10 Habits Of Happy Couples? I fail #2 miserably.

UPDATE: This post has turned into the most popular post on Confessions of a Terrible Husband! Because of that I took a few minutes to talk about it a bit more on the Confessions of a Terrible Husband Podcast. You can listen to the episode by clicking the play button in this post or by visiting any of the listening options linked on the top of the page!

Also, if you’re interested in how I’m improving my habits and marriage, you can pick up signed copies of my book, Confessions of a Terrible Husband, right here or unsigned and Kindle versions on Amazon.

Habits

If you’re anything like me, you’ve wasted way too much time on those viral video sites about something amazing happening three minutes into a video or a five year old “out breakdancing a professional street performer.”

Most of the time, it’s interesting but not life changing. Every once in a while though, one of those sites gives you something useful other than a lesson on how to draft a blog post title…

And when it’s about marriage or “not being a crappy husband,” it inevitably ends up in my inbox. Yeah… I’m now known by friends and family as the one who needs and is most receptive to advice in the area.

That’s ok. There are worse things to be known for, right Lindsay Lohan?

Well a couple of weeks ago we struck gold with 10 Habits of Happy Couples, by Dr. Mark Goulston, a psychiatrist, “international speaker” (sounds fancy…), and best-selling author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to getting Through to Absolutely Anyone, and 6 Secrets of a Lasting Relationship: How to Fall in Love Again.

“Dude’s got some street cred’,” if you ask me. 🙂

Let’s see how I stack up in the Happy Couple Habit Counter (See what I did there with the Hs and Cs? No charge for that creativity. But feel free to send over some bitcoins if you enjoyed it that much.  Email me at nick@aterriblehusband.com and I’ll send you my account info… )

And here’s the podcast episode where I talk a little bit more about this list! To subscribe to the podcast you can head on over to iTunes or Stitcher.  You can also listen to more episodes on Facebook, or right here on the site!

1. Go to bed at the same time. Pass. We generally are in bed awake at the same time and fall asleep around the same time. But we don’t get into bed together at the same time every night. Maybe it’s time to try this.

2. Cultivate common interests. Fail. We suck at this. I like sports. She likes “not watching sports.” She likes the beach. I like “not being at the beach.” I like “rustic stuff like being in the woods.” She likes “places where there are no bugs.” We both like fruit picking. But I generally like to do mine at the super market. Plus, how much fruit can 4 people eat?!?! Need to work on this. I guess apple picking is sort of like hiking in the woods but with a cover charge and overpriced fruit. Maybe there’s hope.

3. Walk hand in hand or side by side. Pass. We’re usually pretty good at walking together and holding hands, although we can’t agree on hand-holding technique. She’s a finger-wrapper and I’m a fingers together and hands angled guy. Having fingers in between my fingers is just uncomfortable… (Are we the only couple with finger placement incompatibility?)

4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode. Barely Pass. You know the title of this blog, right? Let’s just say we’re working on this. Not with any of the “big things,” but years of putting the family on the back burner aren’t just forgotten overnight…

5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. Pass. Pretty good at this and getting better.

6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work. Fail. I’m 1 for 5 on a good week. Definitely something to work on. As it is, walking into the house after work is a pretty hectic event. Kids running at me. Wife’s tired. I’m beat up after a long day of work and fighting traffic. A pause and a hug are probably just what the doctor would order in that moment. I’m going to work hard on this.

7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. Pass. When she’s awake we’re 9 for 10.

8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. Pass. We’re pretty good with this too.

9. Do a “weather” check during the day, calling your wife during the day to see how she’s doing. Pass. 4 times per week at least.

10. Be proud to be seen with your partner. Pass, at least. I am. I think she is. I’m kind of afraid to ask…

So there you have it. Not a report card that I would want. I had originally given me actual letter grades but that was ugly… lots of Bs and Cs. Only a couple As.

So I changed it to pass/fail so I could feel better and so you can let me know how you did in the comments!

Here’s the article again in case you want to check it out.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • bitfs

    1. Go to bed at the same time. FAIL – He likes to come to bed at 3-4am and I am asleep between 1-2am.

    2. Cultivate common interests. PASS. We have our own interests but we also have joint hobbies like board gaming at least once a week.

    3. Walk hand in hand or side by side. PASS.

    4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode. Working on this.

    5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. Working on this.

    6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work. PASS. We hug when we’re parting and when we get back.

    7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. PASS. At least on I Love You. We also wish each other a good time when one of us is going somewhere.

    8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. PASS MOSTLY. When I’m really, really angry, I just go to bed.

    9. Do a “weather” check during the day, calling your wife during the day to see how she’s doing. PASS mostly.

    10. Be proud to be seen with your partner. PASS

    • I LOVE that you hug when you are parting and when you get back. So cool! (And I wake up basically when your husband goes to sleep!)

  • David Mike

    #2 Is hard for us, you know opposites attract.
    #5 is a work in progress.
    The rest, winning!

  • Spouse Dates

    Great post, Nick! It reminded me of what Marcus Buckingham, in his book The One Thing You Need to Know, explains as the ONE THING, above all else, that makes for a happily married, life long couple: “Find the most generous explanation for each other’s behavior and believe it.” Getting better but still working on it. Steve

    • Thanks Steve! Looks like another book I need to pick up! That’s a great quote.

  • Don @ HowYouCanFindLove

    9/10 for my wife and me. We usually only “check the weather” when one of us calls because we are having a really rough day. But with that said, we do talk about how our day was every night. So that has to count for something, right?

  • Jess

    1. Go to bed at the same time. Pass.

    2. Cultivate common interests. Fail.

    3. Walk hand in hand or side by side. Pass.

    4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.
    Pass mostly.

    5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. Pass.

    6. Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work.
    Fail? We kiss instead of hug. If it was ‘kiss each other as soon as you see each other after work’ we would pass with flying colors.

    7. Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. Pass.

    8. Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. Pass.

    9. Do a “weather” check during the day, calling your wife during the day to see how she’s doing. Pass I think, We text all day to each other when were not together.

    10. Be proud to be seen with your partner. Pass 🙂

  • 3. Walking hand by hand or side by side. How I love that.

  • Claire

    I can’t say I agree with #1. My man and I sometimes get naturally tired at the same timem, but usually not. It’s a nice way of taking a little time to ourselves and wind down in our own individual ways.

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