Sometimes it feels like life is going in so many directions. There are countless things happening, events to prepare for, items to clean, kids to feed. It never ends. It can all feel very overwhelming. On top of all that we have to make time for our partners. Not only time to maintain our relationship, but make an effort to improve it.
Many couples believe their relationship is “strong enough” and either doesn’t need strengthening or it’s too much work. The good news is improving your relationship doesn’t have to be hard. There are many easy, simple steps you can take to strengthen the bond between you and your partner. The best part is most of these don’t require you to go out of your way. They are small, daily interactions that add to a healthy relationship over time.
1. Say thank you
Often times we go through our day to day activities without much thought to them. We get into the routine of just knocking things out that have to be done every day. Make the coffee, do laundry, cook, clean, drop off and pick up the kids, do the shopping. We start to take things for granted or expect these things to be done. It’s easy to stop expressing our gratitude.
A simple thank you to acknowledge our partners can go a long way. Saying “thank you” lets them know we’re paying attention and we noticed. We can take a moment to show they supported. Saying “thank you” can be done through a number of ways: verbally saying it, sending a text message, or leaving a note. We recommend switching between these ways to tell your partner you are grateful to have them and for what they do.
When saying thank you to your partner, remember to mention why you are thankful. Tell your partner you are thankful for how hard they work to provide for the family, for how they took the kids to their doctor’s appointment, for how they make sure not to wake you up when they go to the bathroom at night. These are a lot more meaningful than a simple “Thanks” then moving on.
2. Put down technology
Smartphone addiction is a very real thing. Some of us feel like we constantly need to be on our phones, refreshing social media or watching YouTube videos. Being attached to our phones, tablets, computers, and games can have a very negative impact on our relationships. Not only does it break any moment of intimacy, but we start neglecting our partners to check our phones “real quick” just one more time.
Taking chunks of time to fully focus on our spouse is important. One way we do this is putting away the devices completely. Create time where it’s okay to be away from the phone and our partners come first. Everything else can wait. If this seems hard, start with a small window of time, such as 15 minutes. Once it starts becoming second nature to plan for this moment every day, it becomes much easier to start increasing the time.
A tip: If you’re starting off with these 15 minutes, try doing it before bed. That way you can get into the routine of doing it regularly rather than having to plan out specific times throughout the week. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy. Sitting in bed, looking at each other with no other distractions and just talking about your day is incredibly helpful for strengthening your relationship.
3. Have a regular date night
It’s so easy for weeks or even months to pass without making a date night happen. Life happens. We budget for a babysitter, but never find one. The in-laws promise to take over, but something comes up.
Relationships take work and effort. And you’ll find that, just like exercising, the longer you go without a date night, the harder it will seem to get back on track.
For that reason, we need to have a plan. For couples with kids, maybe it’s swapping babysitting with a friend or having the grandparents keep the kids overnight once a month. For some of us it’s a weekly date night once everything else is taken care of. If things come up, try to reschedule instead of just passing it up. You don’t even need a huge budget to enjoy quality time together. There’s plenty of date night ideas that are completely free. All it takes is a little bit of your time and dedication.
A challenge from Crated with Love: Make it through 12 months of date nights. Make it a point to have a date night in every single month. Just the two of you. If something comes up, reschedule or do something a little easier to coordinate, but make sure it’s within that month.
Download our 12 months of date night printable to help you keep track of your progress! Start on whichever month you are on and complete a whole year!
4. Ask for what you need
Assuming our partners know what we want almost never ends well. Most of the time, we assume our desires and emotions are a lot more noticeable than they really are.
So how do we make sure our needs and wants are met? We simply need to ask for what we need and when we need it. Instead of hoping your partner takes care of the kids on a Saturday morning so you can sleep in, tell your partner, “It’s been a rough week and I am exhausted. Can you get up with the kids tomorrow morning and let me sleep in?” Be clear in what you are asking for and ask for your needs to be met. This is the best way to make sure you understand each other’s needs.
Remember there’s no shame in being upfront about your feelings. Too many couples have the mindset that their partners should know certain things or feel a certain way. The reality is this mindset just leads to problems down the road. Communication and honesty are hallmarks of a strong and healthy relationship.
5. Eat together
Coming together to enjoy a meal is an easy way to improve your relationship. Not only with your partner, but with your kids. Set the table, serve dinner, and sit down together. Go over each of your days and pay close attention to everything your family says. How were their days? Are they looking forward to something, or is something bothering them? Not only is this great for your entire family as a whole, but it’s incredibly beneficial to your children’s development.
Having lunch together gets a little tricky when you and your partner have different schedules. For couples in that situation, can you meet your partner on their lunch? Bring lunch for two and enjoy together before he or she has to go back in to work. What about breakfast before either of you has to go to work? It’s these little moments that sustain relationships.
6. Work on yourself
When we think about improving our relationships, the last thing we usually think about is working on ourselves. It’s always focused on what you can do together. However, being happy with yourself is extremely important to the happiness and health of your relationship.
Take some time to yourself and do something you enjoy. Whether that’s creating a time where you can just lay down with your favorite show and a bag of chips, or trying out a new hobby you’ve been interested in. Working on yourself will make you a happier person to be around, which will improve interactions and reduce tension between you and your partner.
Ready to start improving your relationship?
Life can be challenging sometimes. Maintaining a relationship through these struggles is an even greater challenge. Thankfully, we can take small, simple steps to help get us through those hurdles. By following some (hopefully all) of these 6 simple steps, you will see improvements in your relationship. Remember, your relationship wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to build and maintain a healthy relationship.
That’s why here at Crated with Love, we design our date night boxes to focus on improving your relationship through laughter and fun. The best part is we take care of everything, so there’s no stressful planning! Just open your box and enjoy together. Everything is included! Sign up today to get started!