Relationships & Divorce
What to Say and Do to Keep Your Partner Happy
It's the little things
Dr. Terri L. Orbuch, also known as The Love Doctor®, is America’s most trusted relationship expert. She is an author, speaker, therapist, and professor. Here she shares her advice for maintaining your love connection.
Happy and healthy relationships require communication, realistic expectations, and trust. Another very important factor in happy relationships is gratitude – making your partner feel valued, loved, appreciated, respected and supported with simple acts and behaviors. Business managers know that employees perform best when they receive frequent positive feedback. The same holds true for your love partner.
My research shows that couples who expressed frequent generosity to each other were the happiest in their relationships. In fact, 74 percent of the happy couples in my study said that their partners “often” were especially caring toward them and showed appreciation for them, compared to only 46 percent of the other couples.
There are two ways to give generosity to your partner. The first way is by saying and the second is by doing.
Words: What to Say to Keep Your Partner Happy
There are countless ways to tell your partner you care about him or her: You’re handsome. You’re sexy. You’re my favorite cook. You’re a great kisser. You’re so much fun. You’re a riot. You’re the best dad/mom.
There’s no need for an expensive gift next Valentine’s Day or anniversary. Instead, go to the store and buy a card. Write one of the phrases below on your card. Or just say them to your love partner. These are simple statements that will make your spouse feel loved, cared for, noticed, and valued.
1. I love you even more now than when we were first married. (This tells your spouse you are still interested and gives him or her a sense of hopefulness, reassurance, and security.)
2. You are my best friend/the best lover/the best husband or wife. (This tells your spouse that you notice who your spouse really is and do not take him or her for granted.
3. I would still choose you. (Every partner needs to hear these words on occasion. They are affirming, nurturing, and appreciative. It is also a reminder that you are renewing your commitment in this relationship.)
4. Let’s plan _____ [a vacation, a date, getting pregnant]. (This says you want your spouse in your future, and he or she is your top priority.)
5. I’ve really noticed that you have _____ [been helping more around the house, been working really hard these past several weeks, been helping your mother through rough times, etc.]. (This shows you are paying attention to the particulars of your spouse’s life, and that he or she matters.)
Acts: Best Things to Do for Your Partner
The key to showing affective affirmation is to see the world through your spouse’s eyes. What does your husband or wife love or need? Think about your spouse’s habits or some specific challenges he or she faces.
Is your wife always running out of cash? Slip some bills in her purse as a surprise. Is she always rushing around? Offer to take the kids to sports practice for a change. Is he stressed out at work? Make his favorite dinner tonight. Is he too busy to fix the garage door? Have it fixed by a handyman without telling him. Take a walk after dinner. Buy tickets to the theatre. Kiss and hug your partner. Whisper something romantic. Lock eyes with him or her for longer than usual, and flash a smile or wink. Compliment him or her. Spontaneously grab his or her hand when you are walking somewhere. Buy a small gift—a book, CD, flowers, chocolate, slippers, or gloves.
The key here is to make small gestures that show you’re paying attention. That’s all it takes to make your spouse feel as though he or she is valued and loved. My research shows that when couples give affective affirmation and fulfill the first two needs for each other—the need for reassurance and the need for intimacy—they are likely to be very happy together.
Excerpted from: 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great (River Grove Books October 25, 2015) written by Terri L. Orbuch, Ph.D.
DON’T MISS: Join us on Friday, May 11th for our next Coffee & Conversation featuring Dr. Terri Orbuch and Dr. Ish Major where we’ll discuss the secrets of a successful midlife relationship.
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