Do you ever look at cheerful, loving couples and wonder what their secret is? Why are they so happy all of the time? How do they manage to keep that bond strong? And most importantly, can I foster that same loving relationship? Dr. Gilbert Chalepas says yes, indeed you can! And he’s here to tell you how.

Chalepas is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in helping women get through messy divorces and rebuild their lives. He prides himself on giving constant feedback, advice, and valuable life skills and jumps at every opportunity to do so—such as now! Chalepas is here to explain the 10 secrets of happy couples: each of which may save or improve your own relationship. According to him, happy and healthy couples do the following:

1) They make their relationship their #1 priority.

If you’re hoping to have a happy, healthy relationship, Chalepas says a major key is putting your relationship first. “Relationships cost, and that’s the price if you want to have a great one. When you make your beloved feel like a king or queen, they will never think of another and gladly return the favor.”

2) They’re on the same page financially.

“Be sure that you are on the same page around finances and how you look at and treat money,” says Chalepas. “Money, especially the lack of it, is one of the major sources of contention in relationships, which leads to divorce. Be respectful of money, and it will stick around and multiply.”

3) They do little unexpected things for each other.

Chalepas says that a happy relationship involves doing little unexpected things for each other, “like catching your sweetheart doing something right. You can never underestimate the power of an honest compliment. Your beloved will love you even more when you do little things that make them feel appreciated, relevant, and cherished. By the way, compliments are often contagious!”

4) They show interest in the other’s day.

Another secret to a happy relationship is making the effort to ask about your partner’s day—and to show genuine interest in their answer. “Make it a daily habit to be interested in their day, and be willing share some of yours as well,” says Chalepas. “Just be sure to go light on the complaining though. Look into their eyes and smile. Be interested, present and open—become their sounding board and confidante. Check-in to see if they just need to feel heard or would prefer some input from you.”

5) They avoid talking about their exes.

According to Chalepas, talking about exes is a big no-no. “Avoid talking about your exes at all costs, period,” he says. “You don’t want to make them feel jealous or insecure. Your exes are in your past or they better be, and you should make sure they stay there. Your sweetheart is the only show in town now—make absolutely sure they know it and feel it.”

6) They don’t nitpick or nag.

It’s important you don’t nitpick or nag your partner, Chalepas explains. “You’re not their parent. That’s the quickest way to kill the sex drive. Instead, notice when they do something well and mention it, especially to someone else when they can hear you; your beloved will beam. You want them to think of you as a delicious piece of mouth-watering cake that they can’t wait to get to, not an annoying whiner.”

7) They pick and choose their battles.

Chalepas says happy couples honor each other’s wants and needs and pick their battles wisely. “Where you have dinner or which movie you see is really not that important. At the end of the day, as long as you’re holding hands, connecting emotionally and having a great time is all that really matters. That’s what releases the feel-good chemicals in our brains. Learn to negotiate, perhaps by taking turns picking, that way you both get what you want.”

8) They cheer each other on.

If you want to ensure your relationship stays a happy and healthy one, Chalepas says you should, “become your partner’s cheering squad and support them in every way you can. When they truly know that you are by their side, they can conquer the world. When you are loving and supportive, your sweetheart will jump at the chance to reciprocate and by your biggest fan.”

9) They prioritize time together.

“No matter how long you’ve been together, create date nights, just for the two of you. Hire a babysitter, have your parents or the neighbor watch the kids, whatever you need to do so you can be together alone. Also, plan vacations or romantic weekend getaways.

10) They’re proactive.

Lastly, Chalepas says happy couples are proactive and put the necessary effort into fostering a healthy relationship. “When you have a garden, weeds are to be expected. So, be proactive and take care of business! Be an adoring and supportive partner and your devoted sweetheart will be convinced they’ve hit the jackpot and treat you like the precious jewel that you truly are.”