Happy Together Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Happy Together is written by two of the world’s most renowned psychologists, and it explores the concept of love and relationships by teaching its readers how to build and maintain happy, flourishing connections and how to optimize their couple life by focusing on the good and healthily dealing with the bad.

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Favorite quote from the author:


Everything we do revolves around or is a result of our relationships with people. When it comes to romantic relationships, everything gets even more complicated. Being in a couple requires extreme care, dedication, and understanding from both sides.

To stand by a person and accept their flaws along with their qualities is an act of bravery. You allow them to open up and show you their vulnerabilities while you get to show them yours. A romantic relationship is beautiful, intense, challenging, and heartbreaking at times.

While many psychologists, life coaches, and books promise to deliver the ultimate guide to a successful marriage, Happy Together by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski, James O. Pawelski offers a refreshingly honest take: Marriages are challenging, but they can work!

As such, let’s learn the secrets of a happy marriage by navigating through my three favorite lessons from the book:

  1. We should work on our relationship the same way we work on our bodies at the gym.
  2. The SNAP method can help us become better in our romantic life overall. 
  3. Aristotelian lovers know each other well and publicly commit to each other.

To fully comprehend these lessons, we must first take them one by one and see what they offer. So let’s start with the first one!

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Lesson 1: Hit the relationship gym consistently just as you would hit a regular gym.

The authors suggest that relationships work can be associated with our workout routines at the gym. A successful marriage requires constantly showing up, improving the weaker areas, and doing so, continuing to keep on seeing results. When you get to see the positive effects of the excellent routine you’ve followed, you’ll keep on wanting to follow it through.

The same goes for a marriage. When you see how certain things function well for you and your partner, you’ll want to introduce those in your “routine” frequently. For example, let’s say you find that you reconnect with your partner best if you go on a weekly date. Therefore, make it a habit and stick to it. Doing so will help you bond and keep the love alive. After all, it’s effortless to fall in love but more difficult to stay that way. 

The philosophy behind this concept goes back to ancient times. Stoics believed in the idea of pursuing a good habit consistently, till you find pleasure in doing it and they become essentially the same thing, or as they say – “until the will to good becomes a disposition to good.” Make it a habit to care for your partner and actively spend time and create memories with them, and have them compete with your level of dedication to make a beautiful and natural way of living with each other.

Lesson 2: Use the SNAP technique to optimize your relationship.

To transform your relationship for the better, the authors developed a formula for success – SNAP. These acronyms come from four principles that everyone should implement in their relationship:

  1. Start Strong. 
  2. No exceptions.
  3. Always act.
  4. Practice exercising the will.

Now, let’s see what these pieces of advice are all about—starting vital means being firm when you commit to your new goal. 

You can do so by stating your intentions publicly. Your friends and family can only support you if they know your preferences, and it’s much more challenging to go back on your word after everyone is expecting you to accomplish something. No exceptions imply taking no days off from our goals. When we indulge ourselves in breaks or sure special treats, we tend to lose focus and restart the process all over again. 

Always act means satisfying our intentions to follow the proper habits. Even if we’re not in the mood and find it annoying to start. To practice the will is to choose to do something challenging every day just for the sake of it, to strengthen our willpower and have it ready for us when the situation asks for it.

Lesson 3: Use the VIA survey and commit to your partner publicly to take your relationship to the next level.

To explain their ideal of love, the authors went far back in time to borrow some ideas and expressions for their concept. Hence, their soulmate concept is anchored in eudaimonia, which means good spirit. This word describes a state of blessedness, good fortune, contentment, and pure joy. To reach this state of being, Aristotle states that we must find a person to share it with and help them flourish in life while they help us do the same.

Thus, the ancient philosopher’s idea of soulmate lies in eudaimonia. To find someone to share this feeling with and hold on to them takes a lot of work and dedication. As well as knowing them well. The authors suggest using the VIA survey with your partner to learn more about each other’s strengths, traits, love languages, and so on. It’ll then becomes easier to satisfy their needs and meet their expectations, and vice versa. When both partners work well together, they’ll achieve eudaimonia. 

Lastly, the authors suggest that love is an action verb and that the partners’ intentions should be made clear and public. When we make formal and public commitments, we’re more likely to stick to them. It’ll be then difficult to go back on our words. That is why, during weddings, couples tell each other their vows in front of an audience. To commit to someone for life is not an easy feat, but if they’re your Aristotelian lover, it will be worth it.

Happy Together Review

Happy Together is a book for all those who believe in soulmates, in pursuing an ideal of love, and want to get first-hand advice from psychologists who are well-versed in this domain. The readers of this book will learn the traits of good love, and the importance of establishing a healthy form of communication with their partner.  Also, readers will learn how to create and maintain a beautiful, long-lasting relationship. The universal truths presented are enough to make this book an evergreen piece. Still, the touch of psychologists with high levels of expertise in this domain is undoubtedly a great bonus.

Who would I recommend the Happy Together summary to?

The 10-year-old couples who are looking to reconnect with each other and fortify their relationship. This is for the 24-year-old person who’s considering getting married soon. This can be also for the 30-year-old hopeless romantic who is looking to identify their ideal of love and pursue it. 

Last Updated on May 19, 2023

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.