It’s important to develop healthy habits of all kinds, and that includes habits that have an impact on your relationship with your spouse. At first, you may have to make an effort to practice positive habits, but after awhile they become part of your routine. It takes about 21 days to establish a habit, good or bad. So why not make a conscious effort to develop good ones that will contribute to your happy relationship? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Develop a Sixth Sense. If you’re part of a happy couple, you have a sensitivity that makes you perpetually aware of your partner’s well being. You make it a habit to check in on him, even if it’s only a quick observation. Is he having a rough day at work? Maybe you need to let him vent about his boss before you tell him about the great buy you made at the grocery store. Your antennae are alert to your partner’s mood, and you behave in deference to it.

2) Accentuate the Positive. When you notice that your partner does something loving for you, be sure to let him know you appreciate it. Reinforce his positive behavior and let the less-than-wonderful stuff go. Make it a habit to look for the good stuff, and acknowledge out loud that you are grateful for it.

3) Go to Bed at the Same Time. This keeps you on the same schedule, more or less, and binds you in a bedtime ritual. It may be a small thing, but it is something you do together. A goodnight kiss or touch makes this habit a sweet way to end your day.

4) Make Forgiveness Your Default Mode. Always assume the best of your partner. Trust that his motives are good, even if you can’t always see how that could be possible. Talk things through so he can explain why you are right to trust him. If you can’t resolve an argument, agree to disagree. But maintain your trust in your partner’s judgment-distrust will only erode your relationship. And allow for human frailty. You’re human too, don’t forget.

5) Give Your Partner a Loving Touch. A physical touch on the arm as you pass your partner reading the newspaper, a rub of his shoulders when he’s feeling exhausted at the end of the day, a warm hand on his knee at a party. These are all small gestures but they add up to strong affirmation of your love and connection. Physical touch releases a hormone called oxytocin, known as the bonding hormone. A loving touch makes him feel good, and you too.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here:

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