Relationships can seem so easy at the beginning. Love comes naturally. But over time, other parts of life start to compete for your attention. Pretty soon, the relationship isn’t getting much focus. You and your partner both start to wonder where the good times went.
Considering the joy that can come from a healthy relationship and the potential challenges a failed relationship can present, you want to do your best to stay happy together. This is even truer if there are children involved.
Try these strategies to quickly put your relationship back on track:
1. Make time for each other. Remember when you first fell in love? Your relationship was a huge priority. You made time for the other person. There wasn’t much you were going to let stand in your way. After a while, time together became the thing in your life that gets attention after everything else has been taken care of.
* Setting aside time for a date night once a week or even every other week can be enormously helpful. If you have kids, maybe you can swap babysitting nights with another couple.
2. Volunteer together. If contributing to others’ lives is important to both of you, this is a wonderful way to enhance your relationship. Sharing an experience that’s positive and meaningful can strengthen the bond you share. Time spent like this also allows each of you to view the other in a positive light.
3. Play together. Find something you both enjoy and do it together. Intimacy is gained during those lighter and happier times, not just when life feels heavy and dramatic.
4. Improve how you deal with conflict. When there’s conflict, are you good at working through this together? A good way to measure this is to consider whether the conflict is likely to happen again. There’s no reason to keep having the same conflict over and over again. If that happens, you didn’t really resolve anything.
* Instead, focus on finding solutions. The fact that there is a conflict doesn’t suggest that someone is wrong. It simply means that there is a misunderstanding or a disagreement about something. Choose learning and happiness over the need to be right.
5. Take responsibility for yourself. This may be the most important thing you can do for your relationship. Instead of expecting your partner to make you happy, find ways to take care of you own needs.
* The other side of this is not spending all your energy trying to make your partner feel happy and secure. You can only contribute to their happiness, not create it.
After you’ve been together a while, your relationship will naturally start to take a backseat to other things. However, for your health as a couple, it’s important to find enjoyable and meaningful ways to spend your time together.
No relationship will sustain itself for long without tending. Our partnerships require care and attention, just like anything else worth having. And as is often true, the more you put in, the more you get out.
Try some of the tips above to devote some much-needed energy to your relationship. You’ll be amazed at how much joy a little attention to your partner will bring.