3 Easy Things You Can Do Today to Strengthen Your Relationship

Posted by on Jan 15, 2021 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on 3 Easy Things You Can Do Today to Strengthen Your Relationship

Good relationships don’t just happen. They take work to maintain, let alone flourish. How to make this happen isn’t a big secret, nor does it have to be time-consuming or overly complicated. In fact, it’s possible to incorporate small, seemingly inconsequential changes into your everyday lives together that, over time, will strengthen your relationship.

Here are three easy things you can do today to grow the bond between you and your partner.

  1. Force Yourself to Recognize What’s Good About Your Partner

We have a tendency to look at our partner through the lens of what we don’t like or what bothers us about them. This causes us to focus on their limitations. Yet, this doesn’t help strengthen our relationship at all. Instead, it’s important to recognize what you like. Focus on what’s good about your partner. For example:

  • Do they have an endearing smile?
  • Have they checked in with you to ask how you’re doing?
  • Do they often bring you your favorite beverage?
  • Are there other little signs of affection that they do on a regular basis?

The point of this exercise is to recognize the good and positive qualities of your partner. Noting the good stuff will help to make sure that the disappointments, when they do occur, are not as big or significant.

  1. If You Have Kids in the House, Spend Time Without Them

Another easy thing you can do to strengthen your relationship is to spend one-on-one time with your partner. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean sexual intimacy, though, sex is an important aspect of romantic relationships. You just need some one-on-one time to focus on each other without the kids present. With children, there is a tendency to do everything with the kids, including

  • How you plan your weekends.
  • Scheduling school, sporting events, extracurriculars.
  • What you watch on TV.

This makes sense, as families are often structured around the children’s needs.  However, adults need to have some time together alone to focus on each other and their relationship. Yet, it’s often difficult for parents to get away for date-night, especially when they have limited support from others and/or limited financial resources.

So, try to schedule time together before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Or, have them do an activity in a separate room while you and your partner spend time together. All you need is 15 minutes a day to make this happen.

  1. Remember the 5-1 Rule

This concept is from John Gottman, who has written extensively about relationships. He could predict whether or not couples would stay together using the 5-1 rule. This rule is really a ratio between positive and negative interactions. Examples of positive interactions include:

  • A kind smile.
  • Exchanging a kind word.
  • A pat on the shoulder.
  • Any act that demonstrates connectedness.

Meanwhile, negative interactions would include eye rolls, harsh words, criticism, etc. If the ratio was less than 5-1 between positive and negative interactions, this could be an indication of relationship strain. This is not necessarily a precise rule. After all, it’s very difficult to keep count of positive/negative interactions and maintain a precise ratio all of the time.

The point is that the ratio of positive to negative interactions is an indicator of the health of a relationship. So you can strengthen your relationship by making sure that most of your interactions with your partner are positive rather than negative.

If you try these three tips but still struggle to feel connected to your partner, it’s time to seek help. If you don’t know why things aren’t working or what to do about it, it’s okay to not have all the answers. Working with a seasoned therapist skilled in couples counseling can help you and your partner discover these answers and strengthen your relationship.

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