Being happy in a relationship is important to live a good life to the fullest.
My wife and I often spend time reflecting on our relationship. She is really good at expressing her emotions and needs.
I could become even better at doing this.
A few months ago we were presented with an exercise focusing on how to be happy in a relationship. Luckily, this exercise came into our life at a point where we both feel happy in our relationship.
For us, the exercise led to meaningful conversations on how to be even happier in our relationship. This is extremely important since the whole journey to financial independence is meaningless if we are not happy on the journey.
Let me present to you: The Happiness Octagon
Happiness is hard to define. I’m not going to tell you what it means to be happy. For me, it is that warm feeling in your stomach and feeling of being content. For you, it might be something different.
However, there are eight areas in your life that you should feel happy about. This is the point of the happiness octagon:
The happiness octagon represents eight important areas. You will be surprised to find on a finance blog that finances are only one of those eight 🙂
I will not define the exact meaning of each area, but rather pose a couple of relevant questions. Broadening the questions and answering them is up to you as a couple to do and part of the exercise. It’s
The eight areas are:
- Friends & Family: How happy are you with the friends and family in your life? Do you see them as much as you want to? Do they give you positive energy?
- Recreation & Fun: How often do you have fun? Do you have recreational activities in your life that you truly enjoy?
- Career: How satisfied are you with your career? Do you enjoy going to work? Does your work give you energy?
- Finances: How satisfied are you with your financial situation?
- Romance & Sex: How satisfied are you with romance and sex in your relationship? Do you have both an emotional and physical connection with your partner?
- Relationship Growth: Are you satisfied with how you are growing as a couple? Do you make each other better versions of yourself continuously?
- Spirituality & Emotional Connection: Do you get energy from practicing spirituality? Do you have a majority of positive emotions in your daily life?
- Environment: Are you happy with the environment you live your life in (your house, your city, your country)? Do you feel you give back to the world?
I found this list to be a great conversation starter. Even though some of the points are not mutually exclusive, they all focus on a relationship in balance.
How to be even happier in a relationship: using the octagon
Now that you know which areas to discuss. The question is then: how do you start the conversation?
The whole exercise is focused on how to be more happy in a relationship. The purpose of the exercise is not to be happy with all eight areas.
The purpose of the exercise is to bring balance into your relationship. This means focusing on the areas that make you happy as a couple.
The exercise is done in four steps:
- Draw the octagon on a piece of paper and don’t discuss the eight areas with each other beforehand
- Individually, score each area from 0 to 10 by drawing a line in the octagon (0 is the center of the octagon, 10 is the outer border)
- Go through your individual octagons together and check where you are on the same line
- Discuss where your lines are different and explain in detail what is behind your score
- Decide on 1-2 areas where you want to improve your life satisfaction and bring balance into your relationship
- Discuss how you want your life together to develop in general across all other areas
That’s the purpose of the happiness octagon! I hope it will be helpful in determining how to be more happy in your relationship.
For us, it led to good, meaningful conversations. I hope it will do the same for you 🙂