A strong, supportive relationship that lasts is built from a couple's words and actions. With work, children, and other responsibilities, sometimes it is easy to take your spouse, partner or significant other for granted or forget to do the things that strengthen the relationship.
Here are some little things to do that can have a big payoff for the strength and longevity of your relationship:
- Give your partner a compliment. Better yet, brag about your partner to others when your spouse is in earshot. It will boost self-confidence, and your spouse will want to continue making you happy and proud. Be creative in expressing your appreciation.
- Find something to laugh about. Laughter helps us cope with stress and the pressures of our busy lives. A sense of humor helps relationships survive problems, large and small.
- Have a shared activity both of you enjoy. It can be anything from going out to dinner, dancing, or gardening. You may need to make time to do things together, but this is a great way of keeping intimacy alive and well.
- Schedule special time together. Learn what is most important to your partner in terms of sharing your love and make time for it. Schedule special time for just the 2 of you on a regular basis, and don’t allow it to be interrupted.
- Treat your spouse/partner the way you want to be treated. Be respectful if you want to be respected. This approach helps establish the fact that both parties have a responsibility in the marriage. Also remember to pay attention to how your partner likes for you to express love.
- Take time to touch. The value of human touch is amazing. Touching your spouse or partner each day can help you both maintain physical and emotional health.
- Be willing to compromise. Give up some of your wants for the sake of what your spouse or partner wants. Identify the situation as a compromise to avoid having unresolved anger or resentment later.
- Give a smile. An easy but powerful way to value your spouse is to smile and tell your spouse or partner how you feel.
- Discuss the things that bother you. Letting things build up day after day without discussing and resolving them leads to anger and resentment that hurt your marriage or relationship. The more quickly something can be addressed and taken care of, the more time you will have for the enjoyable and healthy parts of your relationship. When disagreeing, try to identify the real issue. Be willing to both admit when you are wrong, and to forgive and let go.
- Communication is key. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Without communication, any team is in trouble. It is important to communicate your thoughts, plans, ideas, and opinions on a consistent basis. Equally important is communicating your feelings—the joys, sorrows, and frustrations we all experience.
- Listen without judging. Listen without judging or correcting.
- Chart your course. Charting a course establishes a shared vision for your marriage or relationship. It also can be useful to establish some markers to ensure you are moving toward your goals.