All couples encounter bumps along the road—rough patches that need some TLC. Below are some great ideas for turning your relationship around, or, even better, making a good relationship great.
What does a happy relationship mean to you?
While most of us know what a great dinner or date night should entail, few consider what a great relationship would mean. So, what does it mean to you? I always refer people to ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman as it was the book that made me realize that we actually need different things to feel loved. Let’s look at an example.
Someone I’m dating thinks that he is going to surprise me with the best birthday present ever, so he comes home with a pair of diamond earrings. Only, I’m not a fan of diamond earrings. I think a man shows that he loves me when he spends time doing things with me. Had he planned a romantic weekend getaway to Marrakech, I would have swooned both because he stopped and thought about the things I truly love and because he’s willing to spend time with me.
Gifts lose their appeal if we give the wrong ones. Similarly, love loses its appeal if we aren’t loved in a way that we understand. For some, love is receiving gifts; for others, it’s physical touch, quality time, acts of service (like vacuuming the house) or words of praise.
He'll give his heart to the first woman who does this...
Next time you decide to show your love, think about what your significant other would appreciate. Next time you plan a date night, think about planning something you know will be appreciated. Next time you buy a gift, think about buying something your partner likes as opposed to something that’s been described as a great gift or something you’d like to receive yourself.
Compliments vs nagging
I know. Your partner is probably really annoying sometimes and he will most likely forget to do the chores he said he would at other times. Sometimes he’s just irritating or funny because he’s so ridiculous.
Here’s a suggestion: next time you’re out with friends, don’t join their conversation they’re when complaining about their partners—especially if he’s with you.
If you can, rather turn the conversation around, saying something like “Yeah, X is definitively not a star in the kitchen, but I can’t resist him when he cooks anyway. He’s just adorable. And when he is flexing his muscles at the gym, I just drool—even after all this time.” You’ll now all be talking about the irresistible sides of your partners, and if your partner hears it, he will feel like a stud.
I know it might be hard to compliment your partner if you are going through a rough patch and he’s being particularly unreasonable, but if you want to stay in the relationship, there has to be a reason—or many reasons—for it. Remember and talk about those reasons in front of him instead of putting him down.
Write down a list about things you like in your partner – from his looks and the way he ruffles his hair, to his big heart and the way he handles a hammer. Then, every day, make sure to compliment him on something. Choose different things each day, so it’s not all about his wardrobe choices for example, but also about his personality, his mannerisms, his looks and the way he treats you. Which brings us to the next point…
Turning patterns upside down
He’s developed a nasty habit of leaving his dishes unwashed, and you complain about it. He promises to do them when you speak about it, but then doesn’t. How do you get out of this rut?
It’s easy: you compliment him for every good thing he does. For now, you do the dishes. Three weeks down the line, you ask him to do the dishes by saying he would be the sexiest man alive if he could, on top of everything else he’s doing for you, also do the dishes. When he does them, kiss him. Properly. French kiss. Trust me: he’ll want to do the dishes again!
Tell him that he’s a sex god
If you want to turn your sex life around, start telling him how sexy he is throughout the week. Send him little messages saying that you’re thinking about him (you’re thinking of his pants off, you’re feeling turned on, you just can’t wait to see him naked…that kind of thing) and then, in the bedroom, express how sexy he is.
Tell him that he’s steaming and how good he feels, and show him that you’re enjoying what he does to you. This will make him feel like a stud and give him confidence. After a few times like this, it’s easier to suggest new things to do together, or how you like to be touched—and, as with the dishes, no nagging.
Time together and time apart
You need to be happy for your relationship to be happy. Make sure you have time to work on your career, spend time in the gym, spend time with your friends and family and also spend time on your own.
Taking a weekend away with friends or by yourself every so often is a great way to give each other a chance to miss one another. Weekends away together, however, are a great opportunity to spend quality time together away from the demands of everyday life.
Can’t afford to spend weekends away? Spend a weekend at a friend’s when you need some time to yourself and do an apartment swap with another couple when you need a getaway.
Of course, also remember to set time aside for date nights and sex.
Saving a relationship has a lot to do with loving and respecting each other and ensuring that you focus on building the positive, rather than arguing about the negative. Relationships take time and effort. Are you willing to invest in yours?