Our entire life seems to go down the drain when our most important relationships are going through a rough patch. It’s easy to get caught up in the small but annoying minutiae and forget how many good things come from being together with a person you love. Here are 12 tips to rekindling the happiness of your relationship.
1. Have an Outside Perspective
Sometimes it’s very easy to see your life as one, big, complete picture. You see your life as an individual in tandem with your significant other, which makes any relationship problem a “life” problem. Take some distance, and look at your relationship as an individual element. See if your problems are coming from outside factors, or from the way you communicate with your girlfriend or boyfriend. You are always much more than just your relationship status.
2. Live Your Life
In tandem with the previous item, think about what you’re doing with your life to make it exciting. It’s unfair for you to pin your boredom on your partner. They are your companion, not an entertainment station. Double down on work, focus on your hobbies, and if you don’t already—start cooking. You’ll become more interesting and entertaining, and this will create new ways for you to bring some fire back into your relationship.
3. Rekindle Your Friendship
The golden rule for long-lasting relationships is to “marry your best friend”. Always keep that in mind. Do things together – see movies, go to museums, go on double dates, expand your circle of common acquaintances. Remember how exciting the initial stages of your relationship were? Remember the weekly dates, the silly things you did in public? Yeah – do that again! You’ll notice an improvement in no time!
4. Get Some Space
“Distance makes the heart grow fonder.” I’m not recommending that you move to a different country and put an ocean between yourself and your significant other, but doing something as simple as spending a week (or even just a weekend) apart will help you see how much you miss your partner. Sometimes, even taking yourself out to a movie will do enough. Take some time to be alone.
5. Focus on the Small Things
Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away by the big “emotional picture” of your relationship. However, consider that every pent up emotion has been brought on by a lot of tiny details. It’s safe to assume your partner feels something similar to you. So, focus on the small things. This includes small things you can fix (like cooking together, buying small gifts, showing signs of affection) and things you can improve (like the way you talk, the way in which you spend your time together, how often you share your feelings with each other, etc.). Focus on the small things, and before you know it – all the small changes will add up to make one large, happy relationship.
Don’t just keep all your concerns locked down behind a huge wall of secrecy. If you’re bored, angry, or resentful – talk to your girlfriend or boyfriend about it. Find a quiet place and dedicate an hour of your time to share your concerns. It’s very likely that your significant other doesn’t know what’s wrong (or that anything is wrong at all). Communication is the key to a long-lasting relationship, so don’t lose it! The Obamas definitely communicate well and share their plans with each other!
7. Trust Them
Trust that your partner will be understanding about your feelings. It’s simple here – if they care about you they’ll care about how you’re feeling, and if they don’t they’re not worth your time anyway. Relationships are a two-way street, so you must also make sure that your boyfriend or girlfriend feels like they can share with you. They need to be able to tell you how they feel without you taking it personally and turning their own feelings against them. Trust each other.
8. Risk Together
“Do one thing that scares you every day.” Sure, you can take risks alone, but taking risks with your partner will strengthen the trust you have. You’ll both be excited, invigorated, and shaken up. Go bungee jumping, go skydiving, go travel together! Take risks and live an exciting life together.
9. Stay Connected With Friends
Very often, people lose connections with their friends when they begin to date someone new. All of a sudden you’re spending all of your free time with one person, and your friendships with other people start to dwindle. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and make sure that you’re staying in touch with your former friends. The more people you talk to, the more opinions you are exposed to, the more stories you can tell. Keep your friends close!
10. Don’t Dwell on the Past
I understand that there is a big difference between big problems (cheating, betrayal, broken trust) and grudges. So, fix the problems (if you can), but definitely just let go of the grudges. Don’t dwell on that one offhand criticism you received months ago. Instead, focus on how you’re communicating and spending time together now and on what you can do to build a happy future together. Feel like you’re the king of the world by looking out into the future together!
11. Get Help
Sometimes starting difficult conversations can be scary. Telling your partner about what you’re feeling can be awkward, and you might feel that you’re jeopardizing your relationship by bringing your feelings up at all. Couple’s therapy is a great option for that! You will be sat in front of a professional “conversation guide” that will help you bring up your feelings and serve as a lightning rod for outbursts of negativity. They will be able to help you express your thoughts in a concrete and healthy way.
12. Stay Positive
In the end, the most important thing you can do to keep your relationship alive and exciting is to be an optimist about it. Sure, it takes a lot of hard work to make things work, but a positive outlook will make things much, much easier for both of you!