their jealousy directly.15
14. Develop more self control.
Couples in which both partners have high levels of self control generally have:16
- Smoother daily interactions.
- Less conflict.
- Fewer feelings of rejection.
- Higher chances of forgiving one another.
- Greater relationship satisfaction.
On the other hand, couples with the least amount of total self control usually have the worst relationships.16
As I talk about with Chris Walker and Greg O’Gallagher on an upcoming Road to Ripped Podcast, this is one of the reasons it’s important to budget your willpower. If you spend all of your energy on work, dieting, training, etc, there won’t be much left over to maintain a great relationship.
15. Give your partner more space.
Spending more time with your partner is generally better,17,18 but being too close can also hurt your relationship.
Whenever there’s a disconnect between how much closeness someone wants in a relationship, and how much they get, they’re generally unhappy.19 They also think about breaking up more often and feel more depressed.
If someone wants to spend more time with their partner, but can’t, they’re unhappy.
If someone wants to spend less time with their partner and more by themselves or with other friends, but can’t, they’re unhappy.
Be a happier couple with these tips.
You’ll never make all of the right decisions or say all of the right things. However, you can dramatically improve your relationship if you use these science-backed tips to help guide your choices.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your significant other. Throw in a bar of chocolate, too. Everyone loves chocolate.
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