One of the kindest things you can do for your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or partner, is to listen to them. Sit down together on the couch for a minimum of ten minutes, listen to your loved one, and give them your undivided attention.
When you’re listening, it means you aren’t scrolling through your text messages, or listening while the flat screen is tuned to cable news.
It means your relationship is worth setting aside the tech gadgets and distractions for a few minutes.
Talking is one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Share what is taking place outside of your being together, whether it’s about school, work, or what you want to do during the week ahead. It’s also great to set aside time to discuss in an open manner concerns that hinder moving forward together as a couple.
No one is a mind reader, and it’s better to ask questions or voice concerns than to keep them hidden or unaddressed.
When you’re communicating, it’s a great time to set goals together. Is the relationship going well? Great! It’s the time to share a fun activity, like going to the gym together, to keep up with the goal of staying in shape and spurring each other on to greater health.
On the flip side, if the relationship can use some fine-tuning, then it’s time to tackle the goal of taking stock of what’s happening, and engaging in activities to draw closer to each other.
Are you in the rut of staying in for takeout and Netflix? How about taking an early evening walk, or talking to each other about unrealized dreams, minus judgment, and no matter how far fetched those dreams appear to be? You may realize that you and your loved ones have dreams you can enjoy achieving, together.
Traveling is a great way to strengthen a love bond. If it’s a place you haven’t visited before, you’ll discover it together. If you reach out to your fellow travelers, you may meet some wonderful people and make new friends. Talking to the locals in a location you visit often yields an interesting place to see, or to have dinner, that you might not discover otherwise.
Even if you don’t have the time or budget for a full blown vacation, a Sunday drive to get away for a few hours can be marvelous. It will offset wasting an afternoon and defer dreading the arrival of Monday morning.
One of the best trips I had with a boyfriend was a Sunday drive into the country. We ate lunch at a small inn, and discovered an antiques store, where I bought a set of tea cups and dessert plates that I wouldn’t find anywhere else.
4. Break Bread Together
When was the last time you sat down to dinner together, eating homemade food instead of takeout? Surprising your sweetie with dinner in the middle of the week can be an unexpected treat. It doesn’t require fancy candles or a bottle of wine, although those may be fine accoutrements.
Unwinding together during a meal leads to opening up communication. If you know what food your loved one enjoys, it’s also the opportunity to talk about family recipes or fun times in the kitchen.
5. Set Your Financial House in Order
Money can be a source of conflict and pressure for many couples. Personalities differ, and if one person spends while the other saves, it can be a source of tension in the relationship.
According to the website Investopedia.com, up to one-third of married couples are coping with financial stress. Such stress may be due to the division and responsibility of paying bills, career changes, taking on or paying off debt, and raising children together.
It’s a good idea to have a frank and open discussion about finances, prior to getting engaged, or moving in together. Your credit score, and the credit score of your spouse, will have an impact on obtaining financing for a house, car, or education for your children. Finances can make or break you as a couple, and are important to work on throughout your relationship.
6. Encourage Health
Going to the gym is a great start, and caring about your mental state goes even further. If you or your partner are having a tough time due to the loss of a job or death of a loved one, there’s no shame in seeking the professional advice of a therapist.
We may become relaxed and let ourselves go after being together for a while. Gaining a few pounds may happen, but prolonged extra weight gain may also lead to high blood pressure or other complications.
If your sweetheart is mentioning any type of physical pain, it’s time to address it. Even if it’s not serious, isn’t it worth checking out for peace of mind?
It’s normal to want to spend exclusive time together while establishing a relationship, but don’t forget about your friends, individually and as a couple. Enjoying a group activity and evenings out with other couples will enhance your relationship. You’ll have times to look forward to that take you out of the house and provide relaxation from work.
Before you became a couple, you may have enjoyed activities that aren’t necessarily ones that you’ll share together. If he likes sports and you knit to relax, continue taking time for those hobbies. He may want to enjoy sports with his friends, and you may want to enjoy your knitting circle. The time apart to enjoy those activities with friends doesn’t mean you love each other any less; it means that you care enough about your own personal times of refreshment to enhance the time you spend together.
8. Stimulate Each Other, Intellectually
To this day I think of sage advice my father once gave me: make sure you will have something to talk about together over the next twenty years, because it’s conceivable that you’ll be together for that long, if not longer! I’ll admit, I’ve used this as a litmus test for all of my relationships.
Read a book, take a class that interests you, and keep up with the news headlines. Even skimming the local paper for a few minutes will give you something to share as you’re sipping a morning coffee together. Boredom sets in when there’s nothing interesting to share or say, and it’s simple to avoid becoming a boring person.
9. Commit to Each Other, and to the Relationship
The decision to commit to each other is the ultimate glue holding your relationship together.
During and after six months to a year, have you made a commitment to your loved one?
Have you worked on points of improvement that will enhance your love life together?
If not, it’s time to have the wisdom and maturity to end the relationship, so that each one of you will have the opportunity to meet the person who is best for you.
If you are all in, let your partner know, by your words and actions. It will cause both of you to feel secure in the present, and assured in enjoying your future together.