What do strong, happy couples do that make them happy? Last week I posted Struggling Couples Make 2 Mistakes. This week I wanted to let you know what does research show will bring happiness to a marriage. When you see that happy couple laughing and cuddling at the movies or mall. What are they doing right? Happy couples have some common traits. Every couple is unique and different but their are common characteristics that make great fulfilling marriages. Happy couples respond to each other with kindness as they experience life together. Here are two things that happy couples do well.
Turn Toward and Respond To Your Spouse – Everyday your spouse makes subtle requests for attention. Sometimes it is a spoken requests, other times it is a nonverbal request. The goal is to be accessible, engaged and responsive with your spouse. You turn toward your spouse for emotional connection and intimacy, by responding and engaging each other’s internal worlds, and building romance, playfulness, fun, and adventure you will create connection. These subtle requests are when positive things happen in your life. You want your spouse to respond and engage with whats happening in your life. The request could be for something simple like, just wanting them to come sit on the sofa with you. These requests for attention can also be because your spouse is experiencing stress, conflict or problems. They are requesting attention because they need you engaged to cope with the struggles of life or they just enjoy life more with you close. How you respond to the requests is the key. Happy couples respond 9 out of 10 times. Struggling couples respond 3 or less times out of 10, by either ignoring the requests or demeaning the request. You have to turn toward them with kindness and generosity. This is not large complicated gestures this is just being willing to respond with a touch and a smile, being willing to laugh with them when they are happy and cry with them when they are sad.
- If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. 1 Corinthians 12:26 MSG
Show Kindness – Kindness helps people to feel loved, appreciated, and understood. Some people are naturally kind, and they see and respond with kindness. Others have to work and grow kindness. You develop kindness like you grow a muscle, you exercise it often. The more you work at kindness the stronger and more contagious it becomes.
We spend all of our days looking for things to correct. Most people walk into a room scanning it for problems. Happy couples use that skill to show kindness. They consciously and unconsciously look for ways to be friendly, generous, and considerate. They look for ways to show consideration, kindness and affection. Remember this is a habit that you have to cultivate and develop in the same way that you would strengthen a muscle. Develop ways to make this natural and enjoyable.
- Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3
- Kindness can mean small act of service and unselfishness.
- Kindness is assuming the best intentions of your spouse. When they do something or forget something you believe that their heart is for you not against you. Your kindness will consistently communicate acceptance with verbal and non-verbal actions.
- Kindness is best shown in how you argue. A kind spouse will control their anger and their words will be less critical understanding that you win or loose together. When a tough issues comes up approach it with softness and they have a willingness to listen to the others ideas and concerns.
- Kindness is being willing to laugh with them when they are happy and cry with them when they are sad.
- Kindness is the small things day to day that you share. Things like affection and a smile that you freely give. The goal is to show with your words and behavior that you want to be with them.
Work at creating warmth and kindness. These are skills that you have to cultivate and strengthen. They will become contagious as you serve and love each other.