The lists of things that are required to maintain a successful relationship are endless. Yet, all the lists remain theoretical and getting the promised results is certainly not as easy as it seems.
Where is the practical stuff? Why can’t someone tell the world once and for all: "Do this, do that, more of this, and less of that"?
In theory, communication is one of the greatest assets in a relationship. The practical aspect of knowing what each other mean and not just talking is a little more complicated.
As long as you are in an ecstatically happy relationship, all the theories make sense. But then again, who thinks of following lists while you’re floating on clouds and feeling butterflies?
If you want to know how to have a strong relationship, here is a list of 8 practical exercises that you can do on those days when you’re not floating on clouds. You know, when you need a little extra tender love and care from your snookums or you suspect that they’re just not feeling it either. Oh, and for best results, repeat these often and keep adding to the list:
1. Have a cup of coffee together.
Communication, communication. Yes, we all know how important it is but getting from just talking to properly communicating can sometimes feel like a giant leap. Make time to share a cup of coffee and just chat.
In the hustle and bustle of real life, couples tend to talk about work, life, and what’s for dinner. Sharing a regular, quick coffee can just help you realize that just chatting for the fun of it is just as important or even more so than making dinner plans.
2. Have an adventure.
Scientists suggest that having an adventure together releases the same chemicals that are responsible for making you feel those butterflies. The key to success: excitement.
If diving with sharks is your thing, then go for it but making out in the back of a cinema or taking a roller coaster ride can be just as much fun and probably be a lot less scary.
3. Travel together.
Research has proven it: Honeymoons are not only for newlyweds.
Traveling together as a couple has been proven to substantially reduce the risk of getting a divorce or breakup. Spending time together in an unknown and relaxed environment is an excellent way of strengthening relationship bonds.
Now you have a reason to book that luxury Las Vegas hotel trip you’ve been dreaming about.
4. Make a list.
This strategy has long been used during couples therapy but using it often may actually keep you out of therapy.
Divide a piece of paper into two sections and fill one with the things you love about your partner and the other with things that are, um, less lovable. The key to this exercise is to remember that the positive outweighs the negative by far.
If you want to, you can take it even further by ripping the negative list to pieces and pinning the list of those adorable characteristics to the fridge.
5. Roll in the hay.
A happy sex life is about just as important for a happy relationship as cheese is important on a ham and cheese sandwich.
Have sex regularly and often. Women tend to have sex when they feel loved while men tend to feel loved when they have sex. Balancing both partners needs can take the intimacy of your relationship to the next level.
6. Give each other massages.
No one needs a scientific explanation as encouragement to receive a good back rub but knowing the facts may just change your mind about returning the favor.
Twenty minutes of physical contact is enough to trigger the production of endorphins (the happy hormones). Regular physical contact with your partner literally trains your brain to feel happy around them.
7. Draw a picture.
Realizing that normal happy relationships have both ups and downs is an important part of enjoying it to the fullest. On those days that you just don’t feel the butterflies, or worse, think that your partner has lost them, scribbling on a piece of paper may be just what you need to relax about your future together.
You, your partner, and your relationship have better and worse days. Drawing these waves on paper can serve as a visual reminder that it’s just a normal part of life and you’re in for an up curve again soon. Visualization techniques are an excellent way of making sense of things when overthinking is threatening your sanity.
8. Share a secret.
Remember how sharing a secret with your best friend in primary school was just about the ultimate thing that you could possibly ask for? It created feelings of exclusivity, trust, and bonding and it’s still true in your adult relationships.
Playing footsie under the dinner table or sneaking in a special wink every now and again can spark things up a bit and create your own little world for just a moment. And we all know that you can’t light a fire without a spark.
Real life and real relationships are more than just theory. Practical things, however small they may seem, are what get things done.
With this list of 8 practical things that you can do to strengthen your relationship, you really don’t have to worry about how to putting all the theory out there into practice. Just choose where you’ll start and get into it.
Bring those butterflies back to life.