What’s The Secret To A Long, Happy Marriage? Research Shows The Key Is Having These 5 Relationship Skills

Do you know a happy couple?

Maybe you do, and maybe you envy their contentment and their love for each other a little bit.

They don’t necessarily tell you they’re happy, but you can tell. How?

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They never complain about each other in front of their friends or family. Their affection for each other is palpable. They’re always touching, or smooching, or looking at each other with fondness and adoration.

They really know how to have fun together, too. They’re always off on some adventure. They seem to prefer each other’s company to anyone else’s, but they’re very comfortable doing their own thing, too.

They trust each other. There’s no jealousy. There’s no bitterness. There’s no contempt.

There’s only a genuine sense of devotion and respect.

You wonder what their secret is. Are they just more compatible with each other? Have they each lucked out and found a really mature, “together,” and loving partner? Are they just blessed with more resources and less problems?

Or do they have a kind of special love that just works like magic to keep them happy?

Maybe you wish you had a little bit of their magic for your relationship, because in your own marriage, it seems like it’s just one problem after another.

All Happy Couples Are Alike In Their Happiness, But All Unhappy Couples Are Unique In Their Misery

I’ve been a family and marriage therapist for more than 40 years, and I’ve seen it all.

I’ve helped couples who were in all sorts of terrible crises. I’ve helped couples get their spark back when they’ve grown apart. I’ve also helped couples figure out what was missing from their relationship if they were feeling a loss of passion and affection for each other.

I’ve also studied the dynamics of happy couples through extensive research into the science behind relationships—what works or doesn’t work to keep two people in love and together.

What I’ve discovered about both happy and unhappy couples is that the body of scientific research matched my clinical experience with thousands of real people.

You know what I’ve concluded? That this quote from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is true:

All happy couples are alike in their happiness, but all unhappy couples are unique in their misery.

So, what does that mean, exactly?

Well, if you look at what unhappy couples claim is the reason for their unhappiness, you’ll get an almost infinite number of answers.

My partner doesn’t care about my feelings or needs.

My wife stopped wanting to have sex with me a long time ago.

My husband is stingy and controlling.

My partner has a gambling problem.

We just can’t seem to get along. We fight about everything.

Her family is too involved in our life and I hate it.

He’s an alcoholic.

She’s a workaholic.

He’s a womanizer.

She’s never happy.

I mean, I can go on and on to describe the kinds of PROBLEMS that most unhappy couples claim is the reason for their unhappiness. In this way, their misery is unique.

And if they can’t seem to solve the problems, a lot of time they end up splitting up or divorcing.

Then there are the happy couples.

Guess what? They have just as many problems as the unhappy couples. Research shows that at any given time, ALL couples have about ten problems they haven’t been able to solve, ever.

Even If You Manage To Solve A Problem, A New One Inevitably Pops Up. That’s Just Life.

Whether or not you have problems doesn’t predict how happy or unhappy you’ll be in your relationship.

You know what does predict how happy you’ll be together?

It’s the same thing that makes all happy couples so alike in their happiness: They know how to stay connected through thick and thin, through good times and bad, through life’s ups and downs.

And HOW do all happy couples stay connected, no matter what challenges arise?

They share 5 specific skills that allow them to weather any argument, any setback, any disappointment, and tap into an endless wellspring of love that keeps them together and content year after year after year.

Learn These 5 Skills

The 5 Skills All Happy Couples Share. Do You Have Any Of Them?

In a way, happy couples aren’t a mystery.

They just know what to do to stay connected, no matter what. They do this by knowing—and cultivating—certain relationship skills that keep their love thriving and strong, well into the golden years.

Maybe some had no choice but to learn these skills along the way, because they were motivated to make their relationship work. Maybe some came to their relationship with these skills because they had great role models growing up. Maybe some had to do a lot of personal work to get these skills.

Whatever the case, the good news is that anyone can learn these skills. They’re not complicated. But they are powerful in the face of what they can do to bring you and your partner closer together, even if you are the only one making the effort to master them.

Here’s what all happy couples do:

  1. Happy couples show up for each other.
  2. Showing up means that you’re present—emotionally, socially, and physically—for each other.

    It means you hug them when they come home and kiss them when you part. It means holding their hand when you’re walking together and snuggling together on the couch or in bed. It means being sexual together.

    It means telling your partner what you’re thinking and feeling and being appreciative of each other.

    Showing up is being aware, present, and available to each other.

  3. Happy couples tune in to each other.
  4. Tuning in is being aware of what your partner is feeling and experiencing at any given moment by focusing on their words, their body language, and what they’ve been sharing with you.

    This kind of tuning-in and awareness applies to YOU as well as your partner. You have to be aware of what you’re doing as well as what your partner is doing. What effect is your behavior having on your partner?

    Tuning-in also means being on the same page, working together, being a team, and having each other’s back. Couples who’ve been together a long time are in-sync this way. They have a private love language, they understand each other’s nuances and have inside jokes.

    You can decide to be the one to show up and tune-in and it will make a HUGE difference in your relationship overnight.

  5. Happy couples understand each other.
  6. You don’t have to agree with everything your partner thinks or does, but you must be able to understand where they’re coming from.

    You don’t take things personally if they get crabby, or show up late, or forget to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher.

    You don’t take it personally because you understand what’s behind their behavior. Maybe they’re feeling stressed at work. Maybe they’re worried about their aging parent. Maybe they forgot to check the traffic report before they left the office.

    When you understand who your partner is, at the core, it lessens anxiety and builds trust.

  7. Happy couples know how to be congruent in their values and actions.
  8. Happy couples don’t just show up, tune-in, or understand their partner, their actions are congruent with what they know they need to do in order to create harmony in the relationship.

    For example, if you’re out of town and you know your partner gets anxious if they don’t hear from you for a while, and you don’t text or call them to let them know everything is okay, then you’re being incongruent.

    You’re not putting your behavior in line with your understanding of what your partner wants in the relationship. You’re acting out of your own reality and not trying to understand your partner’s reality.

    Being congruent also means knowing how to ask for what you want, and that means understanding your own values, desires, and needs.

  9. Happy couples know how to communicate with each other.
  10. If you’re in a relationship, it’s impossible NOT to communicate. But communication isn’t just the words you say to each other. Communication can also be body language, tone, and the things you don’t say that can make or break your relationship.

    When couples say that they don’t communicate well, they mean that they don’t really understand one another, or that they’re not on the same page.

    Knowing how to communicate well is a skill, like any other skill. It takes deliberate practice to do well. There are certain techniques that work better than others. It takes a willingness to reflect on your part of why it’s not working, and act accordingly.

When you learn these 5 skills and practice them daily, you can turn any unhappy relationship into a joyful, connected, and strongly bonded relationship, virtually overnight.

That’s exactly why I’ve created a program that shows you how to master these skills, in an easy-to-follow, enjoyable-to-watch video format that you can start watching in a matter of minutes here:

Start Watching

The Program That Shows You How To Master The 5 Skills That Create A Happy, Resilient Marriage

My video program, Wake Up In A New Marriage, gives you the tips, techniques, exercises, and strategies to help transform your relationship from ordinary to extraordinary, virtually overnight.

It does this by showing you how to master the 5 skills that will strengthen your connection.

When you strengthen your connection, you can’t help but change your entire relationship.

You’ll begin to see all the things your partner is doing right, not focus on everything they’re doing wrong.

Your partner will want to please you, and you’ll appreciate them for it, instead of feeling resentful about what’s missing.

You’ll see problems as opportunities for relational growth or adventure, instead of impediments to your closeness.

You’ll understand what your partner needs to feel loved and be able to provide that to them enthusiastically, and without keeping score.

They’ll be more physically affectionate, and you’ll feel relaxed in their presence.

You’ll share more of what’s really in your heart, instead of just talking about bills, schedules, or nagging about the to-do list.

There will be WAY less criticism, defensiveness, withdrawal, and contempt. Those unpleasant aspects of your daily life will fade and disappear.

You’ll wake up one day and realize your marriage isn’t what it used to be.

It seems more light-hearted, kinder, and more loving. You’re happier than you’ve been in a long time.

Isn’t that wonderful? It all starts here:

Reconnect With 5 Skills

You’ll no longer wonder, with envy, why some couples seem to have it all and be so in love, and why you’re feeling so disconnected and lonely in your own relationship.

You’ll be that happy couple.

And you’ll realize that your happiness was always within reach.

May you have an extraordinary day,

Pat Love

P.S. How can you connect with your partner if you’re mired in complaining and problems?

In my program Wake Up In A New Marriage, I’ll teach you better, healthier ways of relating, including a three-step method for reframing complaints so that both of you avoid getting stuck in go-nowhere problems that only create frustration and disconnection.

Learn More

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