Do you ever find yourself wondering what keeps the smiles on the faces of all those seemingly perfect, happy couples? There has to be an explanation for all that success and happiness, right?
Even if you already have a blissful relationship, it doesn’t hurt to brush up on some of the things that contribute to a strong relationship. According to Jay Shetty, thriving, healthy relationships take continuous nurture.
Whether you are single, just started dating, or are in a long-term relationship, the habits and tips Jay Shetty shares in this article can be applied in your life to help you have a successful, happy relationship.
Respect your Partner’s Values
Respecting your partner’s values, even if they differ from yours, is the first key to building a happy, successful relationship. In the beginning, your values may align, but as time passes, you may start to realize you have differences in certain areas.
Jay Shetty says a great way to discover what you and your spouse value is to come up with a list of things that matter the most to you. Using categories like people, projects, hobbies, or interests, write down the top three things you value in each.
Once you know what matters to your partner, you can respect those things. This exercise will also help you understand where your values differ from your partner’s. But what does it mean to respect your partner’s values?
According to Jay Shetty, it means you want to help your partner prioritize the things that are important to them so they can give more energy and emphasis to those things.
Your partner’s values and passions have made them who they are. When you try to steal their attention away from those things, it takes away from who they are. When you respect your partner’s values and passions, they become more loveable, more attractive, and feel more fulfilled.
When your partner does something you don’t understand, it’s easy to make assumptions as to why, potentially leading you to be entirely off base. Instead of doing this, just ask them about it.
“When you ask questions that don't have judgment or guilt built into them, you get better answers,” Jay Shetty explains. “If you ask someone why they are always late from work, they're on the defense. They're not feeling a sense of respect. When you ask a question with trust, you receive a true answer. When you ask a question built with guilt and judgment, you don't get an answer that truly helps you.”
There is a caveat to this rule, however. If your partner is doing something completely against your values, it’s time to evaluate the situation and make plans to move on.
Appreciate the Small Things
It’s easy to be thankful for significant events like birthdays, holidays, and weekends away. But what about the little things, like the great breakfast your partner cooked, the extra chores they did, or the effort they put into their outfit for date night? It is easy to overlook the little moments that make up daily life, but these little moments define the quality of a relationship.
“A relationship is not defined by grand gestures of love,” Jay Shetty says. “It's defined by the ability to notice and spot the tiniest moments of brilliance, the smallest exchanges of love and emotion, the fact that someone sat there and listened to you. These are the things that every single human yearns for.”
Bigger gestures may be your partner trying to make up for all those little moments missed along the way. Make it a habit to see those everyday moments and take the time to appreciate them. A great way to start noticing all those little things is to thank your partner for one thing each day. Make it something different each day.
It’s easy to find the new in the new. It’s challenging and beautiful to find new in the old and familiar. Jay Shetty explains that practicing mindfulness improves our brain and emotions.
Encourage Your Spouse
Have you ever been in a situation where your spouse shared something with you, and your first thought was to discourage them from moving ahead with the idea? Maybe you didn’t think it would be successful. Maybe you had a bad experience and want to prevent them from going through the same thing. Regardless, challenge yourself to be encouraging.
“When your partner says something to you, allow yourself to move aside your projection and prediction,” Jay Shetty shares. “Be encouraging and enthusiastic. Share your insight and what you think they need to know in this process, but don't let your ego get in the way of truly encouraging them.”
Encouraging your spouse does not mean you have to celebrate every little thing. But you can start by encouraging them when they receive an opportunity.
“When we don't encourage, celebrate, and recognize our spouse, it takes away love and connection from our relationship,” explains Jay Shetty.
Balance Your Time Together
We all need time for ourselves, our friends, and our spouse, but trying to balance that time can be overwhelming. Jay Shetty shares a sample schedule that may work to help you break down and organize your time.
Take one day for yourself each week. Read a book, take in a movie, pamper yourself, or do whatever you need to relax and re-energize.
Spend one day with your friends to decompress and laugh.
Three days are dedicated to time with your spouse. Spend this time to strengthen your bond by doing things you both enjoy.
Reserve two days to spend with collective friends. You are still spending time together, but you get to experience other people’s energy.
“Research and interviews done by the University of Maryland found that healthy couple friendships have potential to make relationships more exciting and more fulfilling by increasing attraction, and providing a greater understanding of men and women in general,”1 explains Jay Shetty.
Don’t let your relationship become void of energy and excitement. When you spend every day together, you run the energy out of your relationship. By creating diversity in the weeks, months, and years you spend together, you can add excitement and interest to your relationship.
Take Care in How Your Argue with Each Other
The fifth habit of successful, happy couples has to do with how they handle conflict. While it is okay and even healthy to argue at times, it is critical to take a look at how you argue and make adjustments if needed.
In an unhealthy relationship, arguments often turn personal. Fingers get pointed, and blame is placed on each other. You think the other person is the enemy, and you’re arguing over why they need to change.
Instead of arguing with your spouse, Jay Shetty recommends arguing about the issue at hand without assigning blame. If something is not working, look for ways to solve that issue that will work for both of you. Discuss the problem and how you can tackle it together.
Often, we say things that put our partner on the defensive before we even discuss the issue. It is not about what you say. It is about how you say it. The next time an argument arises, attack the issue, not each other.
Evaluate How Your Decisions Affect Your Partner
As independent adults and independent thinkers, evaluating how our decisions affect our partners is something we often don’t think through effectively. Most of the time, we just do things and deal with the fallout later.
“Often when we make a decision we've been thinking about it for five months, and we share it with them in five minutes,” explains Jay Shetty. “We expect them to understand what we've been thinking about for five months in five minutes. You can't do that. You have to give someone time to catch up to your way of thinking, then give them space and time to process it for themselves.”
Think about how your decisions affect your partner and have a healthy discussion about it. Doing this shows respect to your partner and reduces frustration because you’ve made a decision together, rather than alone without regarding your partner’s feelings.
Know the Difference Between Your Trauma and the Issue
Sometimes we think our partners are wrong when in reality, it’s our expectations that need to be adjusted. Making assumptions and having unspoken expectations of our partners makes the relationship weaker.
Jay Shetty shares that if your expectation of how your wife should be a mother is based on how your mother was, you bring your expectations and past into your present. We often base our expectations of our partners on what we experienced with our parents. Much of the time, the way we act with our partners is the result of a gap in the way we were parented.
“Are you bringing your trauma into your relationship?” Jay Shetty questions. “Knowing the difference is so important.”
Commit to Daily Rituals
Having a daily ritual is a great way to start or end the day. For Shetty and his wife, tea time is a great time to connect. They sit down for seven to 12 minutes a day and enjoy a cup together. It was this daily time together that inspired them to launch Sama, their new line of teas.
Choose a practice you enjoy, then set aside time each day to do it together. It doesn’t have to be a super involved or complicated activity. Even something as simple as a hug will do.
Researchers at the University of London recently did a study on the benefits of giving and receiving hugs. They discovered that the optimal length of a hug that gives the most mood-boosting benefits is between five and ten seconds. When you embrace for this length of time, oxytocin is released in the brain, improving your mood and reducing your sense of stress.2 This idea has been popularized in Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, where she argues that six-second hugs are best for creating a sense of happiness and peace.3 Who knew a simple hug could have such great benefits? So, take Jay Shetty’s advice. Try adding hugs to your daily routine and see what happens.
These eight habits from Jay Shetty are a great way to redefine your relationship in a way that brings you both more peace, harmony, and success.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “8 Habits of Happy and Successful Couples” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.