Thursday, 1 August 2013

A Happy Relationship: The Secret Formula

by David Onogwu on August 1, 2013

We've discovered the secret to a happy relationship...just kidding, there is no hidden knowledge, there is no book to follow, just lots of speculation and theory. So how do those couples do it? You know the ones, they seem so together..even their arguments seem healthy, and we absolutely hate them.

For the sake of research, happy couples have spoken and revealed what keeps them so annoyingly chipper. It's not an exact science so we accept no responsibility if none of these tips work, but if just one suggestion helps in any way then our work is done.

Pretend you just met
Whether you've been together for six months or six years, spend some time each day acting as if you just started dating. Ask each other what you thought of that TV episode or share what you'd do if you won the lottery. Over time, couples stop asking those exploratory, get-to-know-you questions because they think they already understand each other. Since we all continue to change and develop, little daily check-ins like this are what keep the connection growing, chat about something besides the daily grind--at least for a bit.

Limit the chick flicks
If Jennifer Aniston and Ashton Kutcher regularly appear in your living room, your union could be in the danger zone. Romantic comedies can set up unreasonable expectations, which may lead to unnecessary suffering, comparing yourselves with idealized others is a recipe for misery.

Sure, rom-coms can be feel-good escapes, but they may also promote magical thinking about relationships. For example, as partnerships mature and the initial intensity tends to fade, many couples try to recapture the euphoria they had in the beginning. That sort of thinking is only reinforced by Hollywood endings. Stocking your Netflix queue? Treat the rom-coms as, well, treats.

Be the beauty to his beast
Coupling up with an average Joe (with a beer belly) may be the key to long-term love. According to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology, when men were married to more attractive women, they seemed more likely to step up to the plate, says study author Benjamin R. Karney, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles. "But when husbands were better-looking, they didn't seem as engaged in helping their wives achieve their goals."

(Size matters too: When women had a lower BMI than their guy, both partners tended to be more satisfied, according to other research.) The real secret to success? Support. Whether you're motivated by a gorgeous face or some other quality, couples are more likely to enjoy long-run happiness when they're invested in each other's welfare. (We did say that this is not an exact science).

Control the boozing
Any relationship will be shaken and stirred by too much alcohol, but research suggests that young adults who drink heavily (meaning four or more drinks on one occasion for women; five or more for guys) are less likely to wed in the first place and may be at greater risk for early separation if they do. Partyers may be more likely to have commitment issues to begin with, and once they couple up, their bonds may be unstable. If you're going to be in a solid intimate partnership, you're going to need all the good judgment and compassion you can muster. Which means keeping the drinking in check.

Don't hold a grudge
Provided that your partner is able to bounce back from spats, you'll experience greater satisfaction, even if you tend to stay annoyed. The mark of a good recovery: You don't allow conflicts about one issue--say, money--to spill over into other areas of your relationship, such as how you help each other after a tough day.

Tweet responsibly
According to a survey of 100,000 people from, avid tweeters tend to have shorter relationships--10 percent shorter, on average--than those who don't microblog. Having your eyes glued to a smartphone screen isn't exactly conducive to romance. Be sure your tendency toward technology (tweets, texts, and otherwise) doesn't take up time better spent engaging in heart-to-heart communication with your partner, no one likes talking to the top of someone's head.

Embrace success
Sudden one-sided success can put a strain on a romantic partnership, especially if it's the woman that finds success. This may be due to a husband's discomfort with his wife's success. On the other hand, the wife may grow dissatisfied with her current marital arrangement because she now has the confidence and opportunity to move away from a bad relationship. Try to remain a power couple: Encourage and celebrate each other's successes, big and small.

Nurture your friends' relationships
You might divorce-proof your own. The breakup of a close pal's marriage increases your odds of splitting by as much as 75 percent. Some people may see another's divorce as permission to change their own life, but when you encourage friends to stay together (happily), you may generate reasons that also apply to your bond.

Twist the sheets at least once a week
The average married couple gets busy about two or three times a month, but increasing your romps to once a week generates as much bliss as scoring a raise at work, according to researchers from Dartmouth College and the University of Warwick in England. It's not so much the sex itself that leads to happiness; the frequency is a better marker for a successful relationship. Couples who like each other end up in bed more often, and it's the liking-each-other part that increases joy. But seriously, who needs a reason? It's kind of a no-brainer.

"A wise woman knows the importance of speaking life into her man. If you love him: believe in him, encourage him and be his peace".

Good luck!

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