Looking to improve your relationship with your significant other? Love is not always a ‘Happily Ever After’ fairytale, love takes practice and patience. Here are 5 steps you can take to help improve your relationship.
Step 1: Take Care of YOU
First and foremost, take care of YOU. How can you give someone else love, when you don’t love yourself? When I say love yourself, this goes beyond what you see in the mirror and deep inside oneself. To improve your relationship with your partner, you must improve your relationship with yourself.
Healthy relationships occur between two people who are comfortable with themselves, in addition to one and another. Love only develops after making your own happiness a top priority. Oftentimes we fall in love with a person for the wrong reasons because we overlook our own flaws. We rush into a relationship without seeing the warning signs that we are not comfortable with ourselves. We look for the quick fix to a problem that needs a lot of attention.
So how can one learn to love themselves? By improving your inner voice and exercising self-love.
To improve your inner voice, you must overcome negative beliefs about yourself and rewrite your internal script. Confront the feeling, identify the source of the feeling and then believe in a new possibility. You control your mind, not the other way around.
Exercise self-love by doing things that make yourself feel good. Whether it’s getting outdoors for a hike after a busy day, or eating a pizza to satisfy your craving, make it a priority to reward yourself. Another way to exercise self-love is by celebrating your accomplishments in work or personal life. For example, plan a trip after you achieve a goal to encourage positive reinforcement.
Taking care of yourself, thus loving yourself, is the first and most important step in improving your relationship with your partner. Once you have love, only then, are you able to share the love.
Step 2: Be Vocal
Researchers have found that communication style is more important than commitment levels, personality traits or stressful life events in predicting whether happily married couples will go on to divorce. In particular, negative communication patterns such as anger and contempt are linked to an increased likelihood of splitting up. 1
Communication is a crucial part of improving one’s relationship. The ability to openly talk through problems and issues can save time, energy and feelings of resentment. Also, learning how to effectively communicate will strengthen the trust, honesty and respect you have for each other and the relationship.
Be vocal in communicating your wants and desires. The same goes for what drives you up a wall. If you don’t communicate how you feel, how will your partner know you feel that way.
It’s just as easy as telling them how you feel, right? I know this isn’t so easy.. I can speak from experience. I’m guilty of telling myself stories of how I think my partner would react before even asking them, thus never asking. Whatever the reason was, I can assure you I was not better off. What I learned: Never assume! Your partner can’t read your mind, even if it feels like you are giving them all the signs.
I remember I was taking a class and the couple that was presenting mentioned a technique; wake up every morning like you don’t know your partner. In doing this exercise, you never know how your significant other might react, so you hold nothing back. You shouldn’t feel like you have to hide especially from the person you love the most.
Another tip is write down a list of questions you want to know about your partner. These questions can range from your relationship to thoughts around each other’s intimacy. For example, after a busy day at work, would you prefer me to give you space or ask you about your day? Do you like to initiate sex or have it initiated? This will allow for the create of open dialog between the two of you in describing each other’s likes/ dislikes and wants/ desires.
Give these techniques a try and see what works for you.
Step 3: Listen for the Gold
Do you ever feel like your partner is not listening to you? Everyone should be nodding their heads yes because everyone is guilty of it. Good thing there’s an easy solution: Start listening to your partner.
The best form of communication is active listening. Listen for the gold in what your partner is telling you and it will transform your relationship.
This will take practice and patience. First, you will have to drown out that voice in your head, the one that is telling you that you always listen to your partner. This is very easy in theory yet extremely difficult in practice. Let your partner finish their thought before interrupt with your own thoughts and commentary. If you have been actively listening, you will be in the position to provide the most value back to your partner.
Side note: Discussing difficult topics can leave the person vulnerable, so allowing them to express how they feel without judgment, is key to growth within your relationship. When an individual is free from judgement, they are more inclined to discuss their true feelings. That’s why becoming a better listener is just as important as communicating.
Step 4: Spending Quality Time
Between work, family and outside commitments it can be tough to stay connected to your partner. That is why the importance of spending quality time with your partner is magnified because we have such little time to fully dedicate to one another.
Making it a priority to create quality time can make small moments last a lifetime. Quality time doesn’t refer to sitting in the same room watching tv together, but rather giving each other your full undivided attention, even if it’s for 10 or 20 minutes. Ensuring you are present during this time, free from everyday distractions such as cell phones or worrying about tomorrow’s needs, will allow you to maximize the time spent together.
Intimacy is also a critical component of romantic relationships. Some busy couples find it helpful to schedule sex by putting it on the calendar. It may not be spontaneous to have it written in red ink, but setting aside time for an intimate encounter helps ensure that your physical and emotional needs are met. 2
Every relationship has its own definition of spending quality time together and some may require more than others. For example, some couples consider eating dinner together after work quality time. Others might consider quality time to be trying a new hobby, such as taking a cooking class together. It depends on your relationship and what works for both of you. It’s about enjoying those small unforgettable moments with each other that really strengthen your bond
Life gets busy and we all have priorities, so try to set aside 10 minutes a day. Be present with your partner, free from distractions and see if this doesn’t improve your relationship with your partner.
Step 5: Spice things Up
To keep things interesting, some couples plan regular date nights, but many find it difficult to just do that. According to Glamour, 12 percent of women said they have regular date nights with their significant other. Even then, dates can get old if you aren’t alternating the activities.
Experts recommend breaking out of the routine and trying new things — whether that’s going dancing, taking a class together, packing an afternoon picnic or mixing it up in the bedroom.
Ask your friends what their favorite date was to get some ideas if you’re having a hard time coming up with some.
Spicing things up in the bedroom can also help reignite the flame in your relationship. This could be anything from different locations in your house (kitchen/shower) to new positions or even making a trip to your local adult shop and deciding on a new toy together. All these will add some sparks into your relationship mixing thing up and keeping your partner on their toes wanting more.
If you are looking to take your relationship to the next level, start with these 5 steps to improving your relationship with your partner. I have provided some tips and ideas to help make each of these steps manageable.
- Take Care of YOU: Improve your inner voice and excise self-love.
- Be Vocal: Wake up every morning like you don’t know your partner and write down a list of questions you have, to create an open dialog to learn about your partners likes/ dislikes and wants/ desires.
- 3. Listen for the Gold: Active Listening. Drown out the voice in your head, let your partner finish and then provide meaningful value back. Listen without judgment.
- Spending Quality time: Set aside 10 minutes a day, free from distractions.
- Spice things Up: Try something new, if you need ideas, use your friends as resources. Mix it up in the bedroom
If you need further assistance, Pandora’s Box- The Journey can help you with these steps in helping you improve your relationship with your partner.
Pandora’s Box is a relationship enhancement subscription box for couples, to help strengthen their bond and unlock their full potential; A date night couples box.
Each box contains a fun relationship building activity, that will allow you to spend quality time with your partner. The box also includes an array of items that complement the activity, enhancing the overall experience. Some items may be mood setting and others intimate.
Every box is a surprise that will be discretely delivered to your door for you and your partner to open together.
That’s it, we do all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is enjoy the experience.
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- Kreider, R. M. (2005). Number, timing, and duration of marriages and divorces: 2001. Current Population Reports. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.
- American Psychological Association. Happy couples: How to keep your relationship healthy