Romantic relationships can be fun, blissful, challenging, and exhausting all at the same time. Any happily married couple will loudly agree that successful relationships require hard work, compromise, patience, communication, and individuality. People do not just meet, fall in love, have blissful sexual encounters, raise children and live happily ever after. These people will disagree on many things, and face challenges within their relationship and may even face internal battles with their inner self. Healthy couples know how to take the ups and downs, how to weather the storm. So how do they do it?

Communicate openly and honestly
Happy couples do not avoid conflict but instead learn to have tough conversations so they can learn from each other and become more committed to one another. In fact, research reveals that communication style is more important than commitment levels, personality traits or stress in predicting which couples remain happy in their relationships. A healthy couple sets aside time to talk about their day, tell each other what is bothering them and communicate about the future. Healthy communication requires in-person conversations rather than only emailing and texting. Happy couples know that the best conversations happen without the distraction of phones, tablets, and laptops.

Remember the small things
Sure, anniversaries and birthdays are important but it is the day-to-day events that solidify a happy relationship. Drink wine together after a long day at work, celebrate financial milestones, make an effort to create new memories even if they are small going on adventures together, learning a new hobby together or reminiscing on past fond memories such as your first date or engagement. Remember to respect your partner and mind your manners. Saying please and thank you should not only be reserved for the company. Manners are important, even with the person you have been with for 20 years. Extend the same respect to your spouse as you would to a visiting guest. Say please and thank you, make polite conversation and why not offer your partner a drink?

Go on vacation (with and without your partner)
Traveling together not only helps create new memories but both of you can learn new things together. Traveling comes with challenges and adventures, which can strengthen your relationship. On the flip side, many happy, healthy couples take their own short vacations, or have regular trips away with a social group. Being alone, meeting new friends, or enjoying adventures without your partner can be very empowering. Ultimately, you will return to your partner energized, enthusiastic and more in love than ever.

Growing together requires simultaneously growing separately
Even though you are in a committed relationship, you are also your own independent individual who requires his/her own alone time. Embrace your individuality by hanging out with your friends, going on a solo trip, watching your favorite television shows by yourself, having your own ideas and engaging in your own separate hobbies. A happy couple should always embrace each other’s individuality. Live a life together, but also lead your separate lives.

Make your own happiness but celebrate happiness with your partner
Your happiness should be your own happiness, as another individual can never make you happy but making your partner happy should also bring you happiness. His or her successes should make you just as excited as your own. You guys are in a partnership; you’re a team. When one wins, so does the other.

Accept that some problems just cannot be solved
There will most likely be issues upon which you both cannot see eye-to-eye. Rather than expending wasted energy, agree to disagree, and attempt to compromise or to work around the issue. If the issue cannot be solved, then recognize, talk about and learn to respect each other’s view on the issue. Two people cannot spend years together without having legitimate areas of disagreement. The test of a happy relationship is how individuals choose to work through these issues, through compromise, change, or finding it’s just not that important to continue to stew over.

Laugh together
If you cannot laugh together and at each other than something is clearly wrong. Your partner should make you laugh and smile on a regular basis and vice versa. After all, a day without laughter is truly a day wasted.

Adventure outdoors together
Whether it is going for a run, camping in the outdoors, hiking in the mountains, or going for a walk on the beach; adventuring outside together enables you to disconnect from technology and reconnect with each other while embracing the beauty of the outdoors. Happy couples adventure outdoors together. This also goes along with couple who exercise together are generally happier as exercise releases endorphins that mimic the effects of sexual and romantic arousal.