How many couples do you know who are genuinely happy together? Just because they load their social media accounts with selfies and lovey-dovey photos of each other doesn’t mean a couple is happy.
There are deeper and more important feelings two people must experience. Check out these 13 characteristics of what really makes a couple truly happy together.
1. They honestly like and respect each other
Happy couples are OK with not always agreeing and are not threatened if their partner doesn’t want to do something with them. “Even when annoyed or hurt by the other, they still are respectful,” Lesli Doares, couples coach and author of the book Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After with More Intention, Less Work, tells SheKnows. “They never call each other names or lash out in other ways. They support each other in public, even when they disagree.”
2. They believe the best of each other
“When there is more than one way to interpret an interaction, they choose the one that puts their partner in the best light, not the worst,” says Doares. For example, they know that any argument is for the benefit of the relationship and neither takes it personally.
3. Happy couples have sex that is not goal-oriented
“This means that having sex for the sole purpose of pleasure and being together supersedes whether or not they climax,” Dr. Rose Hanna, a licensed marriage and family therapist and professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, tells SheKnows. “Once sex becomes goal-oriented, then failure is an option, and subsequently, anxiety increases. Anxiety is the death of good sex.”
4. Happy couples tend to be more nonsexually physically affectionate
“They hold hands more, give hugs, rub each other’s shoulders and give hugs more readily than other couples,” says Hanna.
5. They are sincerely interested in what is going on in each other’s lives
That goes for everything from thoughts and feelings to activities. “They are curious about how the other sees them and the world and can have deep discussions without acrimony,” says Doares.
6. Happy couples show more appreciation to their partner
Truly happy couples are more likely to provide verbal praise, appreciation and support to their partner. “They truly feel valued in the relationship and are more verbally expressive of those feelings. In other words, their verbal interactions are more often focused on positive and affirming than negative and attacking,” says Hanna.
7. Happy couples communicate effectively
“Truly happy couples express what they want and need without blaming each other, Kim Olver, a relationship coach and author of Secrets of Happy Couples, tells SheKnows “They also know that not all communication is verbal. They are aware of their body language and avoid hurting each other, while using touch to communicate their love and support for each other.”
8. Truly happy couples are committed to each other
They’d never cheat or even think about cheating. “I believe this enables couples to have a greater degree of trust and commitment, which takes their relationship to deeper levels,” says Olver.
9. Of course they want to be together, but don’t always have to be
“They see the relationship as adding to their independently content lives, not as a way to fill an emotional hole or as a way acquire something — not being alone, social status, a family, etc.,” says Doares.
10. They are no longer trying to change one another
Many couples have things about their partners they wish were different, and they spend a lot of time trying to change each other through their dissatisfaction. “Truly happy couples have learned to graciously accept each other and have let go of the need to change the other,” says Olver. “In fact, they may have even discovered how that trait benefits them.”
11. They are genuinely relaxed about what their partner says or does
“They are not sensitive to their partner’s mood shifts, and they are always there for them, showing unwavering support instead of being worried or anxious,” Rori Sassoon, professional matchmaker and CEO of Platinum Poire, tells SheKnows. “You would never doubt or second-guess your partner, as you have earned a certain type of friendship and respect within your relationship.”
12. Both partners feel a sense of acceptance
“You accept the other person for who they are and for who they are not, for their favorable characteristics and their faux pas. When you can accept them without bitterness — this is a strong couple,” says Sassoon. Truly happy couples also report feeling completely confident that they can be their true selves with their partner.