In his groundbreaking book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey identified the traits which consistently cause people to rise from mediocrity to excellence. The book revealed the timeless truth that our daily habits will be what determines the course of our lives.
This idea might sound revolutionary, but it has been around for a long time. It was the Ancient Greek Philosopher Aritstotle who said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”
As a student of marriages, I’ve tried to identify what are those “habits” of happy and healthy couples. I’m convinced that there are many more than the few I’ve listed here, but these are some of the most apparent, most important, and frankly, most surprising! If you will implement these into your own marriage, I believe your relationship will instantly improve.
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1. Happy couples serve each other.
We’re all selfish by nature, and marriage provides plenty of opportunities to be selfish, but happy couples seem to consistently put their spouse’s needs ahead of their own. These acts of mutual service and selflessness raises the level of respect and overall satisfaction. One simple way to start is to do a household or yard chore your spouse normally does or give them a foot or back massage without being asked.
2. Happy couples dream together.
Most couples sleep together, but few couples dream together. Happy couples don’t just have their individual dreams, but they share collective dreams for the future. They always have something they’re working towards and looking forward to. One way to get started is to chart out a list of goals and experiences you’d like to achieve together in the next year.
3. Happy couples are terrible liars.
In marriage, unless you’re throwing a surprise birthday party, there is no room for secrets or lies. Deception creates an invisible barrier which will block your intimacy and growth as a couple. A happy marriage is built on a foundation of trust, honesty and open communication. One simple way to get started is to share all of your email and phone passwords and encourage your spouse to log in whenever they like.
4. Happy couples have a limited vocabulary.
This one doesn’t mean that they’re unintelligent; it means that they’re smart enough to not to use certain words with each other. Happy couples don’t swear at each other and they don’t say the grandaddy of all “cuss words” in marriage which is the D-Word (“Divorce”). They don’t insult each other and they don’t make threats. They’ve discovered that the tone of their words will set the tone of the marriage. One way to get started is to instantly apologize the next time you say something hurtful or disrespectful and commit to never threatening divorce as an option.
To master these and the other habits of happy couples, I encourage you to watch our (now FREE) video teaching series The 4 Pillars of a Strong Marriage and check out our bestselling book iVow: Secrets to a Stronger Marriage.