Hello there, dear reader, and thanks for being here! I’m going to keep this short and sweet and give you five simple — and perhaps unexpected — tips to improve your relationship. (Keep in mind that the tried and true methods like being a good listener, spending quality time together each week, practicing forgiveness, and divvying up chores, are still ever-important!])
1. Put your cell phone away
A recent survey indicated that approximately half of us are annoyed at our partner for how much time they spend on their cell phone AND we think it interferes with intimate conversations and decreases relational satisfaction. So here’s your simple challenge: designate times in the evening in which your cell phone is “asleep” — or better yet, not in the same room as you are — and use that time to connect with your partner. And check out this article for other great ideas (e.g. reach for your partner in the morning, not your phone).
2. Try something new together
Research consistently shows that couples who try a variety of new activities together feel closer to one another and rekindle their spark. Whether it’s going to a trampoline park, roller skating, learning a new language together, or taking a zumba class, I’d encourage you to engage in a novel activity with your partner!
3. Spend time apart
This one might sound counterintuitive — and is based on the assumption that you spend time together! — but separateness is a precondition for togetherness. You need space and time outside of your relationship to grow and flourish, and when you take time for yourself, your relationship will benefit. It’s one of the paradoxes of intimacy.
4. Surprise your partner with little things
Small things, over time, make a big difference in your relationship AND small surprises for your partner increase your relational health. Research proven, my friend! Some examples of small surprises are: a spontaneous “I am grateful for you” text in the middle of the work day; surprising your partner with their favorite Starbucks drink; making eye contact; doing one of the chores that your partner usually does; leaving a playful and cute sticky note on the steering wheel or hidden in their work bag; or sending flowers or gifting their favorite chocolate bar just because!
5. Go to bed at the same time
This is a potential no-brainer, but I know I am guilty of not doing this consistently. So whether you are a night owl or early bird, a Netflix-in-bed-watcher or a respond-to-that-last-email-in-bed-phone-user, I’d challenge you and your partner to head to bed at the same time (and without screens!). When you do this, research shows you will have less conflict, more conversation, and more sex! And maybe you’ll even get the seven to eight hours of sleep you need as well!
There you have it — small, easy, and simple things you can do that will improve your relationship and nurture your connection!