No matter your sexual orientation, gender identity, or preferred relationship style, the old adage rings true: Happy Wife, Happy Life. (for a more inclusive version how about: Happy life-partner, happy life, pardner?) In fact, a 75 year long study at Harvard showed that the single most important factor to health and happiness was the quality of our relationships.
But good relationships require work. They don’t just magically sustain themselves. Like a garden they need regular tending to truly thrive. As someone who has seen many relationships evolve, I believe that one of the keys to a lasting and fulfilling partnership lies in the small, everyday actions and choices we make.
Love isn’t just about the butterflies in your stomach or the grand romantic gestures. It’s in the day to day, the romance of the mundane. And its real power lies in its ability to improve our lives in more ways than we realize. Love intertwines with our physical well-being, boosting our immune system and overall health. This intertwining of love with our physical and emotional well-being shows that it’s as essential to our survival as the very air we breathe.
So as long as we’re willing to work on bettering ourselves, becoming more artful in our relationships should be a big priority! And there’s simply no replacement for dealing with the traumas and beliefs that keep you stuck in your patterns. My 30 Day Relationship Challenge is an email course designed to equip you with the tools to do that, and much more. Read about that here.
For now, let’s look at some simple choices you can make every day to keep your relationship happy and healthy.
Be Each Other’s Best Friend
Friendship is the bedrock of any enduring relationship. This may seem obvious, but what does it mean to be best friends with your partner? Think of those moments when you share an inside joke, the kind that sparks laughter or a knowing smile, creating a unique bond that only the two of you share. These shared moments of humor and joy are the threads that strengthen the tapestry of your relationship. But being best friends with your partner also means being there in times of adversity.
This is especially important for LGBTQ+ couples where the world may not always provide safe spaces to be yourself. Standing by each other in situations where external support is lacking, and reinforcing the safe space you’ve created in your relationship are all the more important. Being best friends means you are each other’s confidant, cheerleader, and safe haven, irrespective of life’s ups and downs.
Quality Time is Key
Amidst our busy lives, carving out quality time with your partner is essential. This doesn’t necessarily mean grand gestures; it can be as simple as a morning coffee chat—a time where you and your partner share your thoughts about the day ahead, discuss plans, and simply enjoy each other’s company before the day unfolds. This small window of shared time can set a positive and connected tone for the rest of the day.
Establishing rituals can also be a wonderful way to ensure regular quality time together. For instance, setting aside every Friday night to cook dinner together. This isn’t just about preparing a meal; it’s an opportunity to collaborate, share skills, and create something together. As you chop, stir, and taste, you also share stories from your week, discuss future plans, and enjoy casual banter. This ritual becomes more than just a culinary activity; it’s a nurturing space for your relationship. Whether it’s through a shared morning routine, a regular date night, or simply turning off your phones for an hour each evening to talk and relax together, these moments are invaluable.
Keep the Physical Spark Alive
Physical intimacy is a crucial aspect of conveying love and desire in a relationship. It’s a language of love that goes beyond just sexual intimacy, encompassing all forms of physical closeness that express affection and care.
The power of a simple touch should not be underestimated. Consider the reassuring warmth of holding hands during a movie. This small act of intimacy can create a sense of comfort and connection, making an ordinary moment feel special. It’s a silent way of saying, “I’m here with you, and I cherish this time together.”
Of course, sex life is a vital part of most intimate relationships. Between all the obligations of day-to-day life, how do you find time for spontaneity? I won’t get into that here, but if you’re curious check out Three Things You May Talk About With A Sex Therapist.
Celebrate Your Partner
Every opportunity to appreciate your partner should be seized. Celebrating your partner can be as simple as complimenting their cooking, thanking them for their thoughtful gestures, or leaving a loving note in their bag. These small acts of kindness are powerful affirmations of love and appreciation. For instance, if your partner has recently achieved something significant – be it in their professional life or a personal hobby – celebrating this with them shows you value their successes and are proud to be by their side.
Learn to Disagree Healthily
This is a big one, and difficult for a lot of people! Conflict is inevitable in any relationship, but it’s the manner of resolving these disagreements that matters. Healthy disagreement involves maintaining respect, focusing on the issue at hand, and seeking a resolution that benefits both parties. Try to remember that your partner lives in a different reality from you, and that what may be an obvious truth in your world may not be in their world. No two people will ever see the world the same, and in fact that’s probably what attracted you to them in the first place.
In an argument, learn to avoid thinking in terms of you vs. them. Instead imagine it’s you and your partner, up against a conflict. If you can focus on resolving the conflict and keep finger-pointing to a minimum, your relationship will stay healthier.
While a relationship involves being part of a team, maintaining your individual identity is crucial for a healthy partnership. Don’t get so wrapped up that you stop pursuing your personal interests, or maintaining friendships outside the relationship. By the same logic, it’s important you learn to respect your partner’s need for personal space. Supporting each other’s hobbies and interests, even if they’re pursued separately, can bring a refreshing dynamic to the relationship, allowing each person to grow individually while still being part of a strong, connected duo.
The 30 Day Relationship Challenge
All of these considerations can help us improve our relationships, but the most challenging aspects will typically remain untouched by this type of surface work. To change these deep-set patterns of conflict requires work—they are patterns rooted in our beliefs about who we are, what love is, how relationships work.
If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into your experience of relationships, try the 30 Day Relationship Challenge. This email course, designed to help you get in touch with the core of your heart, offers daily prompts and activities to enrich every aspect of your relationship. It’s a fantastic way to bring about positive change in just a month, and it will leave you with tools and techniques that can last a lifetime.
Wrapping It Up
Remember, love is an ongoing journey, not a destination. It’s about the small, consistent efforts you put in every day. By nurturing your relationship regularly, you ensure that the gift of love keeps growing and enriching both your lives. So, keep the dialogue open, cherish the moments, and let your relationship bloom with each passing day.
Meet Robb Kornoelje, relationship enthusiast, sex therapist, and creator of the “30-Day Relationship Challenge.” This 30-day email course offers guidance to identify behaviors causing trouble, find ease with emotions, and enhance self-awareness. With a focus on stress-free communication, the challenge encourages a stronger connection with others, nurturing compassion, and fostering forgiveness. Join Robb on this humble journey to subtly improve the fabric of your relationships—one day at a time.