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You know those darling couples that seem to have it all figured out? They are so in love you find yourself "awwing" at their relationship and wishing you had what they have. Seriously, what's their secret? It might be simpler than you think. Here are 10 habits all happy couples have in common:
1. Divide chores
Sharing household chores is among the top three most important items associated with successful marriages - second only to faithfulness and physical satisfaction.
In a similar study, Erin Holmes, Brigham Young University professor, said statistical analysis validates the classic saying: happy wife, happy life. Couples who are happy split the workload.
"When wives are satisfied with the division of labor, both spouses report higher marital quality," said Holmes.
Technology can destroy your relationships. Since when is an electric screen more important than your spouse? Put down the phone, turn off the TV and look at your loved ones. A healthy and happy relationship is putting them first.
3. Make eye contact
Studies say four minutes of uninterrupted eye contact can increase intimacy and connection. In an experiment by SoulPancake, they filmed six couples while maintaining four minutes of eye contact.
At the end of the four minutes, a man married to his wife for 55 years said, "When I look at you really closely, I realize how much I need you and what you mean to me, because that's the truth," he said. "I couldn't imagine being with anybody else."
It doesn't require four minutes to make an impact. It might be a brief glance or a wink - the important thing is that you look at each other. It will remind you why you fell in love.
4. Have a ritual
Morning or nighttime rituals give couples an important opportunity to connect.
"Every morning I wake at 6 a.m.., well before my husband does, and I kiss him before I've even gotten out of bed," said Gretchen Rubin, bestselling author of The Happiness Project. "Sometimes the kiss is just a quick exchange, but sometimes it turns into a real, lingering embrace."
Always kiss each other good morning and goodnight. Spend a few minutes together in the morning before you run off to start your day. Let your spouse know when you'll be home so you'll have something to look forward to. Creating a 30 minute window each morning or evening for a ritual will add more meaning to your relationship.
Research has found that in good marriages, compliments outnumber criticisms five to one.
"I seriously tell my husband at least once a day how hot and handsome he is. And every time I do, he looks at me and I SWEAR he gets tears in his eyes and says, 'Thank you for saying that,'" said Melissa Chapman, a relationship blogger.
In private and in public, acknowledge your sweetheart for all the incredible things they do.
6. Take time to connect
Life gets busy, but strong marriages stem from spending time with each other.
Stacey Phillips, certified family law specialist and author, said to try spicing things up: "Next time you come home from work, bolt through the door with force and head right for your spouse."
Send cute texts, hug and smooch longer than necessary, dance in the kitchen and tell each other how much you love each other every day. Flirting and connecting will keep the sparks flying through the years.
Relationship problems often develop when one person feels under-appreciated. Eliminate the problem by expressing your gratitude.
"Without ever discussing it, gratitude plays a big part in the happiness of our union. We express sincere gratitude for everything: He takes me to dinner, I always say thank you; I cook us a dinner, he always says thank you," Dea S. told Women's Health.
It could be as simple as a quick thank you or as sincere as a handwritten letter. The important thing is to be genuine and do it often.
Cuddling adds a level of connection that you can't get anywhere else. Don't underestimate the value of some quality snuggle time with your spouse. Grab a blanket and snuggle up to each other while you read, watch TV or when you get in bed. Cuddling will give you a chance to catch up and feel adored.
9. Forgive and move on
In his book, The First Years of Forever, Dr. Ed Wheat said, "Marriage becomes a series of surprises for most of us, and one of them is how frequently we need to forgive and be forgiven." Learn the difficult skill of forgiving and moving on to have a happy marriage.
A smile can lighten the mood and let your significant other know you care (especially when you're tired). Laughing and smiling can bring joy and happiness into any relationship.
"My husband and I laugh a lot. To the point where it's difficult to be too upset for very long because one of us will usually do something to lighten things up," said Dr. Marie Land, psychologist. "Having a sense of humor is a tremendous asset if you want to be in a healthy relationship. People that laugh a lot and generally just don't take things too seriously can more easily enjoy a healthy relationship."
Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.