The holiday season can be really stressful on all of us, as well as our relationships. Here is a list of things that some of the happiest couples have been doing to keep their relationships sparkling through the ups and downs of life. Remember, happy relationships don’t just happen by accident, it takes the emotional integrity of two loving individuals who are committed to growing and learning together that create a happy relationship.
- Kiss your spouse hello and goodbye – Even with the busiest of schedules, taking a moment to make eye contact and connect in an intimate way twice a day ensures an acknowledgment that the relationship is important to both partners.
- Be generous with compliments – Everyone needs compliments. We all need to feel validated and appreciated, especially by those who we are closest to. Simple things like, “you look nice today,” are just as good as “I’m very proud of you for standing up to your boss about your values.” Either way, you’re letting your partner now that you see them and value them.
- Disagree, yes, but fight fair – It’s okay to disagree, but when disagreement turns to name calling and accusations, there is a serious problem. Open up honest and clear communication channels when disagreeing, and allow your partner to have their own perspective. Swearing and shouting in order to intimidate is just not a great way to communicate with someone you love.
- Focus on the good things – There are always going to be things about someone we don’t love or don’t love all the time. Happy partnerships tend to concentrate on the good things within the relationship in a way that overshadows the things that they might not like. This tends to increase the amount of warmth, friendship and connection within a partnership.
- Laugh together – Happy relationships tend to be fun and embrace the comedic aspects of life. This often means that they laugh more together. Laughter is a great way to connect, as well as decrease personal and social stress.
- Don’t try to read each other’s mind; ask for what you need – There is a play on words that says: “never ASSUME, because when you do you make an ASS out of U and ME.” By stating needs instead of assuming that your partner will read your mind, both people get what they want.
- Make it a priority to connect – Relationships that function in a healthy and happy way tend to make it a priority to connect – because the two people involved actually like one another and want to connect!
Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.