This time of year, love is in the air and everyone is thinking about romance! It must be all those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and lovey-dovey couple selfies on social media. No matter what your relationship status is, everyone just wants to be with someone who treats them well and makes them smile and laugh every day.
But unfortunately, at different points in our lives, many of us will end up in relationships that don’t quite fit this definition. Some couples just fight too much. Others truly love each other but want different things out of life, so they struggle to make decisions that make them both happy. And still others only stay together because they are scared of going off on their own and being alone, and they end up feeling like they are holding each other back. It’s sad, but it takes a long time to find that person who makes you truly happy.
So, what does a happy relationship REALLY look like? Truly happy couples will do about half of these 20 special things for each other.
20 They Leave Each Other Cute Love Notes
Leaving each other cute love notes is one of the most adorable ways to show that you care. According to Cosmopolitan, the majority of women say that love notes are one of their favourite little “presents” to receive—and the best part is that they don’t cost a thing!
All it takes is a pen, paper and a little imagination. And guys may not be as quick to admit it, but honestly, love notes make them smile, too. Sure, it’s cheesy, but it’s true! Who wouldn’t be happy to see how much their significant other loves them? Plus, you can save the notes!
19 They Surprise Each Other
Surprises can be the glue that holds a long-term relationship together. According to Women’s Health, many women in long-term relationships say that one of the biggest problems they face is the relationship feeling “stale”—as though it just isn’t exciting anymore. Those butterfly feelings that couples get when they first make it official don’t last forever on their own.
Happy couples know that they have to put in effort to keep the spark alive! That’s why they are always surprising each other in small ways, whether it’s with gifts, with fun dates or with little compliments each and every day.
18 They Plan Super Romantic Dates
Speaking of dates, did you know that many couples kind of stop going on real dates after a year or two of being together? Why is that? Well, some couples let dating take a back seat because they don’t make it a priority anymore. They think that once the commitment is made, they don’t have to try to charm each other. Well, that could not be further from the truth!
You should keep “dating” your significant other even after you two have been committed to each other for quite a while. The happiest couples just never stop “dating.”
17 They Travel Together
Traveling is the real test of a truly happy relationship. According to Marie Claire, traveling with a boyfriend or girlfriend is basically one of the best ways to tell if you two are really a good match. Why? There are several reasons. Traveling will put you into all sorts of tough situations and challenge you both to work together to plan the perfect trip, stay calm when things go wrong and get around a foreign country while dealing with uncertainties without fighting.
If you can travel together and enjoy yourselves, congratulations—you two definitely fall into the happy couple category!
16 They Make Each Other Adorable Playlists
Making someone a playlist is one of the sweetest ways to show that you care. It also shows that you are willing to be vulnerable with them and share music that you truly love—you’re opening yourself up to hearing their opinion on the bands that mean the most to you. And honestly, that’s a pretty big deal if music means a lot to you!
Making a playlist for your significant other can make them feel like you are with them even when you’re not around, and when they hear those songs, they’ll always think of you.
15 They Cook For Each Other
Yes, going out to eat together is so much fun—what’s better than a dinner date at your favourite restaurant? But both women and men will agree that one of their favourite things to do with their significant other is cooking! Just think about it: the saying that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach rings true for a reason. And ladies, what’s better than a guy who knows how to cook your favourite meals?
Cooking together can be so much fun—and eating the homemade meal that you two have just created is even better!
14 They Give Each Other Thoughtful, Handmade Gifts
Yes, pretty much everyone loves getting gifts of some kind—some people may not be into expensive, elaborate gifts, but everyone likes getting gifts from friends and family who know what they truly like. There’s nothing better than unwrapping a present and feeling like the gift giver read your mind to find out exactly what you wanted!
According to A Plus, many women say that the best romantic gifts are handmade and thoughtful. A scrapbook of fun times together, a photo of the two of you in the perfect frame, a memento of your first date…those are just a few ideas!
13 They Hold Hands In Public
When two people start dating, they will often want to hold hands everywhere they go. After all, that new-relationship excitement just makes you want to grab on to the other person and not let go! But over time, couples might stop holding hands in public—when those initial butterflies aren’t there anymore, it might just fall by the wayside.
According to She Knows, physical touch is one of the five main love languages, and even just holding hands can make your partner feel even more loved and appreciated. That’s why you will see happy couples holding hands in public after years together!
12 They Have Cute Nicknames For Each Other
Yes, pet names may seem a little silly or cheesy—but there is just something about hearing your partner call you a name that they don’t use for anyone else! It makes you feel special, like you are truly one in a million in their eyes. Many women who say that pet names sound a little corny actually like it when their partner has a nickname for them!
It doesn’t have to be something TOO overly romantic. Just something that makes you glow a little every time you hear it. Those cute nicknames can be a confidence booster.
11 They Buy Each Other Flowers
Is buying flowers only for special occasions, like Valentine’s Day, birthdays or anniversaries? Should only men be buying flowers for women? Hmmm, not quite! Lots of women will agree that random, surprise flowers are the best kind of flowers! Flowers can brighten up any normal, typical day and make it feel a little bit happier and sunnier, even in the middle of winter.
And ladies, feel free to get your man flowers if the mood strikes. Why not, right? Some guys love them! Flowers are one of those nice gifts that can make any occasion feel a little more positive.
10 They Send Good Morning And Goodnight Texts
When two people are starting to like each other and still in the “getting to know each other” phase, they might send each other good morning and goodnight texts. But for many couples, that sweet gesture might start to fade away over time. It’s a shame, but some couples just forget the importance of those little things.
Those good morning and goodnight texts can really make all the difference! It just makes the other person feel loved right when they wake up and right before they go to bed. Sometimes a little effort can go a long way!
9 They Save “Souvenirs” From Their Dates
Have you ever gone on a date that was so memorable that you ended up saving something from the date? Maybe a menu from the restaurant where you ate, or a ticket from the movie you went to see. Many women will save little tokens and mementos from adorable dates!
When both people in a relationship find themselves saving little things to remember their favourite dates, you know that they are both madly in love! The happiest couples always want to have things around that remind them of each other, even when they’re apart.
8 They Have Tons Of Photos Together
The happiest couples love being in photos together! Have you ever dated someone who just didn’t want to be in pictures, even when the two of you went somewhere beautiful and you really wanted a photo to remember it by? Isn’t it such a bummer?
According to Cosmopolitan, dating someone who doesn’t like taking photos with you could be a red flag—it might mean that he doesn’t want other women to know that he is in a relationship! A guy who is truly happy to be with you and proud to have you by his side will love taking photos.
7 They Sing Along When “Their Song” Comes On
Have you and your significant other ever decided on a certain song that reminded you both of each other? There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you hear “your song” come on! Couples who have a “song” will say that hearing it always make them feel closer, and when they randomly hear it on the radio when they’re apart, it seems like the other person is right there beside them for a moment!
It definitely seems like happy couples always have a song to call their own—and yes, they sing along when it comes on!
6 They Have Fun Doing Nothing Together
The happiest couples out there don’t need to plan a major activity to feel like they’re having a great time. In fact, they could be curled up on the couch next to each other reading different books, not speaking a word, and still feel like they’re having the best time ever.
The ability to spend time with your significant other without first making big plans or doing something romantic, yet still feeling happy and comfortable, means that the relationship is next level. It’s the true mark of a really happy, solid couple.
5 They Play Matchmaker For Their Single Friends
Happy couples want the other people in their lives to be happy and fall head over heels in love, too! According to Glamour, one thing that women (and men) in happy relationships get a lot of joy out of is setting up their single friends. After all, who wouldn’t want a few more happy couples to hang out with and go on double dates with?
If you’re friends with a couple who is always encouraging you to put yourself out there and go on dates with new people, it’s because they want you to experience the same kind of happiness they have!
4 They Make Each Other Laugh Constantly
What’s the number one sign that a couple is truly happy together? When you see that they always manage to make each other laugh, even during the tough times!
According to Thought Catalog, a great sense of humour is one of the most desirable qualities people look for in a partner—in fact, most people say that they can’t imagine dating someone who didn’t make them laugh on a daily basis! A good sense of humour is one of the best ways to attract somebody you really get along with and will have fun with.
3 They Always Give Each Other Compliments
When you’re just getting to know someone, and you really want them to fall head over heels for you (like you’ve already fallen for them), you’re probably giving them a few well-timed compliments when the opportunity presents itself. But sometimes, as the months and years go by, they forget how much we all need those little compliments to boost our self-esteem.
According to Verily, many guys in particular want compliments and feel good after receiving them. Compliments tell a guy you appreciate him. So ladies in happy relationships, keep this in mind and keep up those compliments—he loves it!
2 They Say “I Love You” Every Chance They Get
The words “I love you” are so much more than just three little words. They mean that the person you’re saying them to can trust you, completely, no matter what. It means that you’ll always be there for them, and that their happiness is your happiness.
Those three words are a statement about feelings AND your level of commitment. Saying and showing your love makes for a healthy relationship and a much closer one. That’s why those daily “I love you’s” are so, so important!
1 They Help Each Other With Little Things Every Day
So yes, saying “I love you” on a daily basis is key—but what about showing your love for each other through actions? Isn’t that just as important? Of course! Sometimes, just helping each other in little ways is the best thing that you can do for an even happier relationship.
According to Bustle, “acts of service” are another love language—basically, doing things for your partner without being asked. Any couple can make an effort to do this more often. Just keep an eye out for small things that you can give your partner a helping hand with. It'll mean a lot to them!