101 Smart Ways To Improve Your Relationship Right This SECOND
101 Smart Ways To Improve Your Relationship Right This SECOND
101 Smart Ways To Improve Your Relationship Right This SECOND
All relationships need a little pick-me-up sometimes, even the best ones. To that end, we've compiled a list of 101 ways to reconnect with your significant other right this moment. These actions will make your partner feel loved, appreciated and desired and will, in turn, make you feel more connected to him/her. Whether you'd like to increase intimacy, find a thoughtful way to say "I love you," or just show your honey some gratitude, we're sure you'll find something useful in the list below.
And since the world (and our site!) is full of loving, creative souls, we hope you'll share with us in the comments section below the special ways you share love and strengthen your bond with your significant other. Read the whole list, or skip to your favorite category from the list below.
1. Lie down on the bed ... and spend two minutes looking into each other's eyes without saying anything. (Blinking is OK.)
2. Next time you're in bed pull the covers over your head and have a whispered conversation. If you whisper first he'll probably whisper back—it's incredibly intimate.
3. Listen to each other. Think you already do that? Try active listening. Ask your partner to talk about something and after each sentence (or paragraph) repeat what you heard. Start with, "I heard..." You don't have to repeat back the words verbatim, just say what you think she said. If you misinterpret or leave out anything, your partner will correct you. Take turns doing this. It's great for intense discussions, arguments, or just a weekly ritual to improve communication.
4. Pray together. If you're comfortable talking about it, discuss what you pray about.
5. Do the wonder intimacy exercise. (From The Marriage First Aid Kit.) Free associate and list sentences starting with "I wonder" on a piece of paper. (I wonder if I'll ever learn to cook. I wonder if I'll ever cook for you. I wonder if I could love you more than I do.) Take turns reading your wonders to your partner, without judging, commenting or analyzing. This may feel silly at first, but just try it and see what happens.
6. Do the nostalgic memory exercise. (From The Marriage First Aid Kit.) Pick a shared memory from "the honeymoon period" of your relationship. Discuss the memory and take turns talking about a) sensory memories (sights, sounds, smells) b) what you were thinking and c) what you were feeling.
7. Set time aside every day for mutual silence.
8. Give each other pet names. Sure, you can call each other baby, boo, or schmoopy but coming up with a nickname only you two get is cute and provides a little laugh. Studies have shown that nicknames are a sign of a strong relationship. Others might not think "Bomboushay Yaya" is endearing but if it means something to you then that's all that matters.
9. Say something positive — anything at all. Researchers have found that happy couples have a ratio of five positive comments to each negative comment.
10. Think of one quirky thing she does that you love and tell her about it.
11. Ask him what he was like when he was a little kid.
12. Tell him he looks sexy in that shirt (pants, shorts, insert the appropriate item of clothing).
13. Compliment something that he's improved upon.
14. Tell him he makes you a better person. And then tell him how.
15. If you're feeling anxious about something, ask your partner to be your stress absorber. Ask him to listen as you explain what you're worrying about. The catch is that he doesn't have to say anything — no reassurances or offers of assistance. He just has to pay attention to what you're saying and offer you a hug or hold your hand. As you're talking, imagine your stress dissipating as the words leave your mouth.
16. The next time she does something that makes you angry ... before you say something about it stop and ask yourself, "What am I really mad about?" Little things can often be masks for deeper issues. If you decide it's a larger issue, hold your tongue and bring it up when you're not mad.
17. Accept her apology. If you've been fighting and she makes an attempt to reconcile, don't rebuff her.
18. If she holds a notable position in her field ... (or even if not) remind her of how awesome she is at her job and how it intensifies your amazement of her.
19. Apologize for something you never apologized for ... even though you knew it was your fault.
20. Tell her a sexual fantasy you've always felt embarrassed about.
21. If there's a secret you've been wanting to share with him ... write a list of five reasons you're afraid to say it, five ways you could phrase it, and five possible reactions he could have. Then pick one phrase and do it.
22. Think about something your partner does that makes you feel bad, but you haven't told him about. (If this doesn't exist for you, great! Skip this one.) Decide what you'd like him to do instead and tell him about it like this: Next time you're feeling relaxed and loving, say, "I want to tell you something. Sometimes I feel <insert feeling here> when you <whatever it is that makes you feel bad.> Could you do <what he could do instead> instead?"
23. Think about a time when something went wrong between the two of you: a fight, a disappointment, a miscommunication. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently? What could we have done differently? What can we learn from this? Then talk to your partner about it, starting with what you could have done differently.
24. Make a special treat. Even if you're on a diet, there's always room for a little snack once a week. Maybe it's a food from her childhood (like the s'mores her dad used to make when they went camping) or something that reminds him of your first date (spicy homemade guacamole? No problem!). A little treat that you've either made or just remembered to pick up will show you're thinking about the two of you.
25. Cook a meal together. Divide up the tasks so you can both be in the kitchen working at the same time.
26. Make breakfast for him. It's more unexpected than lunch or dinner.
27. Next time you're at the corner store...pick up his favorite candy or gum.
28. Pack her a lunch to take to work. Bonus: put it in a paper bag with a note. Double bonus: include a small piece of chocolate.
29. Think of a piece of food that he likes but is difficult to find and order it online.
30. Use a toothpick to write "I love you" on the outside of an unpeeled banana. It'll turn dark in a few hours and he'll be able to see it.
31. The next time you hug him, reach around and squeeze his butt. It's the little things that keep it hot.
32. Browse an online sex toy store together and talk about what items you'd like to try. If you want, order one.
33. Bathe together periodically.
34. Put one of his fingers in your mouth and lightly suck on it. It's chaste and incredibly sexual at the same time.
35. Write erotic fiction for each other. Pick something you've done together and recreate it in words, or pick a steamy fantasy and write down exactly how you want it to happen—even if in reality, it's impossible.
36. Dedicate one day exclusively to sex. Turn off your phones, don't check your email and stay in bed all day. Rent a hotel room for a day if this will help you get away from life and only think about each other's bodies.
37. Take turns being dominant in bed. Tell him or her that you want to experiment. Tonight you call all the shots, tomorrow he does. Try a blindfold, tying his or her hands with a tie or scarf, or spanking.
38. Masturbate together without touching each other.
USE FAMILY AND FRIENDS
39. Next time a member of her family calls and you answer the phone, stay on the line a chat a minute before handing off the phone. She'll be touched that you want to speak to her relatives.
40. Invite his best friend to dinner and stay for a drink ... then cut out to give the two some time together.
41. Take out his yearbook. Ask about the people in it and what they meant to him.
42. Borrow a friend's dog and take it for a walk together. Dogs bring out people's good sides.
43. Read a book to your child together, switching off pages.
44. Bring him a glass of wine (or water) when he's helping your child with her homework.
45. When you hear the baby crying in the middle of the night, be the first one to get up.
46. Write her mom a note, and praise her on how well she raised her daughter.
47. Do her chores. Take out the garbage or do the dishes, even if it's not your turn or your job.
48. Cover him with a blanket. If you're up in the middle of the night or have to leave early in the morning and you see your partner has tossed the comforter off, take a minute and tuck him in.
49. Set out her coffee cup next to the coffee pot with milk and sugar in the morning ... so all she has to do is pour and get out the door.
50. Next time you wake up before him... turn off the alarm clock and rouse him by kissing his forehead.
51. Repair something of hers that she hasn't gotten around to fixing: an old watch battery or a broken bracelet clasp.
52. Pick up her dry cleaning.
53. Next time you know she hasn't gotten enough sleep and she's going to work tired, tell her she looks great. (Whatever you do, don't tell her she looks tired.)
54. When she tells you something about her schedule, put it on your calendar so you can remember to ask about it: a big meeting at work, a doctor's appointment, a lunch with an old friend.
55. Leave an open bottle of wine and an empty glass in the kitchen for your spouse after a long, hard day. Hopefully you'll be able to join for a glass, but even if you're working late or taking the kids to soccer practice, it's a sign of how much you appreciate him/her.
56. Keep gifts for him hidden in the house so you'll have a surprise for him if he's had a bad day.
57. Get him a subscription to a magazine he likes.
58. Buy a pack of his brand of clean underwear. Next time he needs to do laundry but doesn't have time, give it to him.
59. Pre-order a book from Amazon from an author you know she loves so it'll arrive right after it's published.
60. Just once, upgrade to a small luxury item you know she likes but doesn't usually indulge in: super soft toilet paper, organic arugula, a fancy bottle of wine.
61. Start planning her next gift right now. Figure out the date of the next big holiday — a birthday, anniversary or religious celebration — and think about what she might want. Pay attention to things she says she wants and write them down. Thinking about giving will extend the joy we get from being generous.
62. Scrawl a heart and your initials in the steam on the bathroom mirror. He'll see it if he comes in right away, or next time the mirror fogs up.
63. Write love notes and put them places you know you're partner will find them: in his coat pocket, in her jewelry box, in the silverware drawer, on the laptop keyboard.
64. Send flowers to her office. It doesn't have to be a fancy bouquet, anything fresh-cut will look pretty on her desk and remind her of you.
65. Ask him to send a baby picture of himself or another picture without you in it and make it your computer wallpaper. ("That shot of you and your Grandpa Rex after you caught that big salmon? Superhot.")
66. Change the background of her phone to a picture of the two of you.
67. Make a playlist of all the songs that remind you of your relationship and put it on his iPod or iPhone.
68. Copy and paste the lyrics from a love song into an email and send it to her.
69. Send him a link to a song on YouTube that makes you think of him.
70. Think about something you've both wanted to do together ... (travel to Costa Rica, learn French, build a fence, etc.) and find a TV show you can tape or a website that shows you how to do it. Plan a date night around watching it together.
71. Email her an old photo of the two of you on vacation or your wedding day.
72. Set the DVR to record a show she's been talking about but hasn't yet recorded. Or look for a show you know she'll like and tape it for her.
73. Clean his computer keyboard and monitor.
74. In the middle of the day, send a text message that says "Thinking of you."
75. Start a couples blog.
76. Use your body (hands, eyes, mouth, arms, legs etc.) to show him you're paying attention and listening when he talks to you.
77. Wrap your arms around his middle and squeeze as hard as you can. (If you're stronger than him give him a little warning.)
78. Massage a part of her body that you wouldn't usually pay attention to: her forearm, her calf, her butt. (OK, maybe you do pay attention to that part, but you probably don't massage it.)
79. Make a touching date. One night after dinner (or a weekend afternoon — some time when you're relaxed), go to bed and take off your clothes, but leave on your underwear. Make a list of ways to touch (tickle, scratch, massage with fingertips, massage with whole hand, kiss with lips, kiss with eyelashes, squeeze). Then take turns: one person chooses a body part, one person chooses an action, and you switch off touching each other. The key is to avoid having sex or touching the skin beneath the underwear. Is a list too much for you? Skip it and take turns massaging each other; just make sure to avoid having sex!
80. Sneak up behind him for a quick shoulder massage.
81. Stage an impromptu wrestling match.
SWITCH IT UP
82. Pretend to be strangers and pick each other up at a bar.
83. Next time you're out to dinner, offer to treat, as opposed to splitting it or paying from your joint account.
84. Change your alcohol habits for one night. Do you usually drink a lot together? Try abstaining for one night, and see what happens? Don't drink much? Try splitting a bottle of wine between just the two of you and see where it leads.
85. Clean the house together. Naked.
86. Set up a bank account where each of you puts $50 a month to go towards something that can be mutually enjoyed.
87. Instead of watching TV, read a story out loud to each other.
88. Have a "no-technology" day or hour or evening.
89. When he's tired from a long day of work, offer to watch a movie he loves but one that you wouldn't normally watch with him.
90. Don't react when he says something annoying.
91. Reverse your spooning (or other snuggling position) for a night.
92. Next time you're going somewhere in the neighborhood together, walk instead of driving. The stroll will give you time to chat.
93. Put on music you both like and dance in your living room.
94. Play a card game. Gin rummy is a great one for two people.
95. Take some grapes (or raisins or chocolate chips) and try to throw them in each other's mouths. It's silly and a little messy but will make you giggle together.
96. Teach him a card game he's never played.
97. Talk in an accent together all night.
98. Play movie-oke.
99. Exercise together. Play tennis, go hiking, go for a jog.
100. Go sledding. Or skinny-dipping.
101. Make up a game and play it together with your kids.