Things That Make You Blush: Is Your Happiness on Vacation?

August is a popular month for vacations. Families swarm to Carolina beaches to enjoy a week of sun and fun before starting a productive school year, or to take a break from work responsibilities. August is also a popular time for family reunions, hiking in the mountains, and overdue visits home to see parents and friends. August can be full of these happy times spent making cherished vacation memories. One thing that should not take a vacation in August, or in any month, is your relationship happiness. On a good vacation, you and your partner have happy times every day, or at least the majority of the vacation days. On a forgettable vacation, the happiest days are the first one and the last one – happy to get to where you are going, but really happy to be headed home. Relationships should not feel like a forgettable vacation, but sometimes they can, leaving you to feel as though you are the unfortunate family member sleeping on the pull-out couch with a poncho liner.

So how do you maintain relationship happiness and avoid the undesirable “unhappy” zone? First, you do some honest self-reflection and identify what makes you truly happy in your relationship, acknowledging that what made you happiest at the beginning of your partnership may not be the same things that make you happy now. This can be accomplished through keeping a journal of happy times, making a list of happy events, or having a conversation with your partner about your happiest memories together. A shared conversation would require that both partners take that time to reflect on behaviors that need to be encouraged and those that need to be discouraged. In successful relationships, partners have these conversations, then spend a lifetime discovering what makes each other happy by performing those acts of kindness on a daily basis. These “happy relationships” don’t wait for a holiday or vacation to make enjoyable memories; they take the same amount of care and energy to bring daily happiness to their partner that they take to plan a long-awaited vacation.

Following some of our own advice, the authors did a little self-reflection, and also polled a few readers, on relationship happiness – about what makes them “happy in love.” Here are some results:

What Makes Omar Happy

  • Being on time Kind notes and praise
  • Being a good listener Holding hands
  • College football games College football games
  • Exercising together Exercising together
  • Having a positive attitude Humor, humor, humor
  • Sexy time with Christie Sexy time with Omar

What Makes Christie Happy

  • Kind notes and praise
  • Holding hands
  • College football games
  • Exercising together
  • Humor, humor, humor
  • Sexy time with Omar

While these partial lists are not a perfect match, they are pretty close and very compatible. Here are some examples from our readers on what makes them happy in their relationship:

  • Time to yourself
  • An out of town job (just kidding)
  • Attending church together
  • Splitting the chores
  • Date night
  • Having their way most of the time
  • A C-PAP machine
  • Having the coffee ready in the morning
  • Being kind to each other’s parents

The list of happy behaviors could be pages long or maybe only one simple item, like always kissing each other hello and goodbye. Whatever your list may reveal, get busy making it and sharing it. Don’t wait for “vacation time” to bring your partner happiness. Writing this article made the authors happy. Hope it made the readers happy, too!