The 6 secrets of happy couples, according to a relationship coach.

Attention all happy couples. What is it that actually makes you content in your relationship?

It's hard yards to keep a good thing going, and that's especially true of long-term relationships. 

But we've got the intel from the experts, aka couples' therapists. According to those who help couples stay together or strengthen their relationship, there are a few key attributes all happy couples have.

Watch: sex tips for couples from sexologist Chantelle Otten. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Phoebe Rogers is a clinical psychologist, couples' therapist, and relationship coach. After more than five years working with hundreds of couples, she has certainly seen a thing or two!

As for how she would define a 'happy couple', Rogers tells Mamamia that it always comes down to a duo who feels safe and secure in their relationship.

"There is a sense of solidarity and reliability, that they are a team and on the same side. Happy couples laugh, share experiences, and see the best in each other," she explains. 

"A happy couple is comprised of two happy, authentic individuals who feel that the relationship allows them to be themselves completely. A happy couple also tends to have a shared vision for the future."


The secrets to a happy relationship.

After spending time with all sorts of couples going through all sorts of different things, Rogers says there are a few common characteristics happy couples share.

1. Happy couples are realistic.

It's important to stress that happy couples' lives aren't filled with 24/7 sunshine and no disagreements. That isn't exactly realistic. Instead, we're talking about relatively happy couples or secure couples, says Rogers. 

"They understand that they have ups and downs, good moments, and tougher moments, but trust that they will always make it through."

2. Happy couples acknowledge their faults.

"Happy couples are made of two individuals who each accept responsibility for their part in conflict; they accept that they need to work at their relationships."

3. Happy couples see the good in each other.

It's importance to recognise faults, and that everyone has them. But another equally important attribute, says Rogers, is that partners see the good in each other – the strengths and qualities they love most about their partner, rather than constantly dwelling on that one niggling annoyance or quirk.

"There is goodwill, compassion and empathy," says Rogers. "They see the best of intentions in their partner, even when they stuff up."

4. Happy couples listen – and take it in.

John Gottman is a well-known American psychologist and professor. He conducted research that, while based on hetero-normative relationships, provides interesting insight.

He found that men who 'accept influence' from their female partners tend to have happier and more satisfying relationships.


As for what 'accepting influence' means, Rogers says it refers to partners who seriously consider the thoughts, ideas, opinions and feelings of their other half. It shouldn't be mistaken for simply being a yes-man for your partner, but rather being open to their perspectives and acknowledging their points of view. Even if it's not exactly the same as yours!

5. Happy couples are reciprocal.

This quality is particularly important among couples with children, says Rogers.

"The load (mental, emotional and financial) feels balanced – there is a general sense of fairness and contribution, which means they are low on resentment."

6. Happy couples want to nurture their relationship.

If you and your partner haven't had the chance to go on a date or spend some quality one-on-one time together recently... this is your sign to start organising.

Although many couples live together and see each other so darn often, that doesn't necessarily translate to quality time. Instead, it's about putting aside specific time to give each other your full attention – with the intention of relighting the spark or building on a connection. 

It's also about being vulnerable and emotional with one another, Rogers explains. 

"Vulnerability is the building block of connection, it allows for compassion. I largely practice emotionally focused therapy for couples. A huge component of this work is attachment and bonding science. Happy couples know they are there for each other – attuned to each other's emotions, responsive to each other, and engaged emotionally. They care about each other's feelings and inner emotional world."


Feeling a bit flat in your relationship? Here's what you can do.

Rogers has seen plenty of couples who are feeling flat in their relationship. We're talking anger, resentment, hurt – thorny feelings.

Interestingly though, Rogers says that can shift after just one session of therapy. And the same can be said for those whose relationships are feeling a bit stale, too.

"It shifts because you get a new perspective on your partner's pain, some renewed compassion for them, and you see your part in the dynamic. Therapy is so incredibly important, so don't leave it too late to reach out for relationship counselling or help," she suggests.

"Have an honest talk without blaming; simply say how you have been feeling, and what you need. Each partner should own or say one or two things they need more of from their partner, and try to work on that. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable – I see partners holding back all the time, and it's often vulnerability that reconnects them."

With this in mind, the ideal three-pronged approach is to seek expert advice, have those honest conversations and put the work and effort in again.

"Happy couples fight, disagree and have differences in how each sees the world, and that's okay. The best thing you can do for your partner is focus on your healing and happiness, as a happy individual contributes to a happy couple."

For more from Phoebe Rogers, you can see her At Home Psychology website here, and her couples' therapy business The Relationships Space here

Feature Image: Getty.