It’s not uncommon for us to hear about how hard relationships can be. But the truth is, they don’t have to be. At all. In fact, the right relationships will feel easy and that’s how you know they’re right. In fact, you don’t have to do grand things and dedicate all your time to your relationship to guarantee success. Here are 18 little things you can do to tremendously improve your relationship!
1. Learn your partner’s love language
One of the biggest reasons relationships fail is because one person feels unloved by their partner. They don’t see their partner doing or investing in things that can show them that they are loved. However, one thing we’re forgetting is that everyone has a different love language…and it might not be the same as yours.
There are 5 main categories for love languages:
- Acts of service Doing things for your partner out of consideration to lessen their burden Example: helping around with chores, making them breakfast, helping them carry something
- Physical Touch Physically touching your partner (hugs, cuddles, kissing, randomly touching them) and being close to them Example: holding hands, rubbing their back, hugging frequently
- Gift Giving Getting your partner thoughtful and meaningful gifts to show effort and attention Example: getting them flowers, making/buying/giving them gifts frequently to show you’re thinking of them
- Words of Affirmation Verbally affirming to your partner by saying sweet, kind and loving things to them frequently Example: complimenting them often, praising them, verbally expressing to them how much they mean to you
- Quality time Taking out time frequently to spend with your partner where you both do something enjoyable in each other’s company Example: going on lots of dates, designated time to spend together, running errands together
Love languages are all very different, yet all very valid. It can be easy to misunderstand your partner’s love language if you don’t know what it is. You might think your partner doesn’t love/appreciate you if you’re only looking at things from the perspective of your own love language.
So sit down with your partner, take the love language test, and exchange results. Sit down and have a look through your partner’s results.
By doing this, you can better understand the ways they show you love, and the ways that you can show them love.
Want to know more about the 5 love languages, what they mean and how to show your partner you love them? Read our article on the 5 love languages!
2. Prioritize time regularly for your partner
Sometimes life can get too busy and we have way too many commitments to attend to. At times like this, it can be easy to neglect our relationship and our partners – especially if you’ve been together long term. But this can have extremely detrimental effects on the relationship.
Now I’m not saying to drop work completely and spend every waking moment with your partner. But come up with some kind of schedule and include time for your partner in it. Depending on how many other commitments you have, maybe it will be a few hours every Sunday. Or maybe a few hours every other Sunday.
But whatever it is, commit to it and prioritize it just like you would with anything else.
3. Learn how to communicate with your partner
Sometimes we can end up in a frustrating cycle with our partners filled with constant arguing – just because we don’t know how to communicate. It is normal to get frustrated and annoyed with our partners. After all, we’re all human. The important part is knowing how to communicate effectively with them so that we can find solutions rather than just take out our frustrations.
Read our in-depth article on how to become a better communicator.
4. Make an effort to remember the little things
The little things matter. They really do. They matter because you’d think they don’t matter. But it goes such a long way if you put in a little effort to remember the little things.
Maybe your partner mentioned how much they like a specific type of flower, and you get them that flower on a special day. Or maybe you remembered that your partner has an important meeting one day so you get up early to make them breakfast.
If you struggle with remembering things in general, open up the notes on your phone and just have a list of things about your partner that you’d like to remember. This will help you not only make your gifts and gestures more thoughtful but your partner is going to be unbelievably appreciative that you remembered something that seems so insignificant in the first place.
5. Be spontaneous with your partner
The problem with many long term relationships is that they can settle into a routine and lose their spark of excitement. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A great way to keep the excitement and the spark alive in your relationship is by relying on spontaneity now and then.
Surprise your partner with flowers! Show up after their work to take them on a surprise date. Take trips together or go on dates that you don’t usually have time for anymore. Keeping the excitement alive can help keep the relationship alive.
6. Don’t let any bitterness fester
It happens. Sometimes we just get really upset with our partners and we don’t know how to address it so we stay quiet and just hope it fizzles away on its own. But that’s extremely harmful – especially if you make a habit of it. By not communicating when your partner has upset you, can lead to a lot of bitterness and resentment.
And letting that fester will only make it explosive in very unpleasant ways later down the road. So talk to your partner when they upset you. Give them the chance to explain and apologize and make it up to you.
7. Communicate with your partner through the day
The truth is, the majority of our day isn’t usually spent with our partners and that’s just how it is. We have jobs and schools and errands to attend to. But in a time where communication is easier than ever – we don’t have to let this affect anything.
This doesn’t mean you have to be on the phone 24/7 with your partner. But texting them here and there throughout work is a great way to stay feeling connected to them. Maybe something funny at work happened or you want to show them a picture of a cute dog you saw on the street.
Stay connected to your partner, it will only make you feel closer to them.
8. Share your feelings (even the bad ones)
Our partners want to know that we trust them enough to allow ourselves to be vulnerable around them. We might want to conceal our feelings (especially the bad ones) so that we don’t worry our partners or burden them with our own problems. But the truth is, our partner’s want to know what’s bothering us. They want to know when we’re sad or upset or angry. And even happy and excited and joyful.
So share these feelings with your partner. Let them know how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling this way. Vent to them and have them vent to you. By maintaining this emotional connection with each other, you’ll only get stronger as a couple.
9. Ask about their day – every single day
This is such an easy yet overlooked way to strengthen your relationship. Especially if you don’t get to spend most of your day with your partner. Make time, every single day, to ask them how their day was. You can do this before bed, or during dinner together. But make sure to dedicate some time every night to check in with your partner and actually listen about their day.
Not only will this make sure that they never feel distant from you but it’s a great way to stay in tune with what your partner is feeling.
10. Do teamwork activities
Teamwork activities are a great way to improve any kind of relationship – even a romantic one. Whether you’re cooking together, playing sports together or even just building legos together – the important part is that you’re working together as a team.
This is a great way to remind yourself that you are indeed a team, working together through the course of life. Not only will this help you make great memories but it also reinforces that you and your partner are on the same side and can work together to overcome anything.
11. Compliment often
It is nice to be complimented, especially by the one you love. By constant complimenting your partner not only are you making them feel good and boost their confidence but you’re also continuously assuring and affirming to them that you care and love them.
12. Use physical touch to show affection
Touch is one of our 5 major senses and it is such an important part of human connection. When experiencing affectionate touch by our loved ones, our brain releases happy hormones and forms even stronger bonds with the ones we love.
Your touch doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual or romantic even at all! You could simply rub your partner’s back, hold their hand, touch their arm or hug them often.
13. Acts of service
Doing acts of service for your partner is an amazing way to not just say you care but to actually show it too. It is all about doing things for your partner out of consideration to lessen their burden.
Help around with the chores a little extra. Help them with tasks that they might be struggling with. Offer your assistance often to let them know that you’re there for them when things get rough.
14. Do something scary together
It is a fact that by doing something “scary” together that boosts levels of adrenaline can cause you to form really strong bonds with your partner. By going through a scary experience together, it helps you feel more connected to your loved one on a psychological level.
So go ride some roller coasters together. Watch a scary movie. Do something that gets the adrenaline going to feel closer to your partner than ever!
15. Invest in your partner’s interests
Is your partner into a sport that you couldn’t care less about? Take the time to learn something about that sport or better yet ask your partner to explain it to you and then watch a game together. Maybe your partner is into a band that you’ve never heard of. Take the time to listen to their songs and then talk to your partner about it.
Your partner isn’t going to be concerned with whether you actually like their interests or not. What matters to them is that you took the time to learn about their interests and are trying to be invested in them. Now that is true love right there.
16. Give meaningful gifts
Your gifts don’t have to be grand or expensive or constant. As long as they are tokens of appreciation to show that you took the effort to get them something meaningful your partner will appreciate them. Even something to just show that you were thinking about them throughout the day, is a great way to show your love and improve your relationship.
17. Respect each other’s “Alone Time”
As important as it is to spend time together, it is equally important to spend time apart. You and your partner are two separate individuals and that doesn’t change just because you’re in a relationship. It is important for both of you to spend time alone with yourself or with other friends.
Not only does this help you and your partner maintain your independent identities but it also saves you from risks of dependency and frustration from feeling suffocated.
18. Forgive and forget
It is normal to fight with the ones we love. But the important part is to forgive and to forget. The truth is, your partner isn’t perfect. They have flaws and they’ll mess up sometimes. And so will you! That is just how people are. But if they’re working on those flaws and trying to better themselves, it is important for you to work with them and forgive and forget to move past them to avoid any resentment from building up in the relationship.