Most fairy tales make it sound like all you have to do is get the right shoe on the right foot and everything will be perfect forever. The truth is that it’s a little harder than that to make your happily ever after. In fact, some people would say that the whole process of finding each other and deciding to commit is the easy part.ÿ
Once you’re in a committed relationship, the hard work begins. Don’t worry, there are plenty of rewards for your efforts. But it will take some effort – you can’t put nothing into your relationship and expect to get anything out. The math just doesn’t work out.
How do you create your happily ever after? Like a lot of things, it’s the little, everyday actions you take that lead to the outcome you’re looking for. Most couples who have managed to create a long-lasting, happy relationship practice the following tips:
1. Show your appreciation. When your partner does something for you, your home, or your family, make sure to thank them. Even if it was something they were expected to do. Even if it was small. Even if you really don’t see the point in what they did. The simple fact that they put the time and effort into doing the task means something. It really is the thought that counts. Be sure to say thank you.
2. Don’t nag. When you ask your sweetheart to do something, back off and give them a chance to do it. If they need a gentle reminder, phrase it in a way that’s not accusing. “Hey, have you had a chance to do X yet?” goes a lot further than “Are you ever going to do X? I asked you to do it a week ago.” As human beings, we all forget or procrastinate from time to time. Nagging shifts the focus from whether or not the job got done to whether or not your sweetheart did what you said. It becomes a power struggle instead of a simple mistake that needs to be corrected.
3. Split the work evenly. The flip side of the two points above is this: take care of your own responsibilities in the relationship without having to be asked. If you’re in a two-person canoe and only one person is rowing, you’ll only go in circles. Both of you have to contribute.ÿ
4. You don’t always have to be right. We’ve all experienced it. Your partner says something wrong. It’s not that important, but it’s just killing you that it was WRONG. For a happy relationship, if the information isn’t going to matter an hour from now, just let it go. If it is important enough to be worth speaking up about, do it in a matter-of-fact or joking way so you don’t embarrass them. It’s a matter of trust. In a happy relationship, each partner trusts that the other partner will “have their back” and help them avoid looking foolish. That doesn’t mean the occasional teasing is bad. It’s when one partner unnecessarily corrects the other all the time, especially with an “I’m smarter than you” attitude, that it weakens the relationship.ÿ
5. Have your own space. Most happy couples enjoy spending time together. Their partner is one of their best friends. But just like with your platonic best friends, sometimes you need some time apart. It doesn’t matter how much you love your partner. There will be points in your relationship when they will irritate you beyond belief.
If you have a way to get some space and time to yourself, you’ll find that their little quirks don’t bother you nearly as much. Whether it’s a room in the house that’s “yours” or a hobby you do without your partner, make sure you have some “you” time to recharge your batteries.
6. Focus on the positive. You’ve probably heard the expression, “Everything is relative.” Einstein probably wasn’t thinking about romantic relationships when he said it, but the statement still applies. How wonderful or obnoxious your partner is at any given time is relative to how focused you are on those qualities. In other words, if you focus on how sweet and thoughtful they are, that’s how you’ll think of them. The same is true if you focus on how rude and self-centered they are. People see what they expect to see. So if you want a wonderful partner, keep your focus on the wonderful traits he or she has and not on the negative ones.
We hear stories every day about relationships ending, but there are always some that go the distance. By treating each other with respect, focusing on the positive, and occasionally getting some quality alone time, your relationship can be one of the ones that beats the odds and reaches happily ever after.