One thing you must recognize is that those who have happy and healthy relationships have no secrets. The secrets of a happy and healthy relationship only exist for those who don’t have a happy and healthy relationship, those who have difficulty defining happiness, those who have difficulty defining a relationship, those who have never had a happy and healthy relationship, and those who are not in a relationship at all.
If you are one of those people who believe that a happy and healthy relationship is a secret, I have listed below some of the ‘secrets’ people in unhappy and unhealthy relationships or those not in relationships at all will find helpful in them developing, engaging in, and maintaining happy and healthy relationships:
- The first thing you and your mate must do is to define a relationship. What does a healthy relationship look like for you as an individual and for you and your mate as a couple? Until you all define and identify what a healthy relationship looks like, you all will probably engage in a situation, instead of a relationship.
- Just as you and your mate took the time to define a healthy relationship, you all must also identify and define this thing called love. It must be defined from an individual perspective, as well as from a couple’s perspective. The problem with those of you who have unhappy and unhealthy situations is that you view love as a word, a term, and something to utter, instead of action. Love entails action, not reaction. Love should never become a distraction and if it’s definition involves any type of detraction, there is no relationship at all.
- You and your mate must both define happiness for your individual selves, as well as a couple. What does happiness mean to you as individuals and as a couple? Too often, what makes your mate happy as an individual and in a relationship might be something different for you. As a couple, the two of you should have a conversation about your individual needs and expectations for a healthy relationship, which includes happiness that is a contribution to the relationship and shared by each of you.
- You and your mate must bring your own internal happiness to the relationship. Too often, one or both of you in the relationship are looking for your mate to make you happy. No one can make you happy! Happiness is an internal state! If you depend on external tings and people (including your mate) to make you happy, you will engage in a dependency that is controlled by others and external things. When the other person doesn’t fit your expectations or those external things no longer exist, your happiness will no longer exist. Therefore, your relationship will no longer exist.
- You and your mate must at least be in the same book and the same chapter, even if you are not on the same page. Both of you must have a relationship agenda, which includes the same vision, individual and couple’s goals, the same or similar expectations of each other, the same direction, and an optimistic view of life, love, and healthy relationships.
- Your couple’s agenda must include short-term and long-term relationship goals, as well as individual goals, as well as how your individual aspirations and expectations will fit with your couple’s goals, aspirations, and expectations.
- For you and your mate to engage in a happy and healthy relationship, you all must also engage in a process of roles clarification. Too often couples get caught up in roles based on gender. Guess what? Both of you can engage in cooking daily meals, cleaning your home, doing laundry, taking care of the children, taking out the trash, etc. However, you must also be realistic as to which of you is the stronger in certain areas, such as handling the bills and other finances, speaking with and/or meeting with contractors, etc. Don’t be afraid to share household and family responsibilities while at the same time, you and your mate take responsibility for those roles where you are stronger.
- You and your mate must have a sense of humor. Learn to live and laugh each and everyday. Share your laughter and good taste, respectful jokes with your mate. Too often, one or both of you take life too seriously. Don’t sweat the small things! Learn to take life in small chunks instead of big hunks. Live and let live; forgive and forget; learn when to let go!
- Get to know each other better. What is it that makes your mate tick and what is it that will tick him/her off? By paying attention to each other and observing the behaviors as well as the likes and dislikes of each other, you will get to know each other better.
- Stop trying to change each other. You were attracted to each other based on some positive characteristics that you felt you just could not live without. Accept your mate for whom he/she is, and don’t forget to highlight the positive each and everyday! Send your mate positive reminders through text messages, emails, postal mail, telephone calls, etc. Highlight the positive on a daily basis.
- Take showers together. Lovemaking is more than having sexual intercourse. You can have fun and enjoy each other and the bodies of each other in the shower; it’s all a part of being intimate, without intercourse.
- Remember, intimacy can take place with a touch, a conversation, a connection, an idea, or anything that you all have in common. Spend quality time with each other. Spend time getting into each other’s head and not necessarily in the bed!
- Both of you must remember that the same thing it took to get your mate, you must keep doing the same thing to keep him/her. Chivalry is not dead; she still likes her chair pulled out for her and the door opened for her. He still likes to receive compliments about how well he looks and he likes to see you wearing sexy negligee at night, not your grandmother’s flannel gown. She also likes to see you wearing nice slacks and a nice shirt, not your old raggedy sweats, unshaven and unkempt. Take the rollers out and let your hair down and get a haircut and shave on a regular basis.
- Pack a picnic basket and find a nice spot for the two of you to go on a picnic. Both of you can prepare the picnic items. The more quality time together, the happier and healthier you all will be as a couple.
- On the other hand, you both need to have a day for your individual selves. A day should be set aside that you and your mate spend time with your individual selves, or with friends and others. Happiness starts with you and ends with you. You must have time to rejuvenate alone so that you will have more energy to share yourself with your mate. Just remember, there must be boundaries; nothing lasts forever!
- There should also be a couple’s day that is set-aside just for the two of you to spend time together on a weekly basis. Nothing or no one should interfere or get in the way of you all spending your special day together.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Communication not only entails talking, it also entails listening. Learn to listen to each other and to respect each other. You don’t have to have the last word! It is important to share your words and wisdom with each other. Also, remember to watch your body language when spending time with your mate. Your body language is also a form of communication. And you don't have to be right all the time! No one is right all the time!
- Remember to compliment each other. You are there to complement your mate. You are not in a race against each other or to be competitive. It is important to remember that you should be in a win/win relationship, not a win/lose relationship. If one of you loses, both of you lose. On the other hand, if one of you wins, both of you win.
- Engage in periodic relationship checkups. Sit with your mate and talk about the positive aspects of your relationship. Look at the negative aspects of your relationship also, but don’t become consumed by them. Find ways to use the positive aspects of your relationship to overcome the negative aspects.
- If you both have taken an oath of happiness, you will work hard to maintain a happy relationship. Write your individual and couples relationship oath for both of you to sign.
Have a happy and healthy relationship! You can do it; YES YOU CAN!