Have you ever wondered what makes Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, and Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, appear so happy? Perhaps it's the fame and fortune. Or, just maybe, their long-term happiness is thanks to simple exercises couples can use when they make an effort to cut through the clutter of everyday life. To avoid your quest for love failing, the secrets of a long-lasting, healthy relationship have been unveiled, according to science.
8 Secrets to a Long-Lasting Healthy Relationship
1. Leave Your Smartphone Behind
In the digital age, it has become a challenge to not glance at your smartphone every five minutes, and check your emails, texts, and messages, but this doesn’t mean your phone should be in the relationship, too. A study in the journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy: Innovations in Clinical and Educational Inverventions found having relationship-shaping conversations via text could negatively affect the level of emotional connection in a relationship, as do digital distractions while having in-person conversations. When it comes to working out your problems, or making important decisions, skip the “I’m sorry" text, and go traditional — use the “call” feature on your smartphone.
2. Laughter is the Best Medicine
A sense of humor can always be a strong asset in any type of relationship, especially in romantic relationships. Laughter can be used as a coping skill when a relationship is on the rocks because it helps put the mind, body, and spirit and other people at ease. If you or your partner have had a rough patch, it’s best to reminisce about shared moments to help settle tension, according to a study published in the journal Motivation and Emotion. After all, a couple that laughs together, stays together.
3. Play Video Games Together
Yes, plenty of men can rejoice that playing video games together is an important component of a healthy relationship. A study from the Queensland University of Technology found playing video games can help gamers build strong emotional connections and relationships. Gaming improves mood, reduces stress, and even provides gamers with a strong connection with the person they’re playing with. It’s time to pull out the game controllers in a friendly competition of Wii Sports.
Bonus: You get to practice your tennis serve swing... just don’t end in “love.”
4. Think Outside the Box
It can be easy for couples to fall into a routine by visiting a favorite restaurant once a week, or watching a movie on Friday nights, but variety is the spice of life, and relationships. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found couples who go out of their comfort zone and do fun and different things together are happier than couples who are homebodies and watch TV all the time. It’s time to stop being a couch potato and try a new activity or sport on Friday nights. Plus, you can always DVR a movie or TV show for another night in.
5. Have Sex, A Lot
While this may seem like no secret to couples, increasing sex from once a month to once a week can increase relationship satisfaction similar to receiving a huge raise at work. Income, sexual behavior, and happiness, were all linked in a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics that found an increase in sexual activity increases happiness by the same amount as getting paid $50,000 per year. As if couples needed more of an incentive to have more sex, but for happiness' sake, it’s time to get busy in between the sheets.
6. Try to Understand Your Partner’s Emotions
The keyword to this secret is “try,” not to actually understand how your partner is feeling. Women are found to be happier when they are dating a guy who shows compassion when it comes to their sensitivity, according to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology. In addition, the study also found a woman’s happiness is not contingent on how her man is feeling, but her man’s happiness is contingent on how his woman is feeling. Men, it’s time to try to understand your woman’s emotions, and women, remembering how you feel will affect your man's level of happiness. Ladies, use this power wisely now.
7. It’s Not All About You
It takes two to make a relationship work, so leave the “me, me, me” out of the equation, unless you want to do some major problem solving. Making sacrifices for your significant other and your relationship is considered to be a sign of commitment. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Personality found couples were more inclined to make sacrifices for one another when they felt more satisfied about their relationship. Put your selfish needs aside and lead by example, your partner will be more inclined to do the same, if you’re in a happy relationship.
8. Say 'Please' and 'Thank You'
It’s important to tell and show your partner how much you appreciate them. Couples who show gratitude to one another are happier together, to no surprise. According to a study in the journal Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, showing your partner gratitude increases how much they appreciate you. Simple gestures such as saying "thank you," and words of support could significantly improve a couple’s happiness in a relationship.
These eight secrets to a long-lasting, healthy relationship could potentially make you as happy as Brad and Angelina, except without the fame and fortune.