Happiness in a relationship is not defined by cutesy social media posts or a mathematical algorithm that matches people on dating sites. While measuring how happy a couple is has no clear science behind it, there are some things happy couples seem to do that might be at the root of why they are so happy together. Here are five of those things that you might be able to put into practice in your relationship, if you’re not already doing so.

They Always Make Each Other Feel Appreciated

Feeling appreciated in a relationship is important in the health and happiness of a couple. Couples that shower each other in verbal praise and support tend to be much happier than couples who don’t. They are positive and uplifting toward one another rather than focusing on the negative, and that makes a world of difference.

They Communicate Openly And Effectively

Good communication, both verbal and nonverbal, is a key element of a truly happy couple. This means they can express their needs and desires comfortably to one another without things like blame or guilt entering the picture. It means they don’t feel the need to get defensive, and they always want to listen and understand each other instead.

They Respect Each Other Even During Disagreements

No couple is in agreement about every little thing. The point is not to avoid disagreements (they can’t be totally avoided, after all), but to always treat each other with kindness and respect, despite not necessarily seeing eye to eye. And if one party does happen to be in the wrong, they let go of their ego and apologize rather than lashing out. That’s the way happy couples have disagreements.

They Love To Spend Time Together And Apart

The happiest couples are generally both happy in their lives independently of one another. They don’t need each other to feel complete. They don’t feel lonely the minute their partner is gone. They love their time together as well as the space they have for themselves because each is emotionally whole as an individual. They complement each other’s lives, bringing out the best in one another, but it’s love that brings them together, not necessity.

They Have Lots Of Nonsexual Physical Affection

If you’re happy in your relationship, chances are you and your significant other are often hugging and kissing and holding hands and massaging each other’s shoulders and sitting close to one another when you’re watching a movie. Happy couples express affection all the time that does not have a sexual end goal. They are doing it because their love is deep, and they can’t help but touch one another just for the sake of feeling close and connected.