The Top 10 To-Dos This Year to Be the Best Couple You Can Be
Great couples work on their relationships. And just taking simple steps will lead to big, positive changes for two. Here are 10 must-do things to bring you even closer.
Fight fairly. I always say that it's not that you fight but how you fight that will determine the health and happiness of your relationship. Disagreeing with your partner is no cause for concern. After all, you're different people with different perspectives and needs. But make sure follow some ground rules so that you're more likely to hear each other when you aren't on the same page. During a disagreement, isolate your specific complaint ("I'm frustrated because you didn't clean up the kitchen.") instead of attacking his character ("You're so lazy, of course you didn't clean the kitchen!").
Touch tenderly. There's a reason why touch is so important between a couple. Touch sends our brains a signal, through the hormone oxytocin, that we are attached. In fact, touching is one of the quickest ways to create a sense of intimacy in your relationship. So hug your partner at the door after a long and busy day, snuggle in bed at night, hold your partner's hand in public! It will remind both of you (and your brains) that you are a connected couple.
Kiss a lot. When you first started dating your partner, chances are you had marathon make-out sessions. Now it's possible that you can't even remember the last time you kissed your significant other. I mean, really kissed. (I'm not talking about that peck you give each other on the way out the door!) So try the 1-min make-out challenge! Set a timer and lock lips together for 60 seconds. (Bonus round for those who exceed a minute!) You'll be surprised how much kissing can re-spark your connection.
Go on a digital diet. By now, we know that too much tech usage can create a wedge in our relationships. This is because it's tough to be present for another person when we're logged onto our devices. And when we're not present, the person on the receiving end feels it. According to Digital Lifestyle Expert Mario Armstrong, couples need to pledge to do a "digital diet" together for it to work. "It can be as simple as creating a no phone zone during dinner or an agreement to not wake up and immediately check your phone before rolling over and hugging your spouse," he says.
Stay curious. Curiosity is one of the best ways to stay connected as a couple. When we (wrongly) assume that we know everything about our partners, we stop growing together and can risk growing apart. Instead, ask your partner questions that you are genuinely curious about. Questions can be as simple as, "What was the highlight of your day?" to as involved as, "Is there something on your 'bucket list' that you're yearning to do or try?"
Compliment your partner. To be the best couple you can be, you need to compliment each other and be mindful of complimenting (read: praising) each other. Attention and approval are two of the most essential things that happy couples regularly give to each other to show that they care. Simply put: When you notice something nice that your partner's done, acknowledge it.
Make your home a haven. The question long-term couples should ask is: What can we each do to make our home more comfortable? According to Organization Expert Andrew Mellen, "If you're sharing that space with another person, it's a tremendous demonstration of your love and affection for that other person to keep it organized." Mellen suggests that couples come up with a simple chart of easy tasks to do per day. He adds, "Nothing should take longer than 10 minutes. It could be as simple as 'empty the dishwasher' to 'open the mail'." If organizing still feels daunting, Mellen recommends putting on your fave songs and each taking a room to work on until the song is finished.
Sweat the small stuff. In a relationship, small regular exchanges and efforts count even more than grand gestures done every so often. Consider Dr. John Gottman's research that you need FIVE positive interactions to negate just one negative interaction. The small stuff adds up! Make your partner's lunch, warm her car on a cold day, slip a sweet note into your S.O.'s lunch. Depositing "small stuff" every week will ensure that you and your honey navigate tough times that much better.
Add novelty to your routine. Looking for a fun boost in your relationship? Novelty is the antidote to boredom. Experiencing new activities and events with your partner will actually trick your brains into thinking the connection is new. (This is why things with your S.O. feel even more exciting on vacation!) Get outside your comfort zone by trying new cuisine together, exploring a new neighborhood or mixing it up in the bedroom. Anything that feels new will refresh your connection.
Get busy regularly. When it comes to action, if you don't get it, testosterone levels literally drop! Make it a priority. If you find you're both too tired to get down, schedule some sexy time and speak openly to one another about your needs.
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