Five Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Your Relationship Happier

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Have you started taking each other for granted? Do you wish there was more affection and fun in your relationship?

KEY POINTS

  • Saying “I love you” is always appreciated, but expressing gratitude toward one’s partner also goes a long way.
  • Touch helps romantic partners feel connected and strengthens a relationship.
  • Taking a walk or hike with one’s partner, especially when there is something important to discuss, can ease tension.

Show Appreciation/Gratitude


You may sometimes say “I love you” and that is always appreciated. But, showing what,
specifically, you love is even more treasured. For example, if your partner spontaneously
cleaned up a messy room, say you noticed and you appreciate it. You don’t always have to give a compliment—just show you noticed something specific that your partner has done or said and that it meant a lot to you. Oh, those are tasks my partner is supposed to do you may think.

But, saying you appreciate what your partner does shows you are aware of what your partner
contributes to your relationship. These expressions of appreciation can go a long way toward
giving you currency in the bank when you have to resolve differences in the future.


Some couples have a nightly “gratitude session” where they express what they are grateful for
in their lives and grateful for in each other. Even if you don’t do this nightly, having a weekly
scheduled time to express gratitude can not only help your relationship but can uplift your
spirits so that the stresses of daily living can be lessened.


Give an Empathic Response


Everyone wants to feel they were really heard. When you repeat back the essence of what you heard, your partner feels you listened and understood what was communicated. Instead of giving your quick response, take a moment to let your partner know what you heard. That will clear up any misunderstandings and bring you both closer together.


Don’t Forget the Warmth of a Smile and of Touch


A hello kiss upon coming home from work, some cuddling in bed at night, and a goodbye kiss all signify your partner is important to you. We all need touch to feel connected to each other and doing so strengthens our relationship.


Make Time for a Date Night


Your relationship is more important than your work or the kids. Yes, you have to make time for
them but your relationship can get squeezed out with attending to all their daily activities.
After all, the kids are going to leave someday but, hopefully, your partner isn’t.


Set aside time for just the two of you. You may have a romantic dinner at home when the kids
are reading in their beds before falling asleep. Or you may get a babysitter and go out to dinner or out to a movie or a play.

Schedule a Fun Event at Least Once Every Two Weeks


Find an activity both of you enjoy, and participate in it together. Each of you can write out a list
of what you enjoy doing outside of the house. Then compare your lists. There may be some
activities that overlap or are similar. Then consult a website such as Meetup.com to find an
activity in your neighborhood.

Another way to spend meaningful time together is to volunteer together. Giving to others
moves you out of yourself and your own problems while bringing you closer together through
this shared activity.


A fun event does not have to cost money. You can just take a walk. Taking a walk or hike
together can help ease tensions, especially when you need to discuss something important.
Walking encourages talking and you often can come to a solution or a helpful compromise
during your walk.

Five Ways You Know You Have Found Your Soulmate

soulmates-and-life-partners

Basically, a soulmate is supportive and makes you feel comfortable.

  1. A soulmate listens to you deeply and you feel instantly understood. Being deeply listened to without the other person listening only for how they need to respond is a rarity in relationships.  Yet the other person acknowledging an understanding of the message you are sending makes you feel intimately connected to that person.
  2. A soulmate brings out the best in you and accepts you just the way you are. You feel like you can be totally open and honest with your soulmate because, no matter what you say, you will still be accepted as a person.
  3. When you are interacting with a soulmate you notice the similarities you share. You may have similar values, interests, goals.  Or you may have a subconscious connection.  Your soulmate may be similar to someone else who was important in your life who was also nurturing and accepting.  So you feel comfortable when with your soulmate.
  4. Your soulmate has your back. It is the two of you against the world—well, maybe just against a common foe or issue.  You feel supported in your struggles.
  5. A soulmate feels like that is your missing piece; you feel completed when you are with your soulmate.

Feeling understood and completed with your soulmate does have its downside.  You may feel you are incomplete without your soulmate and not able to function as well without that person.  You may start yearning for the next time the two of you will be together.  Or you may anxiously await the next text message.

You may begin to depend on your soulmate to meet your needs—your need for appreciation, for self-esteem, for comradeship.  If either you or your soulmate changes in terms of these needs, you can feel lost, not needed, or not needing.

 

What Makes Love Last?

Bev and Dick 2017 (3)

As my husband and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary I started to wonder what has caused not just our relationship but our love to last.

 The number one ingredient has been acceptance, which comes from not criticizing each other and valuing each other’s uniqueness. 

The second ingredient is being able to empathize and telling each other that we do understand the other’s perspective.

The third ingredient is letting each other know, every day in many different ways, how much we appreciate each other.

Of course, it probably helped that we also have some qualities in common, a curious intellect and an adventurous spirit.  And we learned the importance of acceptance, empathy, and appreciation early in our relationship.

“Well”, you may ask, “are those ingredients unique to my relationship or is there some scientific evidence that supports their importance in any loving relationship?”  The first two ingredients were demonstrated in the research of Carl Rogers.1   Appreciation, or gratitude, also has been shown to help love last.2

 

  1. Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person Boston. MA: Houghton Mifflin, pp. 342-344.
  2. Algoe, S. B., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8, 425–429.