With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, let me ask you: Are you satisfied with how your relationship with your beloved is going?
Or is the spark gone, and you’ve turned into pleasant roommates – or effective co-parents instead?
Do you want to get your love life to another level, but you just don’t know how to get there?
Having been together with my wife Danielle for 23 years, I have found that a relationship needs time, attention, and care all year round to deepen and grow.
So what can you do to make your relationship better?
Remove your invisible boundaries:
One of the blindspots many couples are dealing with is a certain limit to how much closeness and connection one or both can handle.
For example, let’s say you are having a nice dinner with deep conversation, but suddenly you have the urge to get up and clear the table.
Or your phone notification flashes, and you feel drawn to check on it and are no longer engaged with your partner.
Perhaps it’s Sunday morning and your partner wants to snuggle with you, but you tell yourself that you need to go ‘urgently’ for a run. When these knee-jerk reflexes of avoiding emotional or physical intimacy become a habit, they create a barrier in the relationship, leaving your loved one feeling disappointed and rejected.
Notice when you feel this pull in another direction and resist the urge, let’s say to look at your phone. Stay a few minutes longer in conversation or hold your beloved in an embrace.
Acknowledge Your Partner’s Presence:
Life gets busy and many times, you may find yourself distracted when your partner comes and leaves your home. So much so that you barely look up from your screen or don’t get up to kiss them goodbye. This lack of acknowledgment makes your partner feel as though you don’t care enough to notice whether they are there or not.
You can show that their presence matters by simple hugging them, asking them a question about how their day went, or offering some help when they are carrying heavy bags in the door.
With these simple gestures, you demonstrate how much our loved one means to you and that you are willing to make them a priority.
Respect Core Vulnerabilities:
Core vulnerabilities are the recurring themes and patterns that when triggered cause us to feel stressed, hurt, frustrated or insecure. Let’s say your partner always runs late, struggles with weight issues or gets very emotional when they see something about the suffering of children or animals on TV. Rather than getting frustrated or making fun of them, meet them with understanding, patience and compassion.
It is normal to have your reactions or emotions around their vulnerabilities. Still, try to put yourself into their shoes, and thus are able to approach their sensitive topics with the intention to make them feel safe and supported. Having each other’s back, especially when one of you is struggling, strengthens one of the fundamental pillars of every relationship, which is trust.
Join me on this week’s podcast episode of “Get Real” where I share in more depth on these tips along with a few extras that will help you implement new strategies that have been working like magic for my wife and I – as well as the many couples I have been working with.