There’s no other way to say this, but…relationships are hard. The scenario where a girl meets a guy, they fall for each other, and it’s all uphill from there mostly happens in Hollywood movies.
In real life, maintaining a strong bond with your partner requires long-term effort and patience. Money issues, family responsibilities, and the overwhelming pace of everyday life can take a toll on the healthiest of relationships.
Sadly, not everyone is ready to put in the work. The data speaks for itself – psychologists have estimated that the chances of a marriage ending in divorce are between 42 and 45 percent.
If you and your significant other have run into relationship problems, there’s no need to throw in the towel just yet. Here’s a list of tips that can help you save your relationship – and prevent it from burnout.
1. Communicate what’s on your mind
They say – silence is golden, but that’s not the case in maintaining a healthy relationship. Communicating effectively with your partner about what’s bothering you can prevent further misunderstanding and stop needless arguments which occur regularly in a long-term relationship.
So instead of pushing your feelings away, try to talk it out – even the small things. Here are a few things to keep in mind when communicating with your partner:
- Be open and honest. Honesty is the cornerstone of every lasting relationship. Other people can’t read your mind, so let your other half know what you’re feeling. They might not even be aware you’re upset.
- Ask questions. This might seem like an obvious one, but surprisingly – asking questions about sensitive themes can prove challenging even for experienced couples. Prepare your questions and remember to ask them, rather than state them, so that your partner knows you’re interested in his or her point of view.
- Don’t argue in the heat of emotion. Wait for a time when you’re both clear-headed, well-rested, and not super stressed. The more calmly and clearly you and your significant other talk, the better the chances of getting to the bottom of the argument without getting hurt.
2. Be a good listener
It’s not all about talking it out, really. Psychologists believe that the state of active listening is just as important in solving your relationship troubles. No wonder why sometimes just the feeling that you’re being heard and listened to alone can be as effective as a 2-hour conversation.
So here’s how active listening differs from “passive listening”. When you’re actively listening, you’re showing genuine interest and curiosity in the things the other person is saying. Instead of passing judgment and thinking what to say next, you’re fully concentrating on your partner with all senses.
To become a more effective listener, you need to:
- Pay attention. Look at your partner directly instead of fidgeting around. Avoid being distracted by external factors like the notifications on your phone.
- Show that you’re listening. Using your body language can let your partner know you’re engaged in the conversation and you actually care about what’s being said. Remember to nod and smile occasionally, keep an open posture instead of crossing your arms in front of you.
- Try not to interrupt. We may be tempted to add a counter argument to the conversation. This can be very frustrating to the person who’s speaking, so let them finish their point before speaking your mind.
3. Spend quality time together
With a hectic work schedule and children to raise, life will get busy plenty of times. But amidst of kids and deadlines, it’s important to find time for your partner where it’s just the two of you, no little ones interrupting.
While binge-watching your favorite TV series might be nice and relaxing after a bustling work week, you’ll need something more effective and intimate to rekindle the spark if your relationship’s run into trouble.
Here are some ideas for quality time together:
- Prepare dinner together. Instead of dining out, buy all the produce, cook a romantic meal, set a beautiful table, and have a dinner date at home. Preparing food together is like team-building for two – you can converse with the other person, at the same time training your collaborative skills. And in the end – you get to enjoy the delicious meal you and your loved one have both prepared.
- Play a sport. Recent studies suggest that couples who exercise together do not only become fitter and more confident in their appearance, but are more likely to stay together. Try to compromise and pick up a sport you both enjoy – or go back to basics and master walking, cycling, or hiking together.
- Take a vacation or plan a weekend getaway. Sometimes, we just need to recharge our batteries – not only as individuals, but as couples, too. A change of scenery can do wonders for a relationship. It can help to remember what it’s like to enjoy each other’s company and see each other in a more romantic light. This list of epic weekend getaways has plenty of ideas for short trips that’ll let you travel the world.
4. Touch each other more
In a romantic relationship, we all want to feel genuinely connected to the other person. There are plenty of ways to foster such a bond, but only a couple are as fundamental and even ingrained in our biology as touch.
The problem is – in the modern era of electronic devices, it is too easy to neglect physical connection and replace it with chats and snaps.
What we don’t realize – touching is essential to the human needs, and even more so in a romantic relationship. Researchers agree that it’s a key factor to a lasting relationship and a successful marriage, as the reciprocity of touch increases intimacy and satisfaction.
So if you and your partner are feeling disconnected, try to introduce a little bit more of touching into the relationship. Here’s how:
- Hug when your partner comes home. This is such a simple thing to incorporate into your daily rhythm, and it shows immediate support after a long day of work and being away from each other.
- Flirt more. Tousle your partner’s hair, caress their shoulders. Even a slight spank on the backside can be a romantic and easy way to create more intimacy.
- Try touch-encouraging accessories. A brand called Be-with has come up with a witty way to encourage touches. They’ve created couples’ clothing with secret openings to make it easier to hug and touch your significant other. A cool idea not only to take cosy-time to another level, but look stylish, too.
Final words of advice
In a relationship, it’s not always smooth sailing. In fact, it will take a lot of investment to make it work.
But know this – if you invest the time and energy into building a bond that’s important to both you and your partner, it’s absolutely possible to have that fairy tale-like love story of your dreams.
Kristine Vaksa is a content writer for Truesix.co, TV producer, and music manager. When she’s not pondering another article idea, Kristine is slaying the keys with her band or out on a search for the next best ASMR video.