Blow out the cobwebs and shake off the dust with 5 things you can do right now to make your relationship a place you want to hang out.
Sometimes despite our best intentions, our relationship can begin to feel like more work than joy. It’s not that you take each other for granted necessarily, it’s just that patterns and habits have set in that might need a bit of a shake up. Work, kids, the reality of daily life may have taken the gloss off and a bit of effort may be required to refocus and get back on track. That is when you have to work smarter not harder.
Just as a spring clean around the house can change the whole feel o your home, from old and drab to shiny and new – with a few simple strategies you can do the same in your relationship.
Here are my top 5 strategies for spring cleaning your relationship.
1. Make your relationship your priority
Time and again, research shows that it is the relationships we have with others that bring the real joy and meaning to our lives. The primary importance of our love relationship or marriage should be clear to everyone in words and actions – especially the two people in it. So let your partner know they are important and that the relationship is your priority and then work together to make it real.
Here’s how: Carve out non-negotiable* time in your calendar each week that’s just for you two. Maybe it’s for a coffee, walk, picnic, dinner or breakfast together. If you have kids, organise a baby sitter or mind someone else’s kids during the week so they can mind yours for an hour when you need. *Non-negotiable, in that you make it happen / don’t let it slip.
2. Nurture your friendship
Friendship is fundamental to any good relationship. But to have a good friendship you need to spend time together sharing each other’s worlds and really knowing each other. Most couples when they first get together spend hours asking questions and sharing everything, sometimes staying up all night because they are so fascinated by what the other has to say…fast forward a few years and the reality is very different. It’s not that your partner isn’t still fascinating it’s just you are no longer asking about it.
Here’s how: A quick test to see if there is room for improvement here for you is to ask yourself: “do you know your partner’s favourite colour?” Some people have the same favourite colour from when they are young and never change it. Other’s change with the season or the week or the moment. It may seem insignificant but the point is how do you know if you don’t ask? Friendships are built on sharing the small along with the big.
3. Notice and appreciate the little things
Every day you and your partner do things for each other but perhaps you have stopped noticing. Research has shown that you need 5 positive interactions to counter 1 negative. Appreciating your partner helps build your emotional bank account and creates the resilience needed to bounce back if any negativity does creep in.
Here’s how: Take time each day to not only notice, but appreciate your partner for those things and let them know how good it makes you feel when they do those things for you. This might be that they make you a tea at night, rub your feet, give you back scratches, cuddle you, do the washing up, make the bed, check the doors are locked before bed, do the driving on the weekend, take the kids out for an hour so you can relax, buy you a coffee, put the bins out, the list goes on. It doesn’t need to be big or expensive – acknowledge and appreciate the little things.
4. Know what makes your partner feel loved and do it – every day
We all feel love in different ways but often when it comes to showing love to our partners we do the things that we would like them to do for us – not necessarily what it is they really want.
Here’s how: In order to really hit the mark and grow the love, ask them this one question “What makes you feel loved and cared for?” Write down their answer and do it – daily.
5. Make a plan for fun
Couples who play together stay together, but hectic routines and lots of commitments can really take the fun out of your relationship. It may be that you have to really make a plan to bring the fun back.
Here’s how: With your partner put together a list of activities that are fun for you and then schedule them into your calendar and make it happen. If you notice there are a couple of things that you would like to do, start small pick 1 and do it today. Then add to it in a week or so and then build from there. This will increase your chances of successfully making the changes stick.
Happy Spring (relationship) cleaning!
Do you have a question or another tip for giving relationships a fresh start? Share it via the comments below, we’d love to know!
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