Observing 15 to 20% of long-term happy couples has allowed psychologists to unearth some of their secrets. Even though they have faced the same crises and conflicts as unhappy couples, they have learned to react differently.
The Top 9 Secrets of Happy Couples:
Secret # 1: Power sharing
Members of happy couples have a power relationship … as equals. They therefore share power or, at least, they alternate it. They make the least compromise possible because, in a compromise, the two are losers. They are demanding vis-à-vis their couple, but organize themselves so that there are always two winners. They decided to be happy rather than trying to find out who was right and who was wrong. Unlike unhappy couples, they do not seek the approval of their partner, but know how to appreciate it when they get it.
Secret # 2: The right distance
Happy couples have learned to balance their need for emotional fusion with their desire for independence. Being well differentiated, they are then capable of true intimacy. They have found a balance between moments of frustration, which maintain desire, and moments of satisfaction, which rekindle their happiness. They understood that intimacy is not synonymous with fusion, but that it was necessary to be two to be in relation. In addition, they are as happy alone as together. Fusion couples are indeed the most dysfunctional.
Secret # 3: True friendship
The fundamental basis of long-term happy couples, contrary to popular belief, is not passion, but love and friendship, a feeling based on real knowledge of the other and not on intensity of sensations and emotions. Passion may have been the source of their attraction, but it slowly turned into more peaceful, more stable love.
A happy couple is made up of two people who, from passionate lovers, have become two lovers, two parents, two partners, two friends who continue to make love together and carry out short, medium and long term projects. Like friends, they focus on what brings them together, rather than on what opposes them. They consider the other as a very special guest in their lives. When asked by psychologists about the secret of the longevity of their love, the main response of members of happy couples is most often: “I have never tried to change my partner. “
Secret # 4: Defusing
Happy couples also experience crises, but instead of questioning their couples, they use their energy and creativity to develop the art of negotiation. Far from overbidding, they defuse any escalation by apologies, by making humor or by giving reason to the other. Psychologists often say that it is the way couples go to war that is the real prognostic indicator of their development and not how they live in peacetime. They organize themselves so that they never have to say, “Do you want to, we erase everything and start all over again?” Secret # 5: Realism.
The members of the happy couples also read fairy tales, romance novels and watched languid films, but they did not take them for reality, even if they could have dreamed of it. They quickly got rid of the many illusions surrounding the couple, love, communication … They knew how to give up their adolescent, self-centered and / or narcissistic perceptions. They know that the famous “soul mate” only exists in their heads and they have accepted their partner in his daily reality, with his qualities and his faults.
Secret # 5: A suitable partner
It is said that opposites attract each other, but marital science shows that partners who look alike, in a proportion of at least 70%, considerably increase their chances of being happy together. Far from having found the famous “soul mate”, which is only an illusion, the members of happy couples are sufficiently compatible to avoid polarization over insoluble marital conflicts: they thus ensure stability and good understanding. But they are also different enough to influence each other, thus stimulating their creativity and their ability to evolve, but in the same direction.
Secret # 6: Mutual trust
No relationship – romantic, professional or commercial – can survive if this relationship is not marked by mutual trust, mutual respect and admiration. Members of happy couples do not monitor each other. Even when they disagree, they respect each other’s point of view and do not question their good faith. Even if one does not approve of the other’s personal projects, he will support him, morally and financially, in carrying out his projects.
Secret # 7: Accepting conflicts
Contrary to popular belief, the couple is not an absolute guarantee of happiness; rather, it would be the crucible of many conflicts: the education of children, financial management, relationships with in-laws, sharing of household chores, the time given to private life, sexuality. Members of happy couples quickly realized that the majority of conflicts revolving around these six sources are often insoluble (69% according to the team of psychologist John Gottman, author of the book. These couples have their secrets). They therefore do not strive to resolve these conflicts and agree to live with disagreements … for life. They prefer to be happy and preserve their love than to seek to resolve their conflicts and seek consensus at all costs.
Secret # 8: Accepting inequality
Members of unhappy couples monitor and calculate what one does and the other does not. They seek to impose the give and take rule. Which obviously members of happy couples do not. They accept that there can be an unequal and variable distribution of wages, housework, childcare … These couples accept and recognize that there can be different modes of operation depending on gender. They have renounced the famous equality – similarity between men and women and let everyone be and act according to their nature and their convictions. Equality, yes, but long live the difference!
Secret # 9: The secret garden
Happy couples do not communicate all of their thoughts, actions, frustrations, and problems. They do not believe in communication at all costs and that everything should be said in a couple. Everyone has the right to his private life, to his secret thoughts, to unspeakable desires, but on the condition that this secret garden does not undermine the foundations of their relationship. Everything should be able to be said, but no obligation is made in this sense. A little reserve and mystery are necessary for the maintenance of long-term respect and seduction.
The members of happy couples decided to preserve their happiness rather than trying to be right about the other.