The habits you develop can have a powerful impact on your relationship with your partner. But all habits take a bit of work to incorporate into your life. Luckily you have great motivation: A happy relationship. Visualize yourself and your partner living together harmoniously. Take baby steps to improve your behavior, and if at first you don\’t succeed, try again and again until you have changed for the better.

Here are some habits to cultivate for a sustainable, happy relationship:

1)    Be generous in small ways. Sure it\’s fine to buy him the ski trip to the Alps he\’s always wanted, but small gestures can really make a difference. Bring him a cup of coffee in bed. Empty the dishwasher every once and awhile when that\’s clearly his job—especially if he\’s extra busy. Acts of love that are above and beyond are acts that bring joy to the recipient and the giver, too.

2)    Laugh, repeat often, and recycle. Couples who share a moment together, whether it\’s a big yuck or a passing amusement, are building a happy mutual history. Even if you\’ve had a near catastrophe that you can laugh about later, you are creating a bond that\’s exclusive and special to the two of you. The good news is, you don\’t always have to have new material. You can reminisce later and recycle that laughter-inducing event.

3)    Hang out with supportive people. Studies show that couples that associate with others who bolster their relationship are even happier than those who remain a twosome most of the time. Friends or family members who put down your partner are not good for your marriage and ought to be associated with sparingly. Watch out for friends who put down their own partners, too. They\’re almost as toxic.

4)    Break the routine. Turn off the TV. Snuggle in the morning before you get up. Take a walk together. Just don\’t fall into the rat-race pattern of getting up, rushing to work, coming home, eating dinner, falling asleep in front of the TV and then getting up to do it all over again. Yes, you\’re insanely busy. But it only takes a few thoughtful minutes to remember why you\’re together and take some time to appreciate it.

5)    Talk about your dreams. Both of yours. Remember when you first got together and had wonderful discussions about what you wanted to do with your lives? When was the last time you checked in with your partner? Does he still want to travel the world? What would he do if he won the lottery? If he could start all over, would he choose the same career? Are his life dreams different now that you\’ve both grown and changed? Take some time to talk about things other than how the kids are doing in school, or if the roof hold up until you can afford to repair it.

It\’s important to develop good habits to maintain a good relationship. When you do, you\’ll both be rewarded.


Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional.  If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.  You can reach her here: