(NC)—No matter whether you’re dating now, or have been happily married for years, here are five simple ways to make that relationship even better, no matter where you are in your romantic journey:
Recognize what’s important to your partner. Taking time to do this can go a long way towards building goodwill and an atmosphere of compromise. On the flip side, it’s also important for your partner to recognize your wants and for you to state them clearly. Constantly giving to others at the expense of your own needs builds resentment and anger.
Keep outside relationships and interests alive. No one person can meet all of our needs, and expecting too much from someone can put a lot of unhealthy pressure on a relationship. Having friends and outside interests not only strengthens your social network, but brings new insights and stimulation to the relationship too.
Change it up. Act out of character — you can easily get into ruts. If you find that you are repeating patterns, step back and break it up. Be somewhat unknown to each other. We are hardwired as humans to like mystery and be intrigued by it. There is an excitement that comes from anticipating and not knowing.
Find something you enjoy doing together. It can be a shared hobby, a dance class, a daily walk or volunteering. Doing service moves you out of yourself and your own problems and supports a broader, more spiritual view of life. Get involved with a local organization like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (www.ccfcanada.ca) and help improve the lives of children and families living in poverty around the world.
Connect as a couple and rekindle love. Relationships need time to thrive. It is vitally important to set aside specific times to be together. Commit to spending quality time together on a regular basis. Even during very busy and stressful times, a few minutes of sharing and connecting can help keep bonds strong.
Relationships are an investment. The more you put in, the more you get back.