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Wondering How To Strengthen Your Relationship? Here Are Some Great Tips To Remember!
If you are looking for ways to strengthen your relationship, you are definitely not alone! Relationships are something that needs to be nurtured and maintained – if you neglect them, they might eventually wither away. And with so many relationships out there – it’s no wonder there are some people wondering about how to improve theirs with their partner.
Having started dating long distance, we know how much work a relationship can be when apart and then when finally together. For the record, we’d say we have a strong relationship – but we’re always searching for small things we can do to make sure we are staying close and being healthy together!
So, we did a bit of digging (and self-reflection) to come up with these things that we do (and you can also do) to maintain a good relationship and to perhaps help along a relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend that is struggling.
Prioritize Your Relationship
One of our top tips from personal experience is that in order to have a strong relationship, you need to prioritize your relationship. This doesn’t mean that you need to focus only on your relationship – quite the contrary.
You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) lose your sense of self. However, you do need to actively look at the connection you have with your partner and make sure that you are putting it at the forefront of some of the decisions you are making throughout your day – and throughout your life.
An example would be to make time for your person each day – even if it’s a short amount of time – to be present and be together. This together time can make all the difference in how close you are over the course of a few days, weeks, months, and years.
Allow For Growth/Maintain Yourself
Another important way to keep your relationship strong is to allow the relationship to grow BUT also allow you, as individuals, to grow, too. In this, you both need to remember to focus on things that you love as individuals – your passions, interests, friends, etc.
In a way, you need to maintain a sense of self to be able to be a good person for your partner. Because if you lose yourself and become too dependent on your identity formed as a couple, you will have nothing to draw back on when you are not together during the day – or if you end up splitting up. It can be hard to rebuild your life if you gave it all up to be in your relationship. Compromising and growing together is good – losing yourself completely in the process is not.
This one is a pretty fundamental one – and one that we love to focus on: You need to be present in your relationship and you need to learn to listen. Being present is more than just physically being there. It also means that you are mentally focused on your partner when you spend time together and aren’t distracted thinking about work etc.
Listening is closely related to being present when spending time with your partner. It involves hearing what your partner is saying and acknowledging that. Then you can begin to address what your partner said in a healthy and productive manner.
If you can’t be physically present (for work, school, travels, etc) then being present on the phone, Skype, Zoom, etc. can be just as important. In general, listening is a skill you should definitely work on getting right!
Another way to strengthen a relationship is by understanding your partner’s expectations for that very relationship. People often have different priorities and expectations from their partners. You should now these – and re-evaluate these on a regular basis.
Looking for more cuddles? Need more help around the house? Let them know! There’s a good chance your partner – if they are a willing and loving person – will help or modify their behavior now that they know what might help you.
Perhaps they didn’t realize things were on your mind or that you had such expectations? Sometimes we forget to just ask and be clear – it’s amazing how communication happens when couples actually communicate.
You Gotta Be Friends
For those in a long-term relationship, there is a good chance you will come to realize that your partner is more than a romantic partner, life partner, etc. They are your friend – maybe even a best friend. You should treat them as such.
Think of it this way: Your regular friends deserve/receive a certain level of attention, love, care, laughs, and lots of other things. Your partner, while they may be MORE than just a friend you have, should ALSO receive these things.
Friends also do things together sometimes and sometimes they go at it separately. The same can be true for you and your partner.
Make Time For Being Physical
There is definitely something to be said for “together time” and its ability to strengthen a relationship. And no, it doesn’t have to be about sex – but making time to be intimate is definitely a part of this category!
Being together physically can be a simple as having kisses and/or cuddles after dinner while watching a watch a movie, or just being on the couch or in bed to give/receive a massage. Don’t feel pressured into maintaining a very high level of intimacy as time goes on – because that’s not always realistic and relationships grow and mature to include other important elements.
Think about this: When was the last time you two were together, just you two, with nothing else to do except be physically present in one another’s lives? If the answer is “a long time ago” then it’s time to make that a priority based on what your partner wants and needs!
It’s also very important to celebrate successes in your relationship. Think of that song “Cheerleader” – it’s kind of like that. Someone who is there when you need it and will back you up and cheer you on no matter what.
We are sure to celebrate the successes we have – both big and small. When Lisa successfully tries out a new recipe we usually “celebrate” with a kiss and then we eat the dish together.
It’s also important to acknowledge both kinds of successes you might have: Individual successes (at work, school, in life) and successes you achieve as a couple (buying a house, saving money, cooking dinner together, etc). All successes are valid and can be celebrated – and you can choose which ones you like to put emphasis on.
Sometimes, you can strengthen a relationship by changing it up every so often and being spontaneous. Now, you don’t have to plan an extravagant night or plan some massive getaway – although you definitely can. Being spontaneous just means breaking up your typical routine to do something different.
Those that have been in a relationship long enough will tell you that it is very easy to fall into routines – and these routines, left completely unchecked, can drain the energy from even the best of relationships. So, being spontaneous – like having an impromptu date night at home – or planning a special surprise weekend can be a great way to shake up your “normal”.
Work On It Together
If you have serious concerns about the strength and direction of your relationship, you can absolutely make it a point to work on it by asking for advice or professional help. Seeking advice doesn’t mean you are completely broken and need fixing – sometimes it’s good to ask for pointers even before you ever need them so that you can remain strong in the first place.
To that end, there are numerous classes on communication that you can attend and even online webinars/classes that you can sign up for so that you don’t have to physically go anywhere in public (if this topic embarrasses you – which it totally shouldn’t).
Be Positive (or Don’t Be Negative)
An important aspect of our relationship that we focus on is trying to be positive or at the very least, realistic. Negativity doesn’t help anyone – and focussing on the negatives won’t strengthen a relationship.
Now, you have to be careful. This doesn’t mean “mask the negatives and real underlying problems you have” because a toxic relationship is still toxic even if there are “some” good things in it.
What we mean is that you should aim to focus on the good in your life and in your relationship (because there is always some to be found). If you cannot come up with any, then you might have real, deeper issues that need to be addressed for the sake of the both of you.
Have Good Fights
No, we don’t mean have “wild, angry fights where you throw things and storm off”. What we mean here is that when you fight or disagree – which happens in all relationships – it’s important to fight well. Having a “good fight” can really strengthen your relationship and build resilience for when other stressors will inevitably come up.
This means addressing the issue in a constructive manner and doing things like setting a time limit for an argument, not being petty, and then moving on from the disagreement to a point where it is finished and won’t rear its ugly head again.
When we argue – not often but it happens… especially when we are more stressed due to work, life, etc – we usually end up hugging it out later on when we have cooled off. Hugging is nice – and it reminds us of our togetherness (which is very much worth the triumphs and struggles).
Read Next: How to stop fighting in a relationship
Work On Forgiving
On the note of the above topic of “fighting well”, it’s important to work on forgiving your person. Strong relationships have people who forgive their person for their potential wrongs and people who can move forward from these issues together.
You don’t have to forget what the person did (it can be hard because we are human) – but forgiving is an important step when it comes to the people we love. Keep in mind, you have to determine if your person deserves forgiveness in the first place. If the issues are deeper than a simple screw up, then there is more to be addressed in your relationship.
Lastly, a great way to strengthen your relationship is to plan together for the short term and for the future. Planning is a great activity because it can foster a sense of hope and optimism about what is to come.
For us, this comes in the form of articulating our hopes and dreams to one another – and planning for a future together. To be honest, this is something we do all the time and it’s been clear since very early on in our relationship that we were going to be a priority in the other person’s life.
We talk about our next house, having kids, future travels – and often just knowing what is for dinner is enough to set ourselves on a good course for the rest of the day!
And there you have it – our tips for how to strengthen your relationship! Of course, there are more things to consider here but we think this is a pretty good list to start with – and it comes from the heart. Just be true to yourself and communicate with your person – that’s a great place to start!
As always, Stay Curious,
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