Committing to a relationship is not for the faint-hearted. So how do those annoyingly perfect couples manage to make it work so well?. Thankfully, science is starting to reveal the habits and behaviours that encourage relationships to flourish.
So to supercharge your relationship in 2016 here are 18 incredibly simple to implement relationship hacks you can put into practice NOW!
1) Talk. Really talk.
When you’re flat out with work, social and family commitments, it’s easy to forget to take quality time to really talk to our significant others.
But talking to each other in the right way is vital for the success of your relationship.
According to research, communication style is the most important factor in predicting whether couples will get divorced is more important than personality clashes, stressful life events, or how committed you are.
Source: APA -Happy Couples: How to keep your relationship healthy
2) Watch For Signs
Sometimes emotions are difficult to articulate in words. So it’s important to pay attention not only to what your partner says, but also their non-verbal communication.
Becoming a body language expert will help you better understand each others’ perspectives and catch potential conflicts before they erupt.
SourceWhat Your Body Language Says About Your Relationship
3) Ask Questions
Every relationship has moments when partners feel out of tune. So before blaming your partner, ask them what they meant, and give your partner a chance to describe their thoughts and emotions.
Sometimes, simply asking about what the other person feels and thinks can help find common ground. If nothing else, it allows an opportunity to increase understanding and empathy.
Source: 9 Steps to Better Communication Today
4) Explain Yourself
It’s a myth that couples always think alike. Our motives might be clear to us; but they’re not always as evident to our partner. Explaining your perspective will help your partner understand your thoughts and emotions; which in turn will ensure that you are both on the same page.
Source: Marriage Myth: Communication will Solve All Your Problems
5) Be Specific
Particularly when discussing a problem, stick to the issue at hand. Rather than bringing up previously unresolved issues, stick to the one at hand, and try to find a solution if there is one.
This doesn’t mean you should favour brevity too much either. Optimal communication happens when partners explain themselves to each other fully, are honest and stick to the point they are discussing.
Source: Psych Central
6) Compliment Each Other
With all the pressures we face, it is easy to forget to tell or partner how much they mean to us. take a moment to appreciate what they do for us.
Expressing gratitude and making your partner feel good about themselves will feed back into the relationship and help you both develop a genuinely strong and appreciative bond.
Source: Improve your relationship with these 6 language tweaks
7) Relive the Old Stuff
In the early days of a relationship we make the effort to do fun and exciting together. It’s a way to have fun whilst getting to really know someone intimately.
As the relationship matures, however, boredom and monotony can set in, leaving little energy or time for ‘date nights’.
Bringing some of fun back reminds couple of the reasons for getting together in the first place. Plus you can relive some of the excitement and freshness you shared in the early days.
Source: The effect of reminiscing about laughter on relationship satisfaction
8) Find New Things To Do Together
Doing new things is exciting. When couples try new activities together, it encourages them to look at each other with fresh eyes and to find new reasons to fall in love with each other.
It doesn’t have to be fancy; switching a dinner date for a play, or even a cooking class can bring in some fresh spice.
Source: Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality
9) Pamper Each Other
With all the demands of work and family, it’s easy to start taking your partner for granted. A simple but strong way to break out of that rut is to plan something that celebrates them and their unique quirks.
Small, everyday gestures of appreciation and care go a surprisingly long way in sustaining the joy in a relationship. Pampering your partner helps in re-connecting with how unique they are… and it also earns you a potful of brownie points!!
Source:Appreciate each other
10) Meet for Coffee
Meet your partner for a quick lunch, or a post work cup of coffee/tea before heading home. It’s a little romantic, gives you both a chance to catch up without a million tasks calling out for your attention, and also helps you relax and just focus on each other. Being with someone is your shelter from a crazy, mad world. This is certainly worth celebrating – at least a little.
Source: Long-Term Relationships: 5 Ways To Keep The Spark Alive
11) Work at it. Hard!
A long term relationship is about commitment, sharing and evolving. It is also about understanding that ‘happily ever after’ is actually a series of small happy moments that need to be earned; rather than a static state of affairs.
Each partner brings all of themselves into a healthy relationship; and then strives to adjust to another person willingly and happily. As you grow older, relationships needs may change. Keeping tabs on these changes is necessary to maintain relationship health.
Source: The 10 secrets of happy couples
12) Deal with Personal Baggage
We all carry baggage. Accepting our own personal issues – whether we can resolve them or not – is surprisingly good for our relationships.
Taking the effort to understand what pulls your emotional triggers is not only good for your personal self-development, it also reaps fantastic dividends in your relationship.
Helping our partner understand our hot-spots also reduces the chance of them accidentally setting one off.
Source: 7 Tips on developing and maintaining a successful intimate relationship
13) Fix Recurring Problems
Every relationship has recurring themes which can cause friction -for example, who does the chores, household budgeting, childcare etc.
Sometimes differences of opinion can actually be healthy, providing a fresh perspective, and new ways of completing a task. But when couples let these differences escalate into serious disagreements, things can turn sour quickly.
A good practice is to accept each other’s differences, and then work towards mutually acceptable solutions. Once a couple has a system of negotiating these recurring issues, they can deal with these situations smoothly, thus avoiding unnecessary unpleasantness.
Source: Focus on what’s fixable
14) Let It Go
Many relationship problems happen because of factors beyond the couple’s direct control. For instance, the conflicting attitudes and opinions of extended families. Some issues just can’t be fixed.
Happy couples recognize the issues that are out of their control, and find ways to reduce their impact instead of trying to ‘solve’ them. Letting it go doesn’t mean ignoring the problem; rather it means controlling it’s role in the relationship.
Source: Letting go: 2 steps to leaving the hurt behind
15) Take Some Me-Time
Spending quality time together is essential to relationship health. But just as important is dedicating time for your own personal growth and identity.
Both partners need to have their own space to focus on aspects of themselves that take a backseat in the relationship.
For some, personal time might be about being alone or having a hobby. For others it is a chance to catch up with personal friends. A little me-time helps us reconnect to who we are – an awareness and strength that enriches every relationship in our lives.
Source: Making positive changes
16) Become Friends
This is easier for couples who were friends before they started dating; but with a little effort, every couple finds things that connect them on a platonic level.
It could be a shared love of science-fiction; or it could be a preference for tea over coffee – finding ways to connect to each other as ‘people’ and not just ‘partners’ helps in building a solid foundation of shared ideas.
Source: Solidify your friendship
17) Share Responsibilities
When you are in a happy relationship, sharing is an indication that you care. Researchers have time and again found that happily married couples share their responsibilities as often as they share fun moments.
They also found that shared tasks did not necessarily mean dividing chores into two equal groups; but rather, it mean sharing in ways that truly supported each other.
Source: Shared responsibilities can improve marriage
18) Celebrate Your Partner’s Wins
Rejoice in your partner’s victories. Make a big deal of professional and social successes. Being there to share positive moments seems to be far more important in maintaining a healthy relationship.
Showing how proud and happy you are not only encourages your partner and validates their efforts, it also makes them feel more involved in the relationship.
Source: Can this marriage be saved?