1. Hold Hands
Beyond the simplest display of PDA, scientific studies of couples clearly show that holding hands reduces stress and increases our feelings of connection to each other. Plus, it’s like saying to everyone you pass, “He’s with me!” or “I’m with her!” What better way to make your partner feel wanted and special?
2. Ask a new question
Or change the way you ask an old question. It’s easy to get in a routine of “How was your day?” “Fine, how was yours?” “Good. What’s for dinner?” And so on. But, what if you change the question to spark a really fun conversation? Try an open-ended question that requires more than a “yes” or “no” response like, “What made you smile today?” or “Tell me about a time you felt appreciated today.” You’ll have a more meaningful dinner conversation and you’ll probably learn something new about your mate, too.
3. Find out your partner’s apology language and use it!
No relationship is perfect and arguments happen. Knowing how to make up will build a strong foundation. Sincerely saying, “I’m truly sorry” for even a small transgression, can go a long way towards re-establishing trust and intimacy.
Just remember that we’re all different and so you need to tune in to how the other person responds when you apologize. Do they prefer words, physical touch, or maybe acts of service? Get to know this side of your boyfriend or girlfriend. They need to hear and experience an apology in ways that have meaning for them.
4. Balance togetherness with autonomy
Autonomy is something many couples struggle within their relationships. It’s easy to spend time with your significant other because they’ve become your best friend. But, it could also be too much togetherness. In order to keep your partner as your lover and not just your friend, it’s important to take some time away from each other. Have a girl’s night out or go golfing with the guys. It’s not only ok to do, it’s necessary to cultivate friendships outside of your relationship. We’ll dive deeper into that in another blog!
5. Go to bed at the same time
If you feel like you’re having trouble connecting or aren’t having enough time together throughout the day, bedtime is your opportunity. Sharing your bedtime routine together allows you to catch up from your day (ask the new questions!) and wind down together. BONUS: Going to bed at the same time increases your chances of having sex! You won’t have to wake your partner up and risk the backlash.
6. Get Sweaty Together
Think of working out with your partner as foreplay. It’s no secret that working out has benefits in the bedroom and doing some physically challenging activities with your other half is the perfect prelude. Go for a hike, take a surf lesson, hit the gym. Watching your partner challenge themselves and feeling their support and encouragement for you is an aphrodisiac.
7. Show your togetherness
No, this doesn’t mean join the “Love Your Spouse Challenge” on Facebook. What I mean by this is have more pictures of you two in your home and display souvenirs from your vacations together. Display your wedding candle (is that still a thing?). This way, you can look around your home every day and be reminded of happy times and why you love them.
8. Turn off your screens
Be present with your partner. No Instagram, Twitter, Facebook scrolling while you’re holding a conversation. If you’re attention is on something else, then you’re not really listening, are you? It’s ok to have a show that you always watch together, but if all you’re doing is watching TV and not connecting, that’s a problem. And absolutely, no phones allowed in the bedroom. This is your time to connect and be intimate and you cannot do that with a phone in your hand.
9. Keep dating
Yes, I know. Everyone mentions this. And there’s a reason. It works for couples who truly care for each other. Remember how many fun dates you went on in your first year of the relationship? Do that more often! We get comfortable with our spouse or significant other and can start to take them for granted. Show them how truly special they are to you by planning fun dates. On a budget? Google: Fun Cheap Date Ideas. If money is not an issue, indulge yourselves! Go on that exotic vacation you always talked about. You have my permission to use your screens for this tip!
10. Keep it SEXY!
Now, remember, sexy changes form as we grow and change in our relationships. Maybe your partner thinks it’s sexy when you help with the housework. Do something the first time he/she asks instead of waiting for when it’s convenient for you. Plus, do things that make you feel sexy too! The better you feel about yourself, the better you will look to your husband or wife.
Do the following exercise with your partner. Both of you writes your own list of at least 5 things you would like to do together. Between the two of you, and the ideas presented here, that will give you at least 10 things to do to make your relationship better – plus exploring together what those things are.
I love seeing couples grow together. It’s one of the most rewarding things I experience as a therapist. You don’t have to struggle on your own. I counsel couples and individuals about these issues consistently.
If you would like some additional support and perspectives, I invite you to contact me to see how I might be able to help make things better.