WebMD BlogsRelationships

The Key to a Happy Partnership

couple smiling
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistFebruary 24, 2021

You want your own happily-ever-after. You might have been dreaming of it since childhood. Although no real-life relationship can match fairytale endings, many people do enjoy happy marriages and partnerships that last decades. For all the advice on relationships -- and there is a lot of good advice out there, there is one tip that stands above all the rest: Never lose sight of the importance of connecting with your love and caring for each other -- and showing it.

Right from the beginning, this means choosing a partner who shows their love in a way that feels nurturing. If your partner is the quiet type, they might show their love by attending to your needs. If this attention feels nurturing, then it will help your relationship thrive. However, if your partner loudly proclaims their love with a possessiveness that feels smothering, then the relationship will eventually be smothered, too.

When the newness of your relationship loses its sparkle, you may become more focused on the “things” or “activities” of daily life. In doing this, you might find that your love moves increasingly to the periphery of your attention. It may even be left behind as the weeks, months, and years pass.

For this reason, it is important to remind yourself of what you value in your spouse and be sure to express it on a regular basis. You can do this in any number of ways. You might just say it, text a heart emoji, touch them affectionately, cook their favorite food, surprise them with something you know they’ll like, or anything else you can think of. If you find yourself thinking that you don’t need to show that you care because they know it, you are headed in the wrong direction. People don’t know they are loved or appreciated unless it is communicated to them.

There will be times when you disagree, argue, or just get on each other’s nerves. Bringing your love front and center is essential especially at these times. Whenever I work with couples in therapy, the first order of business is to help them rediscover the warm feelings they have for each other. The details of their disagreements are almost always secondary to this. When you can listen to your spouse, understand, and empathize with their distress, you will feel moved to ease their pain. This is true even if you continue to disagree with them and remain committed to wanting the very thing that is upsetting them. And if you have upset your spouse, showing your love for them can help them feel cared about and move them toward opening up to you again. And when you both feel cared about, you can then begin the process of talking about your differences with the goal of finding a way to recognize what you both want. (To further explore this, check out my brief video)

Of course, people sometimes grow apart. Their values change. When they no longer fit together, they may be served best by parting ways. But if you remain committed to prioritizing your love for each other, you will also remain committed to each other’s happiness throughout your relationship. By prioritizing your caring, you have a better chance of growing together, and you will work together to make the best of your relationship.


WebMD Blog
© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
Blog Topics:
About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

More from the Relationships Blog

  • giving advice

    Think Twice Before You Give Advice

    If only we were as good at solving our own problems as we are at solving other people’s. But like so many great ideas, our solutions for others often become less perfect the more we learn about the problem ...

  • photo of couple arguing in bed

    How to Keep Your Emotions From Overwhelming You

    If you’re someone who gets emotionally overwhelmed, relationship conflict can be difficult to manage. When you get upset with your partner, you don’t handle it well. You are too upset to think clearly. So you ...

View all posts on Relationships

Latest Blog Posts on WebMD

View all blog posts

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Read More