Well-Being//

17 Happy Couples Share Their Secrets to Staying That Way

You’re going to want to try the “One Thing Principle.”

Image courtesy of Emilija Manevska/ Getty Images

The popular country music duo Florida Georgia Line recently released a new single called “Simple,” about living a less frazzled life — something we can all strive toward. Singer Tyler Hubbard revealed to iHeartRadio how he and his wife simplify and strengthen their relationship — they’ve implemented a rule where they banned cell phones at the dinner table. “Just letting that time be strictly non-distracted and present time that we can hang out and catch up…it helps us refocus on what’s important,” he said.

Inspired by Hubbard and his partner’s unplugging ritual, we asked our community of Thrive Global contributors to share their own relationship #WordsToThriveBy. We wanted to know what small steps people take to reduce stress in their relationships and stay connected to their partners. Their outpouring of advice didn’t disappoint! Here are some of our favorite creative, unconventional, and inspiring anecdotes.

“We live by the ‘One Thing Principle.” I do one thing every day to show appreciation and love for my wife. Simple things like just hugging each other for one minute, writing encouraging notes and making her coffee in the morning.”

—Andreas Jones, IT director, Atlanta, GA

“We go to our favorite neighborhood restaurant every Tuesday evening. It’s a safe space to talk freely about anything we are feeling…both good and bad. I always make sure there are positive things to bring up in addition to highlighting areas where we have room for improvement.”

—Jamie Pabst, founder of a music wellness startup, New York, NY

“I can’t say enough how investing in a weekly babysitter for our kids has boosted our bond this summer. We rotate each week who plans the adventure of where we will be going. We only have two rules — no talking about the kids or work.”

—Shea Ki, interview skills coach, Ashburn, VA

“Cooking meals with my partner while listening to our favorite tunes helps to spark connection and intimacy through food. The result is being able to do one of our favorite things…eat delicious food!”

—Wendy Lopez, registered dietitian, Bronx, NY, USA

“Every Tuesday evening we take turns to choose a film to watch at home. We both make sure we’re home on time and get the kids into bed a little early. Then we snuggle up together and chat about it afterwards. It’s totally our time.” —Helen Butler, coach and facilitator, London, England

“My wife of 17 years and I meditate daily, talk about the books we read, and run at the same time every weekend. Being in sync for meals on weekends keeps our hearts more connected.”

—Gregory Rutchik, lawyer, West Hollywood, CA

“We go for a walk together, several times a week. There’s nothing like long walk, especially in nature, to foster good conversation, to center and calm ourselves, put things in perspective, and feed our bond. On top of that we get a workout – an extra bonus.”

—Ayala Laufer-Cahana M.D., pediatrician and medical geneticist, Philadelphia

“My husband and I work in the same industry (fresh produce) so our daily conversations tend to be work related. One of the things we do to keep our bond strong is to block ‘shop talk’ for a few nights a week, and instead check in with each other about our relationship. Is there anything bothering us? Is there something we are happy/sad/worried about? Making the mindful effort to change the topic of conversation back to us really helps keep our communication lines open and provides an outlet for any underlying issues that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.”

—Casey Ison, CEO of a photography firm, Swedesboro, NJ

“We take our two daughters to school and then we go to one of our favorite breakfast places. It’s something we do before starting work for the day.”

—Christy Laverty, media and PR coach and consultant, Burlington, Ontario, Canada

“What has truly helped is what I call the ‘The Immediate Call Out.’ It’s when one of us reacts instantly to what the other did, instead of letting it fester. Yes this leads to little hot tiffs every now and then, but we never have huge, explosive, break-up worthy fights. I think that it is important to let someone know that you are unhappy at that moment. Otherwise when you do blow up they have no idea what you are talking about.”

—Mikaela Campbell, executive recruiter, Whitefish, MT

“My partner and I have a ‘screen curfew’ at 9pm, which means that we shut down laptops and only use our phones if we want to play a podcast. Otherwise, we’ll read aloud to each other or listen to music. Sometimes we’ll switch electric lights for candles too. It’s a lovely way to be relaxed and present together before bed, looking at each other instead of a screen.”

—Anna Levy, career coach, London, England

“Date-night once a week. We dress up, go out, and talk about our week, plan vacations, and make sure we’re on the same path so that we’re growing together and not apart.”

—Eve Dawes, entrepreneur, Las Vegas, NV

“I go to the farmers market to find fruit and vegetables at peak ripeness to cook and eat together, even in February, but it’s easiest in the peak of the summer when more vegetables are in season. Eating at restaurants is passive. Preparing food together is active, imaginative, sensual, cheaper, and more convenient. We met picking up vegetables from our CSA (aka farm share).”

—Joshua Spodek, professor and coach of entrepreneurship and leadership, New York, NY

“At the very end of the day, we have a ritual of appreciation where we tell each other one thing we appreciate about each other before going to bed.”

—Marybeth Murray, assistant principal, Long Beach, CA

“‘Sleep-in Sundays.” My husband and I are up before 6:00 a.m. most mornings to exercise, we both work long hours and travel frequently. However, on Sundays, we don’t set an alarm or make plans for early workout classes. It’s just about being together without interruptions.”

—Shira Miller, chief communications officer, Atlanta, GA

“Sharing music together has bonded us and helped us create new memories to reflect on. We attend concerts on weekends and leading up to each show, we request songs from the artists we’re about to see on Alexa to help us transition from work to play mode.”

—Julie Spira, cyber-dating expert, Los Angeles, CA

“My partner and I use the weekends to explore new places in the city. We look forward to visiting a new restaurant, park, or bookstore and it really helps motivate us to focus during the workweek since we know we can spend time together discovering new places on the weekend. It’s exciting and surprisingly de-stressing.”

—Nicola Mar, author, New York, NY

P.S. We always want to hear from our readers! If you’d like to contribute to stories like these, become a Thrive Global community member. Here’s how to get started.

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