Don’t you wish that relationships work the way they do on television sitcoms? Everyone is laughing their way through life and when challenges do bubble up they are easily solved in half an hour. Sadly, it’s not usually like that. Real, healthy relationships take time, energy and hard work. Sometimes, especially if you and your partner have been together a long time, relationships can become stale and even boring. But, with a little extra effort you can recharge your relationship and reignite the spark of love. While big, over-the-top gestures are nice once in a while, little things and day-to-day actions can bring big changes.
Say how you feel: Putting emotions into words can feel intimidating and scary. But, not expressing your feelings leaves your partner guessing. Whether you are feeling loving, blissful, frustrated or confused, your partner deserves your open, honest communication. Frequent verbal reminders that you care about your partner, are proud of them and enjoy their company can help to build the foundation of a solid relationship.
Back up words with actions: Words aren’t enough if they aren’t supported by action. Show your partner that you mean what you say by demonstrating love in little ways everyday. Physical affection and time spent together are both important ways to demonstrate love. Beyond hugs and kisses, consider the stresses and task that your partner deals with each day and try to find little ways to lighten their load. Small acts of kindness, like spontaneously washing the dishes or cooking their favorite meal, can delight your partner and show that you care.
Develop traditions: Every relationship article out there shouts the importance of keeping things fresh and interesting. While it’s true that trying new things is good way to prevent things from getting boring, it may be even more important to develop traditions and routines. Think about your favorite tee-shirt. It’s soft, perfectly broken-in, fits just right and makes you smile every time you put it on. Traditions within a relationship are the same as that favorite snuggly tee. Whether it’s a weekly date night, a sweet nickname or a special greeting, traditions serve a reminder of shared history and good times.
Listen first, react second: Miscommunication, disagreements and arguments are part of every relationship. When you are your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye it’s tempting to want to defend yourself and have your opinion heard, no matter how loudly you need to talk over the other. Rather then turning a difference of opinion into a shouting match, take a step back, slow down and listen. Truly listening means thinking about what your partner has to say, rather than formulating your response while they talk. After really listening, take a moment to consider your response before blurting out the first thing that coms to mind. This allows you to focus on what really needs to be said, rather than just reacting and letting a torment of emotions steer you off topic. If the emotions of the moment still feel too overwhelming for a rational discussion, table the conversation until you have both calmed. You might find that the time to think convinces one or both of you to apologize, or at least move on, instead of fighting it out.
Get expert help: No matter how hard you work, relationships can be difficult to navigate on your own. Our Advisors can provide insight and guidance that can reveal new aspects of your relationship, clear up confusion and shine a light on options for improving and moving your relationship forward. Rather then guessing your way through changing your relationship for the better, working with an Advisor is like talking to an expert and a friend all at once.