Today’s post is about 5 tools to grow your relationship that are tried and true. Quarantine has definitely added some challenges to many of our relationships, however, that doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. During this time, I’ve found it has made problems more visible, but gave so many opportunities to deal with them head on. I hope that these tools help your relationship grow & that you are not afraid not to try them 🙂
Relationships are hard work, not perfect and there is no one rule that fits all. However, there are a few exercises that do help couples navigate their relationships more effectively. I am a firm believer in using various tools to not only improve yourself, but your relationships. Whether your relationship is romantic, familial, friendship or individual, it’s important to always be growing.
Growth in relationships starts from within. If you don’t grow individually, there is a chance your relationship may not either. I’m hoping that these tools help you and your partner. Try to use them during quarantine to enjoy and appreciate one another more. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative with this because sometimes we expect our partners to make the first moves, but let’s change it up 🙂
THE BIG 5
- 1. APPRECIATE
- Showing appreciating is something we sometimes forget to do. Take a moment once a day to just say thank you. The morning coffee your partner makes you, or the door being held open for you, just say “thank you!”. It is so easy to get comfortable and start to “expect” those little things that were once so special to us. They should always remain special, so it’s important to always remember to show your appreciation for your partner no matter how big or small their gestures are. Gratitude is everything.
- 2. NEVER STOP DATING
- Whether you’re able to go out shouldn’t make this concept too difficult to do. If you can’t dine out, cook (or get delivered) a nice meal, set up a cozy table, get a small silly gift that reminds of your partner, or set up the living room with popcorn & other goodies for a cozy night by the TV. ANYTHING goes as long as it comes from the heart. My husband and I try 3-4 times a month to do something romantic for each other a month. Whether it’s a night out, or a romantic night in, we make the effort. Sometimes just lighting some candles and watching a cooking show is enough to get us feeling connected and happy. It is YOUR relationship, YOU make the rules.
- 3. ALWAYS ASK QUESTIONS
- It sounds so simple, but always ask questions that help you learn something new about your partner, or how they feel. It’s easy to assume we we know everything about our significant other, but that’s simply false. We are ever-evolving and we must constantly learn how our partner is as well. One thing I did recently with my husband is buy a card gamed called “Honey” (get it here) & every time we take the dog out for a walk, I randomly select and bring 2-3 playing cards. Each card has 3 questions ranging in seriousness. Then, as we walk, we each pick a card and ask a question. We must both answer and of course, most questions end up leading to discussions. These discussions have helped us talk more about ourselves and each other. The rules for walking are now “no talk of work, house work, children, family, anything that is stressful”. It’s been such a lifesaver & now we look forward to having those 20-30 min outside alone.
- It’s also important to ask how your partner is feeling. One thing we really found useful is helping us “check in” with each other is the “The Marriage Journal” (get it here). Every week (typically Sunday) we go the newest chapter (each one a different theme. ie: Joy, Trust, Passion). This helps facilitate open communication without fear. We both made an agreement to follow the chapters this way, the topic is already set & there is no argument over what to discuss. But of course, the most important thing is to always be acknowledging your partner’s feelings. If you ever feel like asking “What is on your mind?”- go for it! There is nothing wrong with opening up dialogue in your relationship!
- 4. ENCOURAGEMENT
- I cannot express the importance of this enough. Encouragement goes a long way. Many of us are doing our best in whatever it is we are aiming for. From working in an office, to having one’s own business to taking care of the home, we always appreciate encouragement. Encouragement is not just complimenting but it’s a form of appreciation, listening and supporting without making it about anyone else but your partner. I know sometimes we have conversations about our daily struggles and find it easy to compare, however, try to avoid comparing your day…but instead, just listen. Sometimes our partners want to vent and that’s enough, sometimes they will ask for our advice, but in that moment when our partner is speaking of their scenarios, we must validate and respect their moment. It is so easy to say “oh yes, me too.
- Take turns listening. Encouraging with your words, touch or even silence.
- 5. RESPECT
- This to me is the KING or QUEEN of all tips. This is a part of any relationship that must always be there & always respected. Respect is to be respected. Respect is something we must show to receive. Nobody deserves respect, we must earn it. But we must work together with our partners to keep the respect. We must act on behalf of our partner and we must think of our partner. When you’re committed, it’s not just about you anymore. Our actions, our words, our outbursts, affect those around us. It’s important to communicate what we don’t and do like, and when we feel disrespected. If our partner does something that makes us feel even slightly disrespected, we must acknowledge it and communicate it. For example, my husband told me after a dinner that he felt disrespected because I made a joke at his expense in a way he felt was inappropriate. I thought it was all in humor, but I went too far. I appreciate him telling me and it allowed me to read him better when making any sorts of jokes at his expense. We also have different cultures and sometimes we must communicate what we are comfortable with and what we are not with.
These are just a few tools to grow your relationship that I truly find to be super helpful. These tools really do help create a pathway to better communication, romance and trust. I hope that you found this post useful and as always, please feel free to comment your thoughts & what you’d like to see next.