If you would like to find out how happy your relationship is, you may like to fill out the “Happy Couples 100 Index”.
This scale was featured on the ABC1 television series, “Making Couples Happy“, and is based on an established, peer-reviewed marital satisfaction survey. You can take the test once a week, and invite your partner to do the same. If you and your partner complete the test within two weeks of each other, your combined relationship score will be displayed. Take the test here.
Research on couple relationships has shown that satisfaction declines for most couples across the first ten years and then generally plateaus. Many couples divorce (30-40% in Australia) or separate from their partner which can cause enormous stress, especially when there are shared children and property etc. Unfortunately second marriages are not necessarily happier and often face additional challenges such as step-parenting, trust issues left over from the first marriage and financial stress.
How to Increase your Happiness Score
Looking after your couple relationship and seeking help when you feel unhappy can help you to find real solutions. There are many research based activities that you and your partner can do that are likely to increase your happiness scores. You can find some examples of things to try right here (just login and then click “get happy” then go through to “activities for my relationship”) We know that positive couple times protect relationships.
Positive couple relationship behaviours include:
- good times together
- shared laughter
- shared couple outings and interests
- saying nice things to each other
- doing each other favours
- showing caring and affection,
- listening to each other, empathising and validating their partner
- feeling intimate and sexually satisfied
- making ongoing efforts to sustain the relationship and keep their partner feeling valued, loved and important.
These positive behaviours are therefore really important, they help you ‘stay in love’. Couple therapy can help you increase these positive behaviours.
Many couples struggle on for a while before they consider professional assistance. Unfortunately, the longer we stay in destructive patterns of conflict or distance, the more injuries can occur and the more entrenched our behaviours can become.
Couples counselling can assist any couple and we often work with people in relationships that are going well but would benefit from coaching in one specific area, for example:
- deciding when and whether to live together
- working out how to parent effectively as a team
- negotiating different levels of sexual desire
- deciding how to manage a difference of opinion about one particular topic.
Our psychologists can also assist couples facing challenges such as ongoing conflict, feeling alienated from each other, or having communication difficulties.aff to make a time that suits you.