Like most people, you want to keep your relationship healthy but you aren’t really sure what to do.
Gifts? Flowers? Vacations? Backrubs? There are so many options and they seem kind of expensive and a bit overwhelming. Why does having to keep your relationship healthy require so much time and effort?
Gifts, flowers and vacations are nice but, fortunately, there are everyday things that you can do to keep your relationship healthy, little things that make a huge difference in whether your relationship is happy or not.
Let me share 5 of them with you now.
#1 – Eye contact.
When you go to work in the morning and you meet co-workers, do you look them in the eye and wish them a good morning? When you are ordering coffee do your look your barista in the eye and thank them for their service. Of course, you do!
So, if you naturally use eye contact as a source of connection in your life, why wouldn’t you use it in your relationship?
I can’t tell you how many couples I have worked with, ones who are finding themselves disconnected from each other, no longer look each other in the eye. Instead, they occupy with themselves with something suddenly super important if their partner is in the room. They keep their eye on the TV when the other says goodnight. They leave in the morning with a quick peck on the cheek, moving towards the door with haste.
It is literally impossible to remain connected to someone if you don’t look them in the eye. Human beings thrive on eye to eye contact and not having it can not only prevent a relationship from happening but also destroy one that is struggling.
So, when you walk in the house tonight, look your partner in the eye and say hello. Connect with them in a way that lets them know that you care.
#2 – Hugs.
It seems to trivial but hugging your person every day can literally be the thing that will keep your relationship healthy, maybe more than anything else.
Hugs do two things, both of which are important for healthy relationships. Hugs use physical contact to convey caring. Think about how good it feels to get a hug from anyone. Pretty good right? And now imagine a hug from the person you love. Pretty amazing right?
A 10 second hug leads to the production of oxcytocin, the feel good chemical that enhances happiness and fights depression. They say a 10 second hug, once a day, can deepen a couple’s connection in a big way.
Also, hugs are great stress relievers. Holding someone in a firm hug for 20 seconds has been proven to release stress. What a gift that would be – to hug your person and make them feel less stressed out in this stressful world.
So, if you aren’t doing it regularly, hug your person. Its quick and cheap and effective!
#3 – Pay attention.
I know so many women who say to me “Why can’t he just know what I want. Why do I always have to tell him?’ If you are a woman you are saying YES. If you are a guy you are saying UGH.
I am afraid that I have to agree with the guys. Women are very good at tuning into each other’s needs but it’s harder for men to do so. As a result, a distance can grow between a man and a woman because opportunities to make each other happy are being missed.
I would encourage both men and women to pay attention to their partner. I would encourage them to note their likes and their dislikes, what makes them happy and sad, what are the things that they enjoy doing, and being done to them.
A person who pays attention is a person who will make their partner feel loved in a big way. Yes, you might not be able to anticipate your person’s every need but if you pay attention you will be able to come pretty darn close.
#4 – Small gestures.
You know the saying ‘it’s the small things that make the difference?’ Take this phrase to heart because it’s true. Small gestures can keep your relationship healthy and humming along
What do I mean by small things? I mean bringing your lady flowers. I mean thanking him for helping you with a task. I mean asking your guy to go for a walk. I mean making a cake for their birthday.
It’s the little things, doing the things that make life a little less dreary and the things that make your person know that you are thinking of them, that will keep your relationship healthy and happy.
#5 – Making time.
One of things that we are lacking most in this modern world is time. Because we are lacking time, for some crazy reason, what goes to the bottom of the priority list is relationships. We willingly give our time to work and to children and to hobbies but we often take our relationships for granted and don’t give them the time they deserve.
So how do you carve out time in this crazy world?
My ex and I always went to bed together. Always. Even when our marriage was falling apart. We would just read side by side and then turn off the light but the time was very intimate and cozy.
Another idea would be getting up early one morning a week for coffee and conversation. Or having a quick drink after work, before the chaos of homework and dinner kicks in. Or taking a walk together. Or getting a sitter and actually going on a date.
Making time seems difficult but, really it isn’t. All you have to do is be aware that it’s important to do so and to make it happen. You can work one half hour less or skip a bike riding day and make your relationship healthier, just like that!
Doing things to keep your relationship healthy doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming.
It’s the everyday things that can make a huge difference in the health of a relationships, the everyday things that can be forgotten in the midst of the chaos of the modern world.
So, make an effort to make eye contact with your person, maybe before or after a hug. Pay attention to what they might want and need and do small gestures to let them know you are paying attention. And make time for each other. I mean, you do love each other and time spent together isn’t that much of a sacrifice, is it?
Having a healthy relationship is the #1 goal for most people and yet so many relationships are unhealthy. Try some of these everyday things and see the health of your relationship bloom.
You can do it!
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.