15 Ways to Improve Your Relationship Instantly
1. Keep the romance alive
With everything going on in the life of the average couple, it’s easy to forget the small gestures that keep a relationship ticking. What most couples don’t realize, though, is that it doesn’t take much to help your partner feel more valued every day. “Stringing together these little things is an ongoing way to make change in your relationship,” says Gail Saltz, MD, Health’s contributing psychology editor. The expert tricks here can fit easily into any routine—in minutes you’ll be on your way to building a stronger connection and lasting bond over time.
Depending on your combined schedule, quality time may be few and far between. Try setting aside one day a week where the two of you spend time doing an activity you both enjoy. You can be as creative as you like with this one!
3. Regain trust
If one of you has cheated it’s important to know this is not an easy task – but it is achievable. The person who has been cheated on needs to try their best not to let jealousy and blame consume them, and the person who did the cheating needs to be as transparent and understanding as possible. This means lots of talking to express feelings to one another. The key to making this work is not allowing your past to interfere with your future.
4. Turn off your smartphone
If you’re glued to Facebook during dinner, then it’s time to unplug. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior looked at data from 1,160 married people and found a negative correlation between heavy social media use and relationship happiness. “When angry, some people may turn to texting to avoid saying something,” Dr. Saltz says. “It’s a way of creating distance.” While it doesn’t hurt to send a flirty or loving message, it does pay off to be more direct with your partner when something is really eating at you.
5. Go to bed at the same time
Feel like you never have a free moment together? Hitting the sack at the same time will help. “Bedtime might be the only opportunity you’re alone together all day,” says Barton Goldsmith, PhD, author of The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time. Even if you’re a night owl, you can always stay in bed until your partner drifts off. You should also make sure you’re both getting a healthy amount of shut-eye. A study from the University of California, Berkeley looked at the sleep habits of more than 100 couples. Those who reported poor sleep were much more likely to argue with their significant other the next day.
6. Brew a cup of coffee for your partner
Grand gestures aren’t the only way to express your love. Something as simple as brewing your partner a cup of coffee in the morning helps improve your relationship, says Terri Orbuch, PhD, a marriage researcher and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great. Orbuch has studied 373 couples for more than 28 years through the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, and her research shows that frequent small acts of kindness are a predictor of happiness in a relationship. “People may feel taken for granted,” Orbuch says. By doing these small tasks on a regular basis, you’ll help your partner feel noticed.
7. Bring up a funny moment from your past
Sometimes the best memories are the funny ones. In Motivation and Emotion study, couples that remembered laughing together—like the time a grocery store clerk did something funny in the checkout line—reported greater relationship satisfaction than those who remembered experiences that were positive, but not necessarily when they’d laughed. “Laughter reminiscence packs an additional punch because people relive the moment by laughing again,” says study author Doris Bazzini, PhD, a psychologist at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.
8. Tell him how you feel
A common relationship problem is expecting your partner to know what is on your mind and know how you are feeling. Unfortunately no matter how close you are to your man it is a tad bit unreasonable to expect him to read your mind! Always tell him how you feel without being super defensive or critical of him.
9. Great sex takes work
Don’t give up on a relationship because the sex isn’t up to scratch – instead talk about which sexual activities you like in the bedroom and likewise, listen to his needs. Together you can work at having good sex – practice makes perfect!
10. Have sex in a different place
Getting busy often enough to satisfy you both is key. If you’re feeling so-so about your bedroom romps, it might be time for a change. One idea: try having sex in a room or area you’ve never done it in. “New elements of play stimulate the dopamine system,” Dr. Saltz says. “When you do something that causes you to release more dopamine, it’s a positive reinforcer.” Want to suggest a tryst in the kitchen? Don’t worry about making it a drawn-out conversation, she says. It can be as simple as a one-liner that hints at your intention like, “The kids are gone. How about the kitchen table?” As long as your partner is game for the idea too, nothing’s stopping you.
11. Be responsible for your own happiness
It’s not fair to expect someone else to make you happy – only you can make you happy! If you’re not sure what it is that makes you content, do whatever it takes to find it. Take art classes, exercise, host dinner parties – sometimes this means rediscovering the hobbies you had before you met your partner.
12. It’s ok to have different interests!
In healthy relationships couples will share common values and deal-breakers, but these are far more important than common interests. Having separate interests from your man adds a touch of variety and spice to your relationship – go on, enjoy your ‘me’ time!
13. Treat him like your best friend
Ever noticed how patient you can be with your colleagues, friends and family – but when it comes to your boyfriend, it’s all guns blazing? Make a conscious effort to treat your other half like you would your best friend
14. Have ‘stay-in’ dates
Enjoying a date night with your partner doesn’t need to be expensive. You can cook your partner a lovely meal and enjoy eachothers’ company in the comfort of your own home – be sure to make as much effort with your appearance as you would if you were on a real date. Don’t forget the red lippy!
15. Focus on the good
People often spend more time complaining about their relationship than they do appreciating what they have got. If you have got into the habit of thinking of all the little annoying habits that your partner has, refocus your mind to what you admire most about him.
Source: Cosmopolitan & Health