Whenever my husband and I tell others we are happy & married with two kids, they are usually really surprised. Mostly because of our age and because we live in a time where true commitment and healthy relationships are a rarity. The average age for marriage in the 1950’s (aka our grandparent’s generation) was between 20-24. Today, people who marry between those ages have the highest rate of divorce. How did we get to this point?
People’s expectations of relationships seem to be set by Hollywood and social media’s standards, blurring their perception of reality. And because of that (and other factors, like not having an example to follow), those same people don’t know how to have or maintain a healthy, happy relationship. Sometimes people learn how to have one after going through a bad relationship (I touched on my experience briefly here) but more often than not the cycle continues. Read on to find out how people in healthy relationships act!
1. They aren’t petty.
When I say petty, I mean that if the other person hurts them in some way, they don’t try to hurt them back. They don’t seek out revenge or feel the need to “get even”. That kind of behavior is mildly acceptable in high school, for the simple fact that you aren’t mature enough to know better, but not in an adult relationship. No one is perfect and there is always room for improvement… for every one. People in happy relationships can also admit when they are in the wrong, instead of always blaming the other person for any problem that arises. When there is an argument in a happy relationship, they figure out a way to resolve it, forgive each other and move on.
2. They don’t break up left and right.
After I went through a relationship that was constantly on and off, I realized how stupid it was to have gone back the third, fourth, fifth ….sixteenth time we broke up. How did I expect that relationship to last if we always wanted to leave each other? What was the point of getting back together if in a week we would be done again? People in happy relationships don’t break up over small things. They value each other and will do anything to avoid losing what they have.
3. They know that love is not enough.
Sure, the idea of love is great. But saying, “I love you” is only a phrase if there are no actions behind it. In order to do that, both people need to be unselfish. From praising them to others and writing love notes to being a shoulder to cry on and never abandoning them in their time of need, happy couples show their love for each other often and in many ways.
4. They appreciate what they have in front of them.
They don’t focus on the things the other person doesn’t have or doesn’t do. They don’t compare their relationship to others, asking “Why can’t he/she be like so and so?”. This doesn’t mean they don’t ever get annoyed of each other. Trust me, that’s expected every now and then. Happy couples are grateful and feel satisfied overall with who they chose to be with. They don’t want or need to be with anyone else, even during the rough patches.
5. They respect each other.
Respect is defined as, “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” It is the most important factor in any relationship. It is something that everyone deserves and without it, your relationship is destined for failure. In a happy relationship, there is no physical or verbal abuse and no one has control over the other. Everything is mutual.
6. They grow together.
Happy couples build each other up, they set goals and push each other to accomplish them, all the while cheering them on. They care about their futures, as they may be aligned one day. They want to see each other succeed and do everything they can to support each other. They hold each other accountable and don’t let each other quit. They are a team working with each other, not against.
True happiness comes from within, so you won’t be able to be in a happy relationship if you aren’t happy yourself. If you don’t love yourself how are you going to love someone else?
What do you think constitutes a happy relationship? Leave a comment, I’d love to know!