Relationships are difficult; don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Yet, they can also be the most rewarding part of life.
The relationships you forge with friends, family, and romantic partners are part of who you are. The stronger your relationships are the better life is.
If you’re in a romantic relationship, embrace these top ten ways to develop a better one.
Top 10 Ways to Have a Better Relationship
#1 Give Your Partner 100% of Your Attention
It’s difficult to have a conversation or to listen to your significant other when your attention is divided. Put down the cell phone. Turn off the television. Close your laptop and pay attention to your partner. Listen to what they’re saying, ask questions, and engage. When you give your partner your full attention not only do you learn things, you also may prevent problems down the road. And, by giving them your full attention, you show them that they matter to you. They’re important.
#2 Express Appreciation
Saying thank you is so simple and so powerful. When your partner does something that you appreciate, don’t forget to tell them. For example, they make breakfast or clean up the dishes, thank them. If they take out the garbage, thank them. If they make dinner reservations at your favorite restaurant, express your appreciation. And consider that when you have a criticism, sandwich that feedback between two positive comments.
#3 Engage in Discussions
Talk about what is going on in the world. Discuss current events, books, movies, hobbies, music, and other things of interest. Talk about things that are beyond your home life and relationship. Expand your knowledge about one another. Learn about each other. Talking on this level helps you each remember why you fell in love and it keeps the relationship active and engaging.
#4 Learn and Explore Together
What do you want to learn or try? What about your spouse or partner? What do they want to learn or try? Why not take a class or have an adventure together? For example, maybe one of you wants to learn to rock climb and the other wants to try their hand at a cooking class. Take those classes together. Learning together expands your relationship and people bond when they go through challenges together. You can help one another succeed and grow.
#5 Have Friends Outside of Your Relationship
Your life shouldn’t revolve around your partner. Rather, remember that it is a partnership and each one of you is an individual with your own thoughts, needs, goals, and friends. Having friends outside of your relationship helps you stay true to who you are. You’ll be a better spouse and a happier person. It’s important, of course, to encourage your partner to have friends outside of your relationship.
#6 Do Something for Your Partner (Daily)
Small things make a big difference. And doing something nice for your partner not only shows them how much they’re appreciated, it brings you closer together, and it makes you feel good too. So, what can you do? Pour them a cup of coffee. Make them breakfast in bed. Fill their gas tank.
Surprise them with dinner out. Bring them flowers, or chocolate, or give them a massage. Leave a note on their car seat, in their lunch, or send them a loving text during the day. Small tokens of your love and appreciation help you stay strong and connected to one another.
#7 Be Intimate
Sex brings people closer together. When you’re intimate, hormones are released that bond you to one another. The intimacy brings you together on a deeper emotional level too. Sex is one of the benefits of a relationship and it’s a nice way to spend quality time together. Plus, it’s good for your health and the health of your loved one. Positive and healthy chemicals are released in your body when you are intimate. So, set the mood. Turn on the Barry White, light a candle, and share some time talking, touching, and bonding.
#8 Share the Workload
From sex to chores, both are important to a relationship and studies have shown that women find their partners to be more attractive when they share in the household chores. Great, right? Both of you should sit down and devise a workload that feels equal and fair. Then, both of you should follow through on your responsibilities. It prevents resentments and helps your household and relationship run more smoothly. Plus, it could lead to more intimacy; so, that’s a bonus.
#9 Ask for What You Want and Need
No one can read minds and it’s unfair to expect your significant other to be able to know what you want or need. It doesn’t matter what the topic of discussion is or what area of your life you have needs or wants, you must be honest and express them. Sure, it can feel awkward sometimes to tell your partner what you need. But if the shoe were on the other foot, you would want your spouse to speak up, right?
So be fair. If you need some quiet time, speak up. If you need more, or less, intimacy, speak up. If you need them to do more around the house or if you need to talk about something important, let them know. You owe it to your partner and to yourself to be upfront and honest.
#10 Expect and Support Change
People change. It’s a mistake to expect that either you or your spouse will remain the same person your entire lives. You will change. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you expect change and you support your partner to grow and evolve, then it’s good. You can grow and evolve together. Here’s the caveat, you cannot change your partner. You can only change yourself. Keep that in mind and you’ll have a better relationship.
Your relationships matter to you. Spend time working on them. Show your partner how much they matter to you. Work to make your relationship as strong and positive as it can be.
Resources to Foster Better Relationships
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The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that LastsThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship ExpertEmotional Intelligence 2.0Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your PartnerLove and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately NeedsCouple Skills: Making Your Relationship WorkThe Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and FriendshipsMen Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: Practical Guide for Improving Communication
What are some ways you foster a better relationship?