12 easy, free things to do today to enhance your relationship By Alison Blackman, Editor in Chief, Leather and Lace Advice & The Advice Sisters Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Web Site
Although I’m a relationship expert and the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Advice Sisters Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Web Site and Leather and Lace Advice, occasionally, I also perform weddings. In all of the ceremonies I have performed, I’ve included some “Tips for Love” that I believe are essential to keep a relationship strong. These Tips don’t cost a dime and everyone one of us can do them, although some take practice. I’m delighted to be able to share some of them with you!
Tip #1: My Tips today are about keeping your relationship strong. Perhaps the most important key is your desire to be together, and to never give up on one another.Your relationship is worth more than anything else. It is priceless. With time, we tend to grow apart. If you don’t actively work to be together, ultimately you will isolate and then separate from each other.
Tip#2: Banish the “Shoulds” — it’s often the outside influences on your relationship that can stress it the most. Other people have expectations of you as a couple that they want to impose on you. For example I’ve heard parents right at the wedding reception say “When are you giving me grandchildren?” Another example, when I had been married just a few weeks I was invited to a girlfriend’s weekend. My new husband didn’t mind my going at all, but my mother was horrified. She told me if I went away with friends without my husband I would wreck my marriage. I went, but felt guilty all weekend. You are two unique people in an exclusive pairing. You don’t have to make your relationship conform to someone else’s idea of what it should be. As long as it works for the two of you that’s all that matters.
TIP #3: RESPECT YOUR DIFFERENCES: Remember you belong with each other, but not TO each other. You’re not going to agree on everything all the time. But when there’s a big issue and you can’t see eye to eye, keep in mind that you share a mutual bond, but you do not have to believe the same. And if one partner always is always right and always wins, your marriage, loses. And while honesty and trust are paramount, no one is perfect –we all make mistakes. So learn to forgive. If your partner tells you something that you really didn’t want to hear, at least cut them some slack for being honest. Be respectful of all that they are, not just this one thing that is upsetting to you.
Tip #4: Compromise Creatively: Some disagreements can be solved by compromise but sometimes that’s impossible. If you can’t have it both ways, the best way to make a decision or resolve a disagreement is to ask yourselves: Which one of us is this issue more important to or which one of us will be impacted more by our decision? Wherever possible, each person gets to declare the one thing that means the most to them, and all the other things are negotiable. For example, if you are moving in together but neither of you wants to move, perhaps only one of you can legitimately break a lease, or neither of you can, or it’s going to cost a lot more to negotiate a move from one place than from the other. Perhaps your commute would be a lot easier than your partner’s in a move. Once you figure out who is impacted more it’s easier to make a decision and it’s more acceptable to the one who has to deal with the compromise.
Tip #5: Remember the little gestures and be generous with them. It’s not the grand gestures that count the most, it little things. One harsh, angry word or gesture can ruin a mood and and all your good feelings. If your partner gives you an expensive gift, but says something unkind or you have a fight later on, that gift loses it’s sparkle. Once you’ve said something it’s out there forever. There’s no delete button in life. Kind thoughts, comments and gestures help keep your relationship strong. a hug, a kiss, a touch, a kind word, a smile, all help to show your partner how you feel about them and how you appreciate them.
TIP#6: Be on Time. You wouldn’t keep a business connection waiting, so why would you make your partner wait? It’s the ultimate in rude behavior and says “my time is more important than yours.” That’s a real relationship killer. It’s easy to be on time. Wear a Watch! There are so many options to choose from. Make a fashion statement. I personally like Citizen eco-drive watches that are powered by light and never need a battery.
Tip #7: Be Surprising! In the beginning of a relationship everything about the other person seems fascinating. You want to know EVERYTHING about them. But having no surprises, becomes boring. What is there about you that your partner has yet to discover? Keep learning and growing and you won’t be bored, or boring. Activities outside of the relationship brings new life to the relationship and keeps you growing as individuals, so you have more to share as a couple. Giving each other space to be individuals in important, you’re not joined at the hip.
Tip#8: Focus on the Positive: When you first meet someone all the little things they do that are quirky seem cute and acceptable, but when you’ve lived with them for a long time those very same quirks that you thought were so fascinating can become irritating. Instead of compliments (“you’re so funny, you’re so fascinating, you’re so unique’) you start sending out the opposite messages, and you being to focus just on the negative. When you look at your partner and think “what did I ever see in this person?!” try to remember t…the great times you’ve had together, the way they’re so kind to animals, the little things they do for you that are so loving (See tip #6 little gestures). Tell yourself that all the negative thoughts and emotions you are feeling right now are going to be stowed in another place where they will while you deal with sleep, sex, your work, or whatever you are both doing, because you need to focus on the person you are with. You can do it if you try.
Tip#9: Don’t make your partner into a buddy. This person is more than a friend. If you truly love someone, you want them to be happy, wanting their success and happiness more than yours. Show your partner how important they are to you and not just that you’re marking time with them doing chores. Intimacy is important and you should make sure you express that on a regular basis.
Tip #10: Break the Routine: she’s into her book club and he plays cards with his friends, but what do they do together? Just about nothing. Couples who do things together not only develop and maintain common interests, they maintain more interest in each other and have something to talk about besides complaints and chores. We live in a busy world and most of us are already over-booked with things we must do. While I don’t like the idea of the traditional “date night” which is just another stressor, I do like the idea of sharing something new. Take a class together, or start a hobby, join a bowling league…the point is to do something together on a regular basis where you can break out of the old routine and develop new, shared interests.
Tip #11: Look Presentable: When we first meet someone we tend to put a lot more effort into how we look, but after a while, it’s easy to let things go because you don’t feel the need to impress your partner. But looks (and especially personal hygiene) still matter. There is no need to dress up all the time, but forgetting personal cleanliness on weekends (you’d be amazed at how many people skip showers) or wearing shapeless sweats all the time depresses both of you. And if you want to send a message that romance is what you are after, try wear something red–the color of love. It’s been proven that the color red makes hearts beat faster.
Tip #12: Environment Matters So Clean Up Your Home. If your home is piled high with papers and clothes you dump in a heap, and your unmade bed and unpaid bills are the main feature of your bedroom, there’s no way you’re going to enhance romance or even relax and get a good nights’ sleep. Clean up the clutter and make sure that there is at least one place at home that is an attractive, calm, pleasing environment in which you and your special someone can snuggle. Take a look around each season. Be critical! Replace the smelly pillows your pet chewed and deodorize the room. Clean up the bathroom — a dingy one is a real romance-killer. Even some potpourri and some candles, can be mood lifter to enhance romance.
These tips sound so simple, and they are free to all, but they take practice! I hope they help you enhance your romantic relationship, whether you’re just starting out or you have been together a long time. Feel free to add your own tips below in the comments section, and ask us relationship questions. We answer them for free, or with a private service.