How can you tell if your relationship is really working? Relationship expert and counselor Jena Amarsi has seen many couples come through her door, and has figured a few things out. “Happy couples do a few things that unhappy couples simply don’t,” Amarsi noted. Here are the ways that you can tell that you’re in a happy pairing.
You pay attention to each other in subtle ways
Happy couples respond to 9 out of 10 “bids for attention” – this means when one partner even looks like they need or want some attention, the other partner responds by giving attention, smiling, asking what they need, laughing with them, and simply being there for them.
You laugh in the middle of a fight.
Couples that are working are ones where both parties are able to positively respond to their partner’s attempts to make things better. They know just what silly thing will make their partner laugh and ease the tension of what could become an epic battle. After the fight they are there to support and love each other, and help repair any damage their words or actions may have caused the other person.
You accept one another’s faults without criticism
Yes, even people in happy relationships complain! But they don’t make it a habit to criticize or attack because they genuinely like and respect each other.
You give each other the benefit of the doubt
If one person is cranky, they attribute that crankiness to something outside of the relationship and don’t take it personally. Because they know their partner better than anyone else does, they do what they think might make their partner feel better, whether it’s space or a good meal or a tickle fight. If that doesn’t work, they try again.
You really like each other as people
Seems simple, but genuinely liking your partner is your relationship’s lifeline.
You ask each other for advice on everything, big and small
Happy couples respect and seek each other’s opinions. That means seeking advice on everything from major life decisions to what to make for dinner.
You’re equally affectionate
Couples that work want and need approximately the same level of affection and intimacy. If they want and need different levels, they both give in so the other is happy.
You go out of their way to make each other happy.
Negotiation is important, but people in happy couples don’t necessarily compromise or split everything 50/50. Instead, they both do too much for each other.
You check in with each other during the day, just to see how your loved one is doing
They can name the major goings on of their partner at any given time, what stresses and worries and joys their other half is experiencing at the time.
You celebrate together
When one accomplishes something, big or small, they don’t let the occasion go by unmarked. They have joint goals, so a win for one is a win for both.
If your relationship doesn’t look like this just yet, don’t fret! With the proper help, you can learn about the unhealthy or unwanted symptoms your relationship has, and build a more loving foundation so the challenges you face in your relationship don’t break you. Every relationship is different, and sometimes the smallest, easiest-to-implement changes can have the biggest impact.
Jena Amarsi is a couples therapist, love coach, and relationship expert who uses science to help couples become their best selves, feel happier, and connect on a deeper level. She lives in Vancouver and sees couples from all over the world through her coaching business InLove: Informed, www.inloveinformed.com. Jena believes that love is a verb and that marriage never has to stop being fun.
[Image via CBS]