14 Ways To Bring Back The Love In Your Relationship
Whether you have been together for a few months or for decades, it is important to take steps to maintain some spark in your relationship. Some consistency can be nice in a relationship, but variation from the everyday routine is important to make things more fun, and that variety needs to come from within your partnership.
While it would be wonderful for you to get away to some exotic island where you could spend days sipping coconut-flavoured drinks on the beach, you also want to have some ways to electrify your relationship during your normal days - and let’s face it - most of our days are just that.
As today is Valentine’s Day (the 14th) we wanted to put together a fun article with 14 ways to put some spark back into your relationship that don’t take a lot of time or money but can be rather powerful when you apply them.
1. Let’s get physical.
Physical touch is a key element to a happy and loving relationship. Sure, this includes sex, but also so much more. Give your partner a hug, rub their back, hold their hand, offer a massage. Oxytocin, released with physical touch, has been shown to give lots of benefits, from feeling closer to being more generous and even having a stronger immune system.
2. Smile! You’re on camera.
Pretend as if a camera is following you around every time you interact with your spouse. How would you want to act if you knew you were being watched by others? Kind, thoughtful, easy-going? Now act like that every time you are with your partner.
3. Say “I’m sorry.”
We all mess up from time to time, say things we later regret and do thing we really shouldn’t and yet, so often we justify these actions to ourselves and our partners. This can lead to resentment and defensiveness, which are not the ingredients for a happy relationship. Next time you mess up, admit your mistake and move on; it will help your partner feel closer to you.
4. Looking and feeling good.
Take steps to feel good about your body and the way you look, which is for both you and your partner. For example, when women feel good about their body, research shows they are 19 per cent more satisfied in their relationship. Don’t worry; you don’t need to look like a model. Just taking steps to feel good about yourself can be helpful to you.
5. Listen to your partner.
This tip is multifaceted. First, it is important to listen – really listen – to your partner. Ask them about their day and then actually be interested. (If you find it tough to be interested, you might want to practice some empathy skills training.)
6. Have outside support and interests.
Your partner cannot meet your every need – best friend, stress-manager, mentor, conflict resovler, chick-flick watcher, sporting even spectator. It is crucial that you have additional sources of support in your life. This will take the pressure off your mate to be your everything.
7. Do fun stuff together.
If going to Kmart of Bunnings is the most exciting thing you tend to do on weekends, it’s time to change. And you don’t need a great deal of cash or holidays. Choose to do something fun together, which could be watching a funny movie, going for a walk, trying a new restaurant, learning something new by taking a class together, volunteering, working out together. Anything new and positive can help boost the happiness in your own relationship.
8. Focus on win-win.
Stop keeping score of all that you do (and all that your partner doesn’t). Stop your need to be right. People in happy relationships don’t view themselves as two different sides. There is no “I win, you lose” mentality. Instead, they focus on win-win for both parties. That means being willing to compromise, admitting when you’re wrong, and focusing on being happy instead of being right.
9. Reunited and it feels so good.
When you and your partner reunite at the end of a day, when one of you returns from a trip, or even when you wake up – do something to show your love. When your partner comes home, for example, stop what you are doing and devote just a few seconds to being completely present with them. Give them a hug or a kiss, look in their eyes, and ask how their day was. Put down your phone, pause the TV, turn down the stove…do whatever you need to focus even just a short amount of time on your partner. You both will feel much more connected.
10. Be respectful.
In a longitudinal study, researchers were able to predict with 93 per cent accuracy which couples would eventually get divorced. They identified what is referred to as “the four horsemen”, which are predictors of relationship problems – criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. The quick antidote for these is to simply to be respectful. Rather than criticise, openly communicate without eye rolls or passive-aggressive comments. Ditch the defensiveness; it is vital to take feedback, so you and your relationship can improve. And rather than stonewall, listen to your partner and have a constructive conversation when things are not going as smoothly as you would like.
11. Just ask.
This one takes an open mind. Ask your partner, “What is one thing I can do this week to be a better partner to you?” The response may be surprising. The goal is not to be defensive – “I already do that anyway!” or “Yay, I wish you would do that, too!” Instead, absorb what you hear and take steps to implement your partner’s desire (as long as it is within your moral boundaries). This is a great way to meet needs that you may not have even realised your partner had.
12. Abide by the 5-to-1 rule.
If you think giving your partner a compliment will counter some negative “feedback” you also provide, think again. The “magic ratio” is not 1:1, but rather 5:1. This means that in order to have an overall positive feel about your relationship, you need to have at least five positive encounters (actions, statements) for every negative one. So, spend more time telling and showing your partner what you love and appreciative about them, laugh more, and spend more fun time together. When you do, the tough times are easier to get through.
13. Drop the perfectionism.
Stop expecting your partner (or yourself) to be perfect. Drop the all-or-nothing attitude – “You didn’t ask me about my presentation today, so you don’t care about me” or “You didn’t want to have sex last night, so you don’t find me attractive.” Stop personalising and generalising your partner’s actions. Instead, accept them for what they are. But be assertive by communicating your needs and wants in a respectful manner, (date nights are a great way to make the time to talk). Forgive your partner and move on.
14. Make everyday romantic.
In a loving relationship that is full of passion, everyday should be filled with romance, not just Valentine’s Day. A little text message, a wink, smile, saying the three words “I love you”, dancing around the lounge room and endless touching and kissing are all romantic.
Above all, be hopeful. Relationships, like life, have ups and downs. If you are in a downward slope right now, have faith; things can get better. Put some time, energy and love into your relationship. Focus on being the best partner you can be. Get help if you need it. And see the positives in your partner and your relationship.
Carolyn (Caz) Rowland is a fashion designer for Cazinc The Label, model, lifestyle blogger and professional Image Stylist. Caz is also a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching. Caz is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.