Happily ever after.

We grow up hearing about it and now and then, we see one of “those” couples. You know, the ones who have been together for an eternity and seem to be more in love than ever. You might find yourself wondering, “Just how do they do it? And how can I have a relationship like that? Our Atlanta couples counselors wonder the same things, naturally. And, we work hard to dig into the research.

Turns out, researchers have asked that question too. What they’ve found is that couples who have successful, long-term relationships have a few things in common. Staying in a healthy, loving relationship is more than just the function of time passing. We know, happy couples spend time together intentionally. In other words, they don’t just share time, they make time for each other. They share quality time together and in very specific ways. Here are the five of the best tips from an Atlanta couples counselor for building a relationship that lasts.

1.  Get Closer

You’ve seen those couples who still hold hands. They’re on to something. Being physically close to someone promotes feelings of emotional intimacy, security and a sense of being cared for. Holding hands, snuggling, making eye contact with each other, and even kissing are all ways to get closer to your love. John and Julie Gottman (world renowned couples therapy researchers) even recommend a 6 second kiss every day.

2. Play Together

If might sound odd, but couples who regularly engage in exercise or other recreational activities tend to be more satisfied with their relationships. Our Atlanta couples counselors recommend this often. Doing things together that you both enjoy promotes emotional intimacy as well as a general feeling of well-being. And, it’s well-known that regular exercise can enhance your sex life!

3. Speaking of Sex…

When was the last time had a date with your partner? Not just take out in front of the TV but a real dress up and show up date? If you’re not sure, it’s been too long. Long-term couples know the importance of keeping the romantic fires burning, whether it’s a raging fire or smoldering embers. Even planning some grown up time can be quite provocative.  Plan a date. Spend a day together. Take a weekend getaway. Your sex life will thank you!

4. It’s the Little Things

Grand gestures are all fine and good but it’s the little things that really matter. Those little kindnesses you do each day send a huge message of “I love you. I care about you.” Maybe you make your partner’s coffee in the morning. Maybe you leave a sweet note in their car. Every couple has those little things that say “I love you” like nothing else can. Not sure where to start? Ask yourself this: What can I do today to make his/her life a little easier?

5. Never Stop Talking

Communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Take time to talk about problems and work to resolve them. More than that, take time to share hopes and dreams. Make plans together. Couples who have been together a long time share a vision for their relationship. What’s yours? If you’re not sure, maybe it’s time for a little more talking.

If your relationship could use some support, feel free to reach out and schedule an appointment with one of our Atlanta couples counselors.