7 Surprising Ways Happy Couples Stay Close
Posted by Girls Guide To on June 26, 2012 at 9:03 PM
My boyfriend and I have been having a rough couple of weeks together and it’s really made me think about how we’re going to move forward…or if we’re going to move forward. I stumbled on this article, written by Charlotte Latvala for Redbook, over a year ago and I keep coming back to it because it gives me so much hope! She writes that when she was single, she thought relationships were like the Beatles’ song, “All You Need is Love,” but soon found out (like all of us I think) that it maybe takes a little bit more than that.
Some things are silly (like air conditioning so you don’t get cranky), and some things are serious (like a word or phrase to end a fight), and well, some things will change with time. But certain essentials are here to stay, as Charlotte points out. Read on for her list of what every couple must have -- besides that Beatles’ basic, love -- to keep their bond going strong.
1. A beautifully framed picture from your falling-in-love days.
Of course you need some wedding photos around the house, but those shots are often about so much more than just the two of you, such as your families, the fabulous dress and the dizzying, hectic stress of it all. So display -- prominently -- a snapshot from your dating days, too, says psychologist Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., author of Opening Love's Door. "Looking at a photo of the two of you sitting in a canoe, or wherever, all gaga over each other, is an instant way of returning to that state when you were falling in love," she says. "You always want to stay in touch with that magic chemistry you first had and strive to go back to those days in some way."
2. A movie you both love.
Charlotte writes: “For many years of dating and marriage, Tony and I had opposite tastes in movies (me: historical, character-based films; Tony: big-bang action movies and complicated thrillers). I was always a little sad that we rarely snuggled up on the couch to ooh and ahh over the same flicks. Then, The Lord of the Rings movies came along. We were both captivated (sword fighting and manly allegiances for Tony, complex characters and moral dilemmas for me -- and Sean Bean and Viggo Mortensen didn't hurt, either). We've finally found a flick -- well, three -- that we're equally passionate about. And we get a "this is our thing" glow whenever one of us throws out a LOTR-ism, such as calling the space between my son's bed and the wall (where all the Lego pieces and Matchbox cars disappear) the Crack of Doom or quoting Gandalf ("Keep it secret, keep it safe") when one of us entrusts the other to make a bank deposit.”
3. A unique anniversary to celebrate.
Your wedding anniversary is a lovely date to remember, but it's not the only milestone that matters. It's even more intimate to celebrate less public moments, such as your first kiss, first vacation together or -- hey -- even the first time the pregnancy test turned blue.
4. An empty-nest dream.
Tom Lee, Ph.D., a professor of marriage and family studies at Utah State University, recently completed a survey of 1,400 married people. One of the findings was that couples who regularly discuss their long-range plans are more likely to stay happily married. "If you have a long-term view, you realize that the daily ups and downs don't mean as much," he says. "Talking about your shared future communicates, 'I plan on being here.' The message is that there are plenty of good times yet to come."
5. A fight that never ends.
Of course, every marriage has its own uniquely prickly issue -- maybe for you it's time spent with your in-laws, conflicting attitudes about money or differing styles of disciplining the kids. The point is, you can agree to disagree and still have a happy, healthy relationship -- if you both accept your differences with grace and good humor.
6. Mad money.
Sure, you have funds earmarked for bills and savings, but every couple also needs a just-for-fun account, says Brown University psychiatry professor Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men. "You need to put some money aside that won't destroy your budget when you use it," he says. Spend it on a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip, a pricey bottle of champagne or front-row tickets to a concert you're dying to see.
7. An oversize beach blanket.
Forget about taking it to the shore with the kids; this one is for lovemaking anywhere in the house, says Haltzman.