7 Habits of Happily Married Couples
Checking into the resort, the lady behind the desk asked if we were on our honeymoon.
“Nope. We’re celebrating our 20th anniversary.”
Happiness in your marriage doesn’t have to end when the honeymoon is over.
And yes, even for us, the honeymoon is most definitely over.
He grates my nerves. I push his buttons.
We both fail one another over and over again. But we have learned to practice a few habits along the way that make being happily married over 20 years later a reality.
See, the most happily married couples aren’t born with some special ability to create perfectly harmonious relationships. They’re not usually people from perfect families, that had storybook childhoods. (Do those people actually exist? I haven’t found any.) Even shared values, goals, and mission in life don’t ensure relationship success.
Very few people naturally fall together perfectly, so we know that being happily married isn’t a result of incredible levels of compatibility.
Our messes always find a way to collide.
Yes, the big details of compatibility, shared values, and communication skills are important, but they aren’t the only things that matter in a relationship. It’s also about the small, simple, day-to-day habits that make the difference.
Here are 7 simple, but significant habits to master in order to join the ranks of happily married couples:
1. Practice unending and unexpectant grace.
Happy couples are made up of two ridiculously imperfect people who recognize their own need for grace, so they openly give that grace to their partner.
When you genuinely give your husband or wife room to fail, they will grow and learn without the unnecessary pressure of being taken on a guilt trip too.
2. Assume the very best of your spouse’s intentions.
This even applies to words or actions that hurt. These situations are specifically the ones where you both need this habit to be applied the most!
Relationships are messy and we all get hurt from time to time. Even the happiest couples go through moments of anger, insecurity, misunderstanding, and frustration. While we can’t completely avoid these moments, we certainly have the power to handle them in a healthier way.
If you choose to believe the best about your spouse's intentions, you’ll be better prepared to overcome the initial pain coming from your partner’s hurtful words or actions.
After the initial sting is out of the way and you haven’t fallen into a trap of taking things personally, you’ll be able to see clearly that your partner loves you and cares about you, and that they probably didn’t know how hurtful their action would be. Otherwise, they would not have done it.
3. Pray together regularly.
Prayer is something that many of us consider to be private. A conversation between just you and God. It’s where we take our most sensitive, painful, and pressing issues. But that’s even more of a reason to include your spouse regularly in your prayer life.
I remember one specific time in our marriage that we were just battling day after day. It seemed like we lost something between us, and replacing it was this big fiery canyon that neither dared to touch.
When enough was enough, we committed to a full month of praying together each night before going to sleep. Even if we were ready to lop the other’s head off, we prayed.
It didn’t take long before God put out our fires of frustration and rekindled the kind of flame we actually wanted in our marriage. Take your marriage and all the other burdens weighing you down before God with your spouse. You won’t believe the transition this one simple habit will make in your relationship.
4. Look for ways to give compliments to your spouse.
Giving genuine compliments to your spouse on a daily basis builds incredible positivity in your relationship. Not only will it amplify your spouse’s confidence and self-esteem, but giving compliments has been shown to be as good for the giver as much as it is for the receiver.
Plus, can you imagine the impact that will be made when you are constantly looking for the good in your spouse instead of what’s wrong?
There is, indeed, no reason not to engage in this powerful habit of happiness.
5. Prioritize and plan time together.
Building in couple time is an essential habit for a happy marriage. A few hours of quality, intentional time spent together each week allows a married couple to reconnect, share, and enjoy each other.
If you struggle to find ideas for spending meaningful moments with your spouse, try a few items from this list:
- Go on a date. Anything from a fancy dinner in a restaurant to a cozy home-cooked meal prepared together will do.
- Game night (video or board games to spark up the playfulness)
- See a movie or a comedy show. Anything that brings in entertainment, lightness, and laughter is welcome.
- Sign up to volunteer together. Choose a cause that you both care about.
- Go for a cup of tea and exchange love letters. Use the power of words to show appreciation and gratitude for your spouse.
- Engage in a team sport. Ensure that you’re on the same team. Sports like tennis or beach volleyball are ideal because they allow only 2 players per team.
6. Say thank you.
Feeling respected, trusted, and appreciated is vital in any relationship. Saying “thank you” is one of the simplest ways of showing appreciation and can often be more effective than saying “I love you.”
PRO TIP: Try this in all your relationships!
7. Focus on your spouse’s strengths.
Couples that purposefully try to appreciate and be attentive towards the strengths of their spouse have happier marriages. There’s no way around it!
When one partner decides to focus on the qualities and values of the other, not paying much attention to their weaknesses or failings, they naturally hold higher opinions of their spouse and will respect them even more.
There can never be too much love and respect in a marriage.
Happy couples don’t necessarily start off practicing all the habits that keep their marriage alive. They built their happiness through the consistent practice of supportive habits.
If you’re eager to strengthen your marriage, start building these habits right away even if you’re the only one practicing them at first. Remember, you can’t control how your spouse shows up in your marriage, but you have full control over the habits that you practice.