It is easier to love someone when you can see, hear, and feel that you are making them happy. Let me be clear though: it is not our job to make another person happy.
Much of happiness comes from inside: when we are well and taking care of ourselves, exercising, plus we're engaged with our mate, kids, friends, community, and doing work and activities that suit us.
And yet, couples can add to the happiness of one another ? or not.
When my husband is tired after work, and I bring him a glass of fizzy water, he looks into my eyes and thanks me. I know I have made him happy in this small way, and his happiness rubs off on me. When I rub his upper arms and shoulders, and he gets goose-bumps, I can feel his pleasure under my fingertips.
When all of his boys were here, and our home was full to overflowing, with loud and witty conversations late into the night, he looked at me as if I had somehow made all this happen; I could see gratitude in his shining blue eyes.
He tells me I make him feel like a million bucks.
Do you think this encourages me to want to make him happy? Hell yes!
I want to make him happy. And I want to leave space for his other feelings, too (especially now when his mom is dying).
When he dances with me in the living room, just because, I am happy. When he says I am so good at my work, and the most compassionate person he knows, I am happy. He proof reads for me. I bounce ideas off him, and he listens closely. If I made a list of ways that he adds to my happiness, it would be a long one: the main one is that he accepts me for who I am, with my light, my flaws, my experiences, my ongoing growth.
He wants to make me happy.
Usually couples don't actively want to make their mate unhappy. They just want what they want. Or they want to be right. Or they want to blame. Or they are wounded and it comes out toward the other. And the result is both parties are unhappy.
I'm not even talking about compromise here. Just take a look around, and experiment with a few small, medium or large things you can do or say that might make your mate happy. See what happens for a month.
Over time, it becomes an upward spiral of treating each other well. We like to say: "See what you get for how you've been acting."