There are thousands of books, articles, podcasts etc, about what makes a relationship satisfying. After years of reading soaking in all the information from a variety of sources, here are 5 simple ways to improve your relationship (even the best relationships can always use a periodic boost). Understandably, some of the below items are easier to achieve than others, however, after reading the list you may have a better idea about what areas your relationship needs improvement.
Be best friends and treat each other as such. How do you treat your best friend when they are upset? Do you tell them they are in the wrong or they need to stop feeling sad? I hope not. To our best friends we lend a supportive and loving ear all the while sticking up for them. The same should go for your beloved. When your partner comes home from work complaining about the boss, do not respond with, “Well your boss may have a point...” To that end, what happens when our best friend wants try a new restaurant or go see a movie? We say yes because we want to share in what our friend likes. Finally, when you find yourself irritated or annoyed towards your partner take one second to ask yourself- “If this were my best girl friend how would I respond? How would I treat them?”
Let it Out:
When something upsets you, say it right away. Many of us are guilty of holding in our thoughts and feelings. One little thing bothers us early in the day and instead of bringing it up in the moment we allow it to fester. Sometimes we may not ask questions or respond with, “it's nothing, I'm fine” because we feel stupid for feeling it or we tell ourself that it does not really matter. My answer to that is, if it really is nothing then what is the harm in saying it out loud? Take 5 minutes to explain exactly what you are thinking the moment you are upset. It could possibly save you an hour(s) conversation later.
Passion and Hobbies:
Find a shared passion that both of you can enjoy together. Having a passion to share with your love grants you the opportunity to have something to learn about together, gives you a topic to talk about, and allows you to connect through quality time. Passions can include cooking, music, traveling, health and fitness, and mountain biking. If at first nothing is jumping out at you, make a pact to keep trying out new things together.
Liven up your sex life. I often hear about people becoming bored or being dissatisfied with their sex life. If we have these feelings it is important to first talk (in a loving way) to your partner about it. It may be a periodic lull or there may be something deeper. Whatever the reason, there are many ways you can keep your sex life fun and spontaneous. Try a new sex position and then talk about how you liked it or take the love making out of the bedroom to a hotel or the kitchen island. Have fun with your sex life by talking about it and exploring new ways to please your partner.
Learn how your partner receives love and do more of it. The well-known five love languages described by Gary Chapman explains how individuals give and receive feelings of love. Languages include; words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of services, and physical touch. Each individual has their own way of feeling loved which may or may not be different from our partners. It is important to show love how our partners feel it. One night, you and your partner go to www.5lovelanguages.com to take the test and find out each other's love language. Then converse about ways you can both show each other how much you care and love one another.
How easy do you think it is to implement these changes? Go over the list with your partner and brainstorm what changes can be made. If at the very least, it can open up the communication with your partner. Of course, there are more than 5 ways to better our relationships but this list is a great way to get started If you are interested in more information, below are some recommended readings.
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
- How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo
- The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D Chapman