How to Keep Happy Relationships

A story of my longest relationship

My longest relationship on record is my spouse. High school sweethearts and married 33 years and counting. But don’t tune out if you’re single. A lasting relationship has lessons for everyone, married or not.  The story I want to share is the easiest way I’ve found to make and keep long-term relationships.

One time we were talking to a group about marriage and how to keep a happy marriage. We had discovered a simple method. Every woman wants to know her husband thinks she’s beautiful and every man wants to be right. So we decided every day he would greet me with “Honey, you look beautiful today” and I would reply “Honey you’re right.” Obviously, we were infusing a little humor into our talk, but there is some very profound truth in the story for every relationship. Whether you are making small talk in line at the DMV, looking to connect and improve relationships at work or home this simple two-step method works!

Recognize and acknowledge the Good

Being that beautiful may not fly with my male readers, I’m substituting the word good here.  People are hungry for the recognition and acknowledgment of what’s good about them. We are born with a negativity bias, and so much of our world repeatedly reinforces it. As children, it’s the adults growing up in our lives trying to mold us into who they think we should be. Then we grow up, and the media messages reinforce we aren’t _____ enough. If you have ever been caught off guard by a compliment, then you know that having someone recognize and acknowledge the good in you is a breath of fresh air. You walk away from the person with a smile and a pep in your step. Consequently, you feel great about yourself, that person and the relationship.

Make them right

Another important point to making and keeping relationships is to make the individual right as often as possible. I’m sure you’ve noticed the political discord going on in our nation. Each side is screaming and yelling about what’s wrong with the other parties beliefs and points of view.  No one from opposite sides is walking away friends, and according to a recent article, many friendships on Facebook are ending over the whole issue. But regardless of how opposing our views may be with another person, there is always something that we can acknowledge that is right when we take the time to listen. It doesn’t mean that you can’t discuss your disagreements. However, until you say “you’re right about ____” or “I agree with you on _____” they aren’t listening. And in reality, if there isn’t listening in a relationship, there is no relationship.

Grab your journal; it’s your turn to grow

Take a few moments and reflect on some of the important relationships that you want to be happy and long term:

  1. Make a list of the most important relationships. Have you been more focused on what is wrong with them lately? Is a heartfelt apology needed?
  2. How can you breathe a breath of fresh air into them today? What good or right thing can you tell them, text them or make them aware of in some special way?
  3. What relationships (important or not) are you at odds with currently? How can you use the above truths to improve the relationship and enjoy greater piece of mind.

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