HOW TO: Have a Happy Relationship

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As you may or may not know, I got married this past July to a sweet and bearded man named Sean. We’ve been together for over three years now, and, as you might have guessed (based on the whole marriage thing), this is by far the most happy, healthy, and successful relationship I’ve ever had.

While I’m no relationship expert, I do feel like I’m in a really happy one, and there are a few contributing factors that I think could benefit anyone’s relationship. Unless the relationship is with your hamster, in which case the hobbies one wouldn’t really work out.

1) Discover new hobbies together.

When we got married, Sean was 23 and I was 22. They say the frontal lobe of your brain doesn’t fully develop until you’re 25, so you shouldn’t make big decisions (like marriage) until then because your judgement will be better. I mean, not everyone says that, but I’ve heard a number of people say that. The theory is that you’re not done growing and developing, and you and your spouse might grow and develop in different directions.

I happen to think that, in our case, being in a committed, long-term relationship so young has allowed us to find new interests that neither of us had prior to meeting each other. For Sean and me, the main new hobby we picked up was hiking, camping, and general outdoorsy-ness. Sean really likes to research new, cool places for us to go hiking or camping, and then whenever we both have a day off from work, we try to go adventuring together.

We both have strong associations with each other in relation to our super fun hobby, which enriches and brings more excitement to our relationship.

2) Try your best not to yell, and always talk through a disagreement.

Neither of us are people who raise our voices when we get upset, so that’s kind of a good start. I don’t think yelling ever helps anything unless you need to let people know there’s a fire in a crowded restaurant. We’re both introverts, so we both tend to turn inward when something upsets us. As it turns out, the way to stop bringing up old issues every time your partner frustrates you is to work through the original issue when it happens. Every time one of us is upset with the other, we sit down and try our very best to communicate how we’re feeling and why.

3) Be patient, listen, and make time for each other.

However, sometimes Sean will be explaining why he’s mad and I’m mad too because I can’t seem to fully understand his perspective and we both feel very frustrated. This is where patience comes in. You have to remind yourself in this moment that this is the person you love to tiny pieces, and your relationship is so much more important than the frustration you’re feeling right in thisΒ moment. If you just stay quiet and allow your partner to talk and explain, even if it makes you feel frustrated for a while, you might calm down a little and be able to better understand where they’re coming from.

 

It’s all about communication and celebrating and nurturing the great love that you’ve found, if you’re one of the lucky ones. I hope some of this resonates with you and helps a little. Even for you and your hamster.

 

Lots of love,

Spencer

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