In bringing up the subject of a happy relationship you will notice that we did not ask, “Does your boyfriend make you happy.” We did not ask, “Does your girlfriend do things to make you happy?” A happy relationship depends on both persons. A happy relationship is not all work and it is never, never, NEVER the sole responsibility of one person. When dating someone it should be fun. We go out on dates to have a good time. We want to date people who are fun to be with, funny, and generally nice persons.
After a few dates things are going well and it is a happy relationship. Both he and she know what the rules are. They have realistic expectations. It does not take a lot of work or effort to maintain a happy relationship for the first dates because expectations only have to do with getting to know each other and developing successive layers on intimacy. You talk, you hold hands, you kiss, and maybe more. You have a good time and would like your relationship to last and to grow. Now issues may start to arise that can destroy a happy relationship if you and your boyfriend or girlfriend don’t pay attention and do a little work.
When couples move on from the first wonderful days, weeks, or months of a new relationship they spend more time together. They find that other parts of life can get in the way of their being together and doing the things that they want. Each person arrives in a relationship with expectations about what they want to do with their life. They may have different routines that didn’t matter when they were only going out on Saturday nights. Now that one has moved into the other’s apartment little irritations can build into disagreements if no one talks about what is bothering them. A happy relationship can turn sour if expectations are too high and are not met.
How do you keep and build on a happy relationship as you start building a life together? Talking about things helps maintain a happy relationship. It really does. It is good to have well developed communication skills but the most important thing is to say what you think and listen to your partner as well. Little issues can be made better early if the two of you talk. Don’t hold back because you are not sure exactly how to say what you want to say. Say it and deal with your problems before they become a constant irritation.
Also remember that when you are talking about things to maintain a healthy relationship you are not using words to punish, confuse, or threaten your partner. Trying to control your partner is never a route to a healthy and happy relationship. If you have a partner who cannot communicate what he or she needs to say but rather threatens you or tries to punish you it may be time to talk to someone else, see a counselor, or just move on.
A big part of any relationship is recognizing and cherishing the good parts of life and not dwelling on the difficulties. Another big part is that each person believes that he, she, and both of them deserve to have and keep a happy relationship and they work together with that goal in mind.