7 Ways to Strengthen a Relationship
It’s the simple things that can transform a good relationship into a great one. Have you tried these?
In 2015, one of the most viewed articles on the New York Times wasn’t an intensive investigative piece or breaking news. It was the article, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.” Humans are, in general, obsessed with relationships and love. Most of us have many good relationships, but if you want to transform your good relationship into something even greater, consider these seven ideas:
1. Try the 36 questions to fall in love
In the article mentioned above, the author refers to 36 questions designed to bring two people closer together by starting with broad questions, mixing the conversation with timed eye contact, and then slowly delving into more personal inquiries. Put it to the test with your significant other with these 36 questions to ask your partner.
2. Put away your phone when he or she is talking
According to a University of Essex study, couples who have a conversation with a phone nearby reported less trust in their partner, and a lower quality relationship. Make eye contact when you talk to your significant other—or anyone else, really. It sounds simple, but we all notice when we have someone’s full attention (and when we don’t).
3. Block out the time
We usually put a lot of time and effort into the relationship at the beginning. And then when we get comfortable…we get lazy. If making time for each other has become a great challenge, block out a time to just enjoy each other on your calendar if necessary and guard it fiercely.
4. Add the element of surprise
Experiencing adrenaline rushes bonds people together, and simple things can create those rushes. Hide and jump out to surprise them when they walk by (bonus points if you catch their reaction on camera). Or, if that’s something they would hate, hide a special treat in their car. Or try a new physically exerting skill together (think something like rock climbing).
5. Be grateful for the little things
Did they swing by the store on the way home from work so you wouldn’t have to get the gallon of milk you forgot? Or change the roll of toilet paper? It’s human nature to notice the things that bother us. It takes more effort to notice the little things. Making a special effort to say thank you for those unnoticed acts can draw you closer together.
6. Don’t wait for a special occasion, create it
Make a nice dinner, write a card, bring them their favorite candy bar, run over and give a hug, send a kind text, create a Spotify playlist for them, mail a funny letter to their work – do something to celebrate you know them even on ordinary days.
7. Agree to disagree
Don’t buy into the myth that happy couples can solve every conflict. In fact, it’s totally normal to have unsolvable disagreements. According to the Gottman institute, 69% of relationship conflict is about perpetual problems. So, if you aren’t able to agree with each other on every single thing, just know that is a part of being human. You can learn more about how to work with these perpetual problems here.
Great relationships don’t happen overnight but trying these little changes can pay big dividends in the long run.
While you’re here, check out other ways to be present and engaged.
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