This month my blog contributor Lena, is talking about 5 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship Today. I hope you all are enjoying the blog contributor portion as much as I am!
5 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship Today
We get it. We are all busy. There’s so much to do in any given day and often our relationships just don’t make the priority list. While a marriage or long term partnership can be one of the most important things in your life, it’s also the relationship that often gets overlooked first. Challenge yourself to incorporate one or more of these 5 easy ways to strengthen your relationship. Each one is a quick and easy addition to your day or an easy switch to something you’re already doing. It’s amazing what a big difference little things like this can make to a relationship!
1 | Show Appreciation
In any given day, how many positive things do you say to your partner? How often do you compliment them? If you’re anything like us, the constructive feedback you provide is more frequent than the praise. It doesn’t mean that our partners aren’t doing things that are worthy of appreciation, it’s just hard in the middle of a busy day to remember to give thanks for those things.
Try this – Before going to bed at night, tell your partner three things you appreciate about them from that day
Why it works – It will help your partner feel seen and heard. They will realize you do appreciate what they do. It’ll also help you end the day on a positive note, more focused on the good things about your partner than the bad
2 | Try something new
Date nights can often get old and stale. Most couples have their “go to” date night. Something they know is always easy and fun. It can be a big relationship boost to mix it up with something new!
Why it works – Novelty can trigger production of dopamine in the brain, which is one of the chemicals attributed to the butterflies feeling during the beginning stages of a relationship. Doing new things together can help you feel like you’re falling in love all over again!
3 | Learn your love languages
Love languages are a concept devised by Gary Chapman in his book, The Five Love Languages: The Secret to a Love That Lasts. They are something that many relationship counsellors and therapists suggest in their work with couples.
Try this – On your next date night, take the love languages quiz to learn your love languages. Once you know your partner’s love challenge, challenge yourself to speak it a few times next week. We have a few easy ideas for you HERE.
Why it works – Love languages are a giant contributor to a person feeling loved. Every person experiences and gives love in one main way and one secondary way. If their primary way isn’t being spoken, they can start feel unloved, no matter how much their partner is doing for them. Learning each other’s love languages can be a game changer in a relationship!
4 | Make one small change to your communication
Over the past few years, Bassam and I have made a committed effort to improve our communication. It’s not easy, but the improvements we’ve noticed have improved our relationship SO much. Communication affects every aspect of a relationship. Effective communication is what can help you get through the toughest parts of your marriage together and bring you closer, rather than drive you apart. Every effort spent on communication pays back in dividends!
Try this – Pick one of following communication changes to implement moving forward:
- Saying “you always” … instead, make it objective, “when (xyz) happens, I feel (xyz)”
- Making assumptions … instead, ask why (the trick here is to ask from a place of curiosity rather than anger)
- Continuing to argue beyond the point that the conversation is productive and is now just volatile … instead, take a break to calm down and come back to it
- Holding back things that are bothering you until one day it all piles up … instead, bring it up proactively in a objective manner and find a solution together (bonus points: first identify WHAT it makes you feel and why. Communicate that. It’s about the dishes. It’s always about something more)
Why it works – Cleaning up your communication style, even in small ways, will help your partner hear you more affectively, help you have more productive conversations, and have arguments that lead to breakthroughs rather than just hurt feelings! We truly believe every single little step forward in effective conversation skills, pays off BIG TIME in the long haul.
5 | Tackle a goal together
Tackling a goal together is an amazing way to release dopamine AND it also helps strengthen your relationship in terms of “expansion”. Dr. Arthur Aron theorizes that “self-expansion,” the desire to grow and change, is critical to boosting a couple’s level of commitment. By “self-expansion” in a relationship, he means that you see your partner as a source of exciting experiences, a support for becoming a better person, or a way to expand your own capabilities. Accomplishing a goal together is a great way to do that!
Try this – Pick something that you want to accomplish together that can be accomplished in the next few weeks to the next few months. Spend your date nights working toward that goal. (Examples: tackling a home DIY together, setting a budget and saving a certain amount of money, learning a new language together, working on a self improvement goal, reading a book together)
Why it works – Besides the theory of expansion and releasing dopamine, having a goal to work on together teaches you to work as a team. It also helps you have something constructive to bond over and feel pride over together. Bonus: built in date nights!