Being physically fit and healthy doesn’t happen by itself – you need to put the effort in to get the rewards. It’s exactly the same for relationships with people you love.
Here’s some ways from our Psychology Today friends you can keep your relationship fit, healthy and happy….
- Express your gratitude: Feeling grateful is one thing, but telling your partner is another. Do you express your gratitude? It turns out that sharing your feelings of gratitude is linked to positive partner perceptions and a willingness to voice relationship concerns (Lambert & Fincham, 2011), which helps maintain healthy relationships.
- Spend quality time together: Much anecdotal evidence suggests that spending more time together increases relationship satisfaction, but only recently has research scrutinized whether time really does increase satisfaction, or whether perhaps relationship satisfaction increases time spent together. Research suggests we might pay more attention to the quality of the time spent with our partner, rather than the quantity.
- Be kind to yourself: To be the best partner you can be, start by being kind to yourself. Scientific evidence is accumulating in support of the idea that self-compassion is a wonderful foundation for a healthy partnership. Self-compassion is a habit of gentleness towards oneself during times of failure, inadequacy, and imperfection. Evidence shows that self-compassion predicts the types of behaviors that translate into healthier relationships, such as offering care and concern for a partner (Neff & Beretvas, 2013). In other words, working on ourselves can benefit our relationships.
- Do some of the things you used to do: Think about the types of things and adventures you and your partner got up to in the first year of your relationship, and the kinds of things you did for each other. How did you share the love? Write down your answers and start doing them again!
- Be Curious: Standard questions like "how was your day?" can result in standard, automatic replies, like ‘fine’ or ‘good’. Instead, try asking things like, “What made you smile today?” or “What was the most challenging part of your day?” You’ll be amazed at the answers you’ll get, with the added benefit of gaining greater insight into your significant other.
- Know each other’s love language: (read on!)
Marriage Counsellor Dr. Gary Chapman has identified five love languages that people speak and understand emotional love:
- Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
- Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
- Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
- Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
- Physical Touch: It can be sex or holding hands. With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.
Try out this quiz to see which language you are.
Speak a different love language?
Different people tend to “speak” different love languages. If you and your partner speak different love languages do not fret… there are things you can do…
- Identify your own love languages. Identify the way that you prefer to be loved and to extend love.
- Ask your partner to identify their love languages. Don’t presume that you know what your partner’s love languages are. Ask them to talk about how they want to be loved and how they express love.
- Learn to identify and appreciate acts of love expressed in your partner’s love language. If you learn to speak a few words of your partner’s language, you will come to appreciate the ways in which you are already being loved.
- Learn to love your partner by expressing love in his or her preferred language, and ask your partner to learn to express love in your preferred love language.