What Makes Relationships Happier?
The 3 C’s and 3 A’s of Happy Relationships
There are many factors that are evident in happy relationships and one person’s idea of happiness might be entirely different to another’s. Feminine energy will place great importance on relationships and the feeling of being cherished, whilst masculine energy will thrive on performance and being respected. Generally speaking, someone who has strong feminine energy (it can be either male or female) will need to feel the three C’s – to feel confident (secure in the relationship), be complimented and feel cherished. The masculine energy (again, it can be male or female) does well in relationships where they are on the receiving end of the three A’s – they are appreciated, acknowledged and adored. Feminine energy tends to feel hurt when they are ignored and masculine energy can become very sensitive to criticism.
When We Fall in Love…
When we fall in love we become vulnerable as we allow someone to get close to us. They find a place in our heart and we take the risk that by opening up to them, they will have power to either heal us or hurt us. Yet the fact that two people are drawn to each other, two entirely different individuals, will mean that their separateness will sooner or later become evident. It is this separateness (or difference) that causes tension and sometimes great distress, regardless of whether you have a validating, volatile or avoidant style of conflict.
Behaviours that Can help a Relationship become Happier
So how can a relationship survive the inevitable struggles that come with a long term commitment? Below is a well-researched list of behaviours that are evident in happy relationships ;
- Seek help early. On average a couple waits six years before seeking help for relationship problems. This means the average couple lives with unhappiness for far too long. They can become defensive and lonely when they can’t make up, even though they may have tried over and over. It’s hard and sometimes embarrassing to admit that you cannot sort it out between you. Professionals will understand this and very little shocks them.
- Be careful what you say. The happiest couples avoid saying every critical thought when discussing touchy topics. After all, when you want to blame or give out, do you really expect your partner to say ‘here, let me pull up a chair and you can tell me all about how I’m ruining everything for you’?
- Accept influence from your partner. Long term happy relationships tend to turn to each other and consider the other’s needs as well as their own. This helps to build trust in the relationship and keeps goodwill and sharing alive. You need to know you matter and that you are cared for. This includes your partner listening to what you have to say and not always just trying to get their own needs met.
- Have high standards. Happy couples will refuse to accept hurtful behaviour from one another (e.g. criticism, contempt, defensiveness and/or stonewalling). It sets a tone of respect between them. Low levels of tolerance for bad behaviour at the start equals a happier couple down the road.
- Learn to repair and exit the argument. Happy couples have learned how to repair the situation before an argument gets completely out of control. Examples of repair attempts: using humor (but not defensively); stroking your partner with a caring remark (“I understand that this is hard for you”); making it clear you’re on common ground (“We’ll tackle this problem together”); backing down (you may have to yield to win); and, in general, offering signs of appreciation for your partner and his or her feelings along the way. If an argument gets too heated, take a short break, and agree to approach the topic again when you are both calm.
- Focus on the bright side. In a happy relationship, while discussing problems, couples make at least five times as many positive statements to and about each other and their relationship as negative ones. For example, “We laugh a lot” as opposed to “We never have any fun.” A good relationship must have a rich climate of positivity. Make regular deposits to your emotional bank accounts.
- Stay interested. In long term happy relationships, couples remain interested in each other, they pay attention to what the other has to say and set time aside to be with each other. It gives a strong message that you are important to each other. Being busy at home and work means that conversations happen when there are other distractions, like making the dinner, putting the kids to bed, checking email, texts, facebook, etc. When did you last look into their eyes and give them your complete attention? When was the last time you smiled straight at them? Or say thanks like you really meant it?