All relationships — even the best ones — require continuous care and hard work. But that doesn’t necessarily mean taking big actions or making dramatic changes.
Little tweaks also can be tremendously helpful. That’s because simple, everyday positive behaviors add up. Don’t believe us? Give these a try and you may be surprised.
Below, Julie Orlov, MSW, a psychotherapist and author of the book The Pathway to Love, shared five ways you can instantly improve your relationship.
1. Focus on what you love about your partner.
After spending years together and dealing with day-to-day stressors, couples can forget to focus on the positive. Relationships can easily become a litany of “you didn’t do this” or “stop doing that.”
That’s why Orlov suggested reminding yourself “what it was that made you fall in love with your spouse.” Focus on the qualities you appreciate. “And don’t forget to share those thoughts with your spouse.”
2. Touch your partner.
“When you have physical contact, it is harder to remain closed off, angry and disconnected.” Just touching your partner or giving them a hug can go a long way in connecting you as a couple, Orlov said.
3. Listen to your partner.
Take the time to listen to what’s important to your partner. According to Orlov, “if your spouse has something to say to you about their feelings, needs, reaction or wants, it behooves you to truly listen rather than respond with either your own opinion or defensiveness to what they said.”
That’s because once you put down your defenses and stop rehearsing your own responses in your head, you’ll be able to gain a clearer and deeper understanding of your partner, and your relationship.
4. Find the humor in a situation.
Humor heals. It provides us with perspective. “Laughter also releases a lot of stress, allowing more positive feelings to ensue,” Orlov said. Try to find the light side of a situation, and laugh together.
5. Get intimate.
“When you connect in a way that is sacred to your relationship alone, you can’t help but feel more intimate and connected,” Orlov said. Plus, the release of feel-good chemicals also enhances your love and attachment, she said.
Relationships require regular maintenance, and the above tips can help you build a healthy, meaningful bond. Often, it’s the small steps, taken every day, that can make a big, positive difference in cultivating your connection.
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Jun 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Tartakovsky, M. (2013). 5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship Right Now!. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 27, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/06/22/5-ways-to-improve-your-relationship-right-now/