Whether you’re single and searching, single and 'over it', dating, committed, or married for 50 years - you know that relationships are HARD.

We’re biologically programmed to pair with others, but this pairing process invites a host of confusing, overwhelming and complex issues.

The idea of being in a truly happy relationship may seem unrealistic or unattainable, but it isn’t. We see couples that make relationships look so easy, but it often feels like they’re keeping some kind of secret from the rest of the world. How do they do it? Here are five things that happy couples do well:

1. They let the little things go.

The idea of losing the battle to win the war? That applies to relationships. Sometimes we decide that it’s okay to let go of that super annoying little thing that our partner does (cough cough…socks on the floor…cough cough) because at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter that much. Being happy and connected means so much more. When we realize this and practice it, those little things sort of just melt away.

2. They don’t keep score.

It’s easy to keep tally in our brains of all the things we do to make our partner’s life easier, and all the ways that they fail or disappoint us. When we compare these lists, anger, frustration and resentment grow like wildfire. The truth is, we all have the front seat to our own perspective, and we’re much more focused on our own efforts than those of our partner.  It’s quite possible that our partner is feeling just as much of an imbalance as we are, but in the opposite direction (and neither one of us is delusional). If we can try to focus more on the efforts of our partner - even if they look different than ours - chances are that we’ll feel less need to keep score. 

3. They’re comfortable with silence.

Happy couples don’t feel pressure to fill every second with conversation (my husband will chuckle when he reads this - even though we consider ourselves to be a happy couple, we’re talkers). But honestly, this one really is true. Even if you and your partner love to talk (like we do), moments of peaceful silence are really beautiful. Silence allows us to communicate our feelings and needs in other ways, which can be so amazing and impactful.

4. They tell each other what they need.

When you know someone really well, it’s easy to try to predict what they’ll think, feel or do (I just did this a minute ago when I predicted that my husband would chuckle at my last point). Although it’s an incredible feeling to know someone deeply enough to be able to guess what’s going on in their head, its also super important not to try to read their minds. When we make too many guesses about what our partner is thinking or feeling, we can end up halfway through an argument in our own heads before our partner even knows something is wrong. Happy couples ask and happy couples tell.

5. They have true empathy.

Far and away, this is the most important skill that happy couples have. You want the secret to a good relationship? Here it is. Happy couples are really good at empathy (and I’m using it as a verb, because I believe it’s a skill we need to practice, practice, practice). When you can put yourself in your partner’s shoes and imagine a conflict from their perspective (while also keeping in mind that they’re a good person that you admire and want to be with), you widen your own perspective. You create space for the other person, so when you check in and ask what they’re thinking or feeling, you can actually hear it.

Hope you’re having a good day and check in if you need me!

Jen