While most of us think we lead happy relationships, the truth is we’re on autopilot.
We do things out of habit or simply because we have to. As much as it’s beautiful, love isn’t easy.
I’ve faced this truth many times in my relationship with my husband. Whenever my relationship with him momentarily flops, I start looking for the difficult, unseen reasons.
I look for the problems we’ve been conditioned to see. And every single time, I almost fail to see that the main problem isn’t outside of us; it’s me and him. It’s us. Our relationship is not a separate entity from us. Our relationship is me and him and everything we have created in between.
Consequently, every problem that arises doesn’t come from a failed relationship; it comes from a failed person. This idea has significantly change our relationship for the better. We understand now that if we’re in for the long haul, we need to establish strong, healthy habits.
We can’t stay on autopilot. We can’t do things out of habit. We can’t treat each other based on inaccurate assumptions. We need to work on our relationship—every single day. Healthy couples who have been together for many years know what they’re doing, trust me. They don’t take their relationship for granted.
Love isn’t about big romantic gestures. Love is about keeping some healthy habits in mind:
1. They don’t argue to win. Happy couples argue to find a solution. They don’t run away from the main problem and they surely don’t think that having fights is toxic. They have the fight, but they fight fair. Winning is not their purpose. They understand each other’s points of view, even when they don’t agree.
2. They choose their battles wisely. In the movie “Frida,” when Frida Kahlo asks her father about what matters most for a good, happy marriage, he tells her, “A short memory.” It’s not true that we need to talk everything out. Sometimes a short memory is all we need to keep a relationship going strong.
3. Playfulness. My husband and I have realized that whenever we’re in a relaxed and playful mood, both of us are happier and funnier. We’re committed to laughing together and having fun because we know how important it is to stay connected.
4. They spend time apart. Staying together at all times is not the main goal of happy couples. What matters most is the quality of time we spend together, and most importantly, the space we give each other.
5. They’re not prisoners of their expectations. Most times we take for granted the importance of staying in the present moment with our partner. Happy couples aren’t prisoners of their destructive thoughts. They see their partner as they are—not as they wish them to be.
6. They don’t hold on to grudges. Resentment doesn’t fester in healthy relationships. In fact, it’s not even welcomed. Happy couples understand that while they might get hurt, there’s no point in holding on to the problem. They focus on the solution—not the pain.