Relationship satisfaction is often gauged based on whom you are with, but there are ways that you can make your relationship more satisfying. Knowing the habits that many happy couples have may give you some ideas on how to improve your own relationship. Check out these five habits and see how you can incorporate them into your relationship too.

1. Cut out criticism

You know how this one goes; you see your partner executing a simple task and suddenly it just seems wrong. They aren’t doing it the way you would, so it must be wrong, right? Wrong! If you want something done your way then do it yourself, otherwise leave them to do things the way they like. Criticising the way your partner behaves, lives, works or anything else only breeds contempt within the relationship. Respecting your partner’s personal preferences or boundaries can create a more harmonious relationship.

2. Stop stonewalling

Silent treatment is a great destroyer of relationships. When something pisses you off and your inclination is to stop talking to your partner, it will slowly erode the trust and affection within the relationhisp. Not talking about what is going on for you can cultivate resentment, which brings toxic energy into the relationship. Opting for a more open style of communication, which includes naming your feelings and taking responsibility for behaviour, removes the barriers to a fulfilling and loving relationship.

3. Open up

Vulnerability breeds intimacy. Getting real about your thoughts, feelings and desires allows your partner to see your wholeness. This lets them appreciate who you are and your perspectives. Shutting down keeps others at the distance and while this may protect you from hurt, it doesn’t allow the relationship to move into deeper spaces. Start talking openly with your partner and show them what makes you tick. Doing this could allow them to do the same, and you might discover something new about them.

4. Touch

Touching lets your partner know that you see them. More than that, it lets them know that you feel them too. And this isn’t the unconscious touch, such as the distracted brush along the back, but a touch that demands their presence without agenda or neediness. A soft but firm hand on the shoulder or the small of the back that lets them know you are there and that you can feel them can make your partner know that they are both special and important to you. Withholding touch is proven to impact humans greatly, so start being conscious with your touch and show your partner you see them.

5. Privacy

For a healthy relationship, there needs to be aspects of the relationship that remain sacred within your space. Not everyone needs to know what does on between you and keeping some things special can make you feel more connected. In the same way, privacy for each individual within the relationship can also create more respect. It isn’t necessary to keep secrets within the relationship, but honouring boundaries is important for the relationship to remain harmonious.

Making small but significant changes in a relationship can transform how you relate and increase relationship satisfaction. While you might feel stuck in certain behaviours, talking openly about what occurs can pave the way towards a new way of relating. Try some of the above suggestions and see if it makes a difference to your relationship.