Sage Advice: 14 Experts Share Their Best Tips For Relationship Happiness
“What is the #1 tip for maintaining a happy relationship?”
(This is an archived copy of the article originally published in now defunct twoinfps.com featuring quotes and insights by Patrick Wanis PhD)
We asked doctors, love bloggers, successful couples, and other relationships experts this question, and the answers absolutely blew us away. Their insights into communication, growth, self-fulfillment, and other essential relationship aspects will work wonders when applied to your love life. We recommend reading through these wise words and choosing at least one tip to put into action for your relationship.
Without any further ado, let’s hear what our experts (listed alphabetically) have to say:
Corey Allan, PhD:
Corey Allan is the founder of Simple Marriage, a site dedicated to helping others experience more adventure and passion in love and life. He also works as a marriage & family therapist, and is the author of A Simple Marriage and Buck Naked Marriage.
Realize that relationships are not intended to make you happy but to help you grow up into a better person.
We love this viewpoint, because when individuals become stagnant in a relationship, dissatisfaction and a longing for more can set in. When you grow alongside your partner, however, you’re able to feel more fulfilled in yourself, and can genuinely respect and encourage your partner’s growth.
You can follow Corey Allan on Twitter or learn more at Simple Marriage
Clay Andrews & Mika Maddela:
Clay and Mika are a world-traveling couple who founded The Path to Passion together. They are the torchbearers for the Relationship Revolution, and teach personal development as a means for relationship success.
The root of a successful relationship begins within EACH individual. The relationship that people have with themselves creates the foundation of their relationship with their partner. Without self-esteem and self-love, a relationship is susceptible to anxiety and toxic emotions that may deteriorate the quality of a once thriving relationship.
I believe that always striving to achieve a ‘happy’ relationship is an unrealistic expectation for any relationship. It’s better to manifest a broad range of emotions within the relationship and accept that each person has their own flaws, fears and desires (apart from their partner.) This facilitates a space for personal growth as an individual as well as evolving and growing together as a couple.
I believe that the core of a healthy relationship is that both people feel complete and whole in and of themselves. From this point, they can come together and enjoy creating a relationship together free from needing their partner to be or do anything for them to prop them up emotionally. They can connect and enjoy true intimacy without all burden of expectation, “shoulds,” or “shouldn’ts” and simply enjoy the journey of sharing a life with someone else.
That is to say, a healthy relationship starts with a person’s own relationship with themselves, not a need for someone else to complete them or make them whole. That just creates a barrier that actually prevents true connection.
Clay & Mika’s take on the foundation of relationship happiness is spot on; being a healthy, whole individual is absolutely mandatory for success in a relationship. If you’re not in a good place mentally or emotionally, this becomes a barrier to intimacy and can cause many disastrous consequences for your love life. When you accept and truly love who you are, you’re more fun and a lot easier to be around.
You can follow Clay and Mika on Twitter or learn more at The Path to Passion.
Courtney is the adventurous wife of Adam Baker (Man vs. Debt). She & Adam declared war on their gargantuan debt and have paid off around $30,000 while growing their assets. Despite money being a culprit of marital strife, Courtney and Adam have worked as a team through difficult times & currently help others pay off debt.
Early on, Adam and I had many conversations about what makes a relationship or marriage work. For a while, we had a checklist of things like similar personalities and shared dreams. But what we’ve learned is that none of it matters if you don’t communicate well. Personalities shift and dreams change. So to maintain a healthy relationship, we frequently have chats about what’s been inspiring us lately and how we like our current lifestyle.
This is a great point; being able to connect with your partner is absolutely essential for a satisfying relationship. Communicating about the things that truly matter, rather than just surface-level topics, keeps you and your partner on the same page—even while the two of you change and grow.
You can follow the Baker family on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at Man Vs. Debt
Marni is the founder of Dating With Dignity, and is a certified Life Coach. She is also a Master Practitioner at administering the Energy Assessment, “The D-Factor,” which signifies an individual’s level of date-ability. Marni is an expert at helping women find their Mr. Right.
The number one thing men crave when it comes to relationships is finding a woman who’s confident, secure, and feminine. Men are, in fact, clear on one thing; a woman who, despite her beauty, good humor, kindness and tight butt, needs excessive reassurance is someone who quickly becomes an albatross.
These men, who are all incredibly smart, ambitious, talented and handsome, are searching for a woman who loves herself so deeply that she never depends on validation from her partner to make her feel lovable, worthwhile and attractive.
When you love yourself and have created an amazing life that is interdependent with your partner’s life, you don’t think your life would suck without him…and that’s how you maintain your confidence.
We love Marni’s take on achieving relationship happiness. Many people rush into relationships out of loneliness, rather than taking the time to become whole and healthy individuals. Acting as another person’s crutch becomes wearisome after awhile. When you can stand on your own with pride and happiness, however, you become a joy to be around.
You can follow Marni on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at Dating With Dignity.
John Buri, PhD:
John Buri is a Professor of Psychology at the University of St. Thomas, and is the author of How to Love Your Wife. He is also a speaker, researcher, and columnist for Psychology Today, & educates and inspires others to strengthen their love & marriages.
There is an old Turkish proverb: “For the grateful, the gnats make music; for the ungrateful, harps and flutes make only noise.” Cultivate an attitude of gratitude – it is true, you reap what you sow. And if you want to keep the love alive, be especially grateful for your partner. Appreciate that person in your life.
Dr. Buri’s tip is one that Chris and I use on a daily basis—we can attest that being grateful for your partner cultivates relationship happiness. We thank each other often—even for the littlest things—and as a result, we both feel valued and loved. Dr. Buri’s is definitely an insight worth taking to heart.
You can check out Dr. Buri’s column, Love Bytes, or learn more on his website.
Lissa Coffey, cHT:
Lissa Coffey, the founder of Coffey Talk, is a sociologist, hypnotherapist, and a lifestyle & relationships expert. She is the author of Closure and the Law of Relationship, writes for the Huffington Post, and is the TV host for CoffeyTalk TV.
The most important thing you can do to maintain a happy and healthy relationship is to be truthful with each other. Be yourself, tell the truth, follow through on what you say you’re going to do. There is no intimacy without honesty. It’s so much more than communication. What good is communication if there is no truthfulness? Be real, be kind, be respectful, be truthful.
Lissa’s response is awesome because it delves into the importance of a solid foundation of truth for a relationship. We love that she also mentioned being who you truly are, because putting on a façade for your loved one can cause the relationship to crumble, once your partner realizes you aren’t the person you claimed to be. Complete transparency can sometimes be uncomfortable to give, but it’s worth it.
You can follow Lissa Coffey on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at Coffey Talk.
Maryanne Comaroto, cHT:
Maryanne is an international talk show host and relationship activist. She works as a coach, hypnotherapist, and TV personality, and is the founder of Maryanne Live!. Additionally, Maryanne is the author of Skinny, Tan and Rich & Hindsight.
David and I practice what we teach. We don’t just talk about it, we absolutely swear by the work. We work hard on ourselves, have the utmost respect for each other, trust each other, and feel privileged to witness each other’s unfolding and growth. Our marriage vows were simple; we vowed to tell the truth despite the consequences. Our definition of love is that we want what the other wants for themselves. It just keeps getting better and deeper!
We really resonate with Maryanne’s view on what keeps happiness in a long-term relationship; taking delight in your partner’s growth is absolutely crucial. Working toward becoming the person you’d like to be (alongside your partner) keeps the relationship from become stale or stifling, and provides an atmosphere of respect and admiration.
You can follow Maryanne on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at Maryanne Live!.
Dr. Dar (Darshana Hawks) is a relationship coach, mediator, and communication facilitator. Her weekend “live in” marriage interventionshave helped save hundreds of marriages. Dr. Dar also hosts a radio showand is the author of Stop Being Single Now.
Nurture your relationship by taking 3 actions each and every day. Here are 3 suggested actions:
-Acknowledge and appreciate your partner for 1 thing every day by stating specifically what you appreciate and how it makes a difference in your life
-Do something out of the ordinary for your partner that speaks to their love language – take the love language assessment together [here]
-Identify your needs, then ask for help in getting your needs met and do the same for your partner
Dr. Dar’s suggestion reminds me of a quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “The future depends on what we do in the present.” By continually doing good things for your partner today, the relationship will continue to flourish tomorrow.
You can follow Dr. Dar on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more on her website.
Lori is the founder of Tiny Buddha, a site dedicated to helping people achieve peace and wisdom in all areas of life, including love & relationships. She is the author of Tiny Buddha, Simple Wisdom for Life’s Hard Questions and Tiny Buddha’s Handbook for Peace and Happiness.
One thing that’s helped me maintain happy relationships, romantic and otherwise, is learning to put things in perspective. There was a time when lots of little things bothered me, so I frequently let people know how they’d failed to meet my expectations. Now I try to choose my battles and give people the benefit of the doubt, because it’s a loving thing to do, and I appreciate when they do that for me!
This is a skill we feel is incredibly important to implement—choosing not to create conflict over the little things increases the ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions within a relationship. According to John Gottman, this ratio should be around 5:1 (postive:negative) for a couple to experience relationship satisfaction. Learn to let things go, and your love life will blossom.
You can follow Lori on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at Tiny Buddha.
The Dating Divas:
These incredible women teach others how to keep the spark in marriage, “One Date at a Time.” The Dating Divas are date planning experts who help women achieve happy, satisfying love lives. Together, they wrote & compiled The Ultimate Date Night Book.
Never stop courting your spouse.
Be sure not to underestimate the power of this short-but-sweet tip. When you take the time to have frequent dates with your partner, you create many fun and memorable experiences together. Continually courting your partner helps to keep the relationship from becoming too “comfortable,” (which can often lead to taking each other for granted). Dating is a phenomenal way to keep long-term relationships spicy, romantic, and blissful.
You can follow the Divas on Twitter or Facebook, or learn more at The Dating Divas.
Lori is the founder of Marriage Gems, a site dedicated to providing encouraging, research-based marital tips. She is a speaker, journalist, & marriage researcher, and is the author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage.
Believe in and treasure one another. Spouses should encourage and support one another to allow you each to fulfill your life’s purpose. Without this generosity of spirit, we may over time become resentful or feel unfulfilled despite having found love.
How do you know your partner’s dreams? Ask. Study and learn about your spouse’s interests, preferences, concerns, fears and goals. Encourage your partner, and think about him/her during your day, focusing on their best qualities. ..Treasure your spouse for who he or she is, not who you want her to be. Share your true self. Be vulnerable. Allow [him or] her into your heart.
We couldn’t agree more with Lori’s insight; believing in and cherishing your partner for who they truly are is key to a happy, lasting relationship. Constantly undermining your partner or shooting his/her ideas down leads to anger and dissatisfaction, but giving your partner a chance to shine leads to growth, fulfillment, and respect.
You can follow Lori on Twitter, Facebook, or learn more at Marriage Gems.
Patrick Wanis, PhD:
Patrick Wanis is a celebrity life coach and a human behavior & relationships expert. He is frequently featured in magazines, newspapers, and television & radio programs nationwide. Over 5 million people have read his books, including Get Over Your Ex Now! and What a Woman Wants.
Dissolve your ego and be willing to speak these twelve words from your heart: I was wrong; I am sorry; please forgive me; I love you.
This mantra, which Dr. Wanis details in his article The Twelve Most Important Words You Will Speak, is essential for maintaining happiness in a relationship. Being able to admit that you’re wrong and asking for forgiveness is as courageous as it is conciliatory. Finishing off with a genuine “I love you” allows for a peaceful, affectionate atmosphere.
Sex Love Liberation Ev`Yan is the founder of Sex, Love, Liberation, a site dedicated to leading others to sexual self-acceptance, boundless self-love, and fearless sensuality. She is a bold & empowering sexual liberation artist, and is the author of Sex, Love, Liberation: A Manifesto for the Bold at Heart.
Rid yourself of the idea that you own your partner. You don’t possess your spouse anymore than you have command over the sun. As soon as you relinquish this ownership, you’ll come to a much more peaceful understanding of your partner as a whole, & can encourage his/her own personal growth.
This advice is powerfully effective for cultivating relationship happiness. While it can be difficult to release yourself from the desire to control your partner, allowing him or her to be who they are tremendously increases harmony within the relationship. And, once your partner is free to be who they are, you can begin to see and value their uniqueness.
You can follow Ev`Yan on Twitter or learn more at Sex, Love, Liberation.
Now It’s Your Turn!
We’d love to hear your #1 tip for maintaining a happy relationship…Share your answer in the comment box below!
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.