8 Ways to Improve Your Relationship

October 20, 2014

After three years of marriage and almost seven years of being in a relationship with Nick, we’ve pretty much got a handle on what exactly makes each of us tick. I’m a bed hog, he’s a cover hog. I like to keep the house freezing, he’s constantly wrapped up in blankets. I like to listen to music in the car, he prefers to listen to NPR. But like most couples, we sometimes get into a rut and things seem to go on automatic. We forget exactly what it was like to be in the early stages of the relationship, when everything is so new and exciting.

In an effort to keep things fresh, there are a few things we do to make sure that we are still as in love as we were on our wedding day. (It hasn’t been that long ago, but here’s hoping I can look back at this list in ten years and see that we have never stopped making time for each other. Obviously I’m not a certified relationship counselor, so take these with a grain of salt.)

1. Hold hands – This is the easiest of all. It only takes a simply gesture, but I think it emotes so much! And I’m not talking about limp-wristed, barely hanging on hand-holding. I’m talking about fingers intertwined, firm grip hand-holding. None of that wimpy stuff. Whether you’re out to dinner, shopping together, or just sitting on the couch, physical touch is a great way to show your loved one how much you care.

2. Compliment each other – You already “complement” each other, now it’s time to “compliment” each other. (I know it’s cheesy, I just had to do it. It was begging for it.) When I worked as a hostess, I complimented people all of the time. I just loved watching their face light up when I told them that I loved their dress or that they had a nice smile. Even now, when Nick compliments me on a dinner that I’ve made, it totally makes me smile.

3. Write love notes – One of my favorite things to receive all year are cards for the holidays or my birthday or anniversary. But who says it has to be only on special occasions? Writing a simple love note can be a great gesture, especially when you’ve had a not-so-great day.  Try using a really fun, bright card like these notecards from TinyPrints.

4. Take a time-out – I don’t mean like a FRIENDS “we were on a break!” time-out. Or even like a HIMYM argument “pause/unpause.” Ever feel yourself rushing around and barely acknowledge each other when you arrive home from work? Take a second and give a big hug to one another. No matter what else is going on, just take that minute to say hi. It makes a big difference in the tone of your evening.

5. Try something new together – Whether it’s a new restaurant, a new hobby, or a vacation, experiencing things together really helps to bond with your spouse. When Nick and I went on vacation to California, we discovered that we really loved riding bicycles with each other. Now, we’re looking into buying bikes at home.

6. Get dressed up! – Going out to dinner? Put on heels or wedges, or whatever it may be that makes you feel sexy. I know that since Nick typically sees me in loungewear, I love to get dressed up when we spend time together. It doesn’t even have to be heels or wedges. Heck, even dresses or jeans are a departure from my typical yoga pants and oversized t-shirt.

7. Do something physical – And I’m not talking about that. Work out together! Even though Nick and I don’t work out nearly as often as we should, I love being active with him. Having him there as a support when I want to give up is really invaluable. We’ve been playing catch with a football or baseball recently and it’s something that we’ve really enjoyed! We can chat and get off our butts at the same time.

8. Be spontaneous – One of my favorite things to do is meet up with Nick for lunch. It’s never something that we plan ahead of time, but it’s such a nice mid-day break from work. Sometimes Nick will send me flowers of out of the blue (or after a particularly terrible TV series finale… *cough* HIMYM *cough*) and I totally appreciate the fact that he’s thinking of me.

What are your favorite ways to show your partner that you love them?

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