Nothing compares to the butterflies and giddiness not to mention glow, that comes with a new relationship. However, as time goes by and the honeymoon period ends, the realities of life and keeping a relationship healthy can weigh you down and make you rethink your decision to date.
We all want to be in healthy relationships but what many of us sometimes forget is that this takes work. If you’re thinking ‘Work!’ and making a face, fear not. The work entailed in keeping a relationship healthy can be enjoyable and fulfilling when, years down the line, you look back and see the fruits of your labour.
Below are some ideas of things you can do, with your partner of course, that are sure to help you have a healthier relationship.
1. Find out how their day went
In the first days of dating or marriage, it’s easy to want to know how your partner spent their day but as time goes on and you get used to each other, you forget. Get into the habit of asking your partner how they are, what went right for them during the day and what didn’t. Take a keen interest in what is happening in their lives by asking follow up questions and offering your advice and opinion where appropriate. This will show them that you do care about them and are on their side. It’ll increase that feeling of love and intimacy.
2. Schedule intimacy
I wrote about why you should schedule bedroom time and I think more couples need to make this a priority. With the hustle and bustle of each day, it’s easy to let your sex lives go and before you know it, you haven’t had a moment for each other in months. Just like you would schedule important events like meetings, visits to family and friends or family outings, carve out time in your week for intimacy. And on the said day, prepare accordingly: text each other throughout the day to get you in the mood, book a hotel or Airbnb or take the kids to spend the night at relatives’ or friends, make a nice romantic dinner and for that night alone, keep the conversation about the two of you.
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3. Do things that you used to do earlier in the relationship
Remember those nights you used to sleep at 3 am because you were chatting or the amazing adventures you used to go on? How about the surprise gifts and dates? Pick one thing you did earlier in your relationship and reenact it. This is a good way of reminding yourselves why you fell for each other and keep the spark alive.
4. Talk about the hard stuff
One of the most important things to remember when you’re in a relationship is that you are a team. This means that whatever your partner is facing, you need to show your support and vice versa. As a result, you need to talk about the hard stuff, things that can very easily slip through the cracks and get forgotten until they fester out of control. For starters, talk about money. Discuss your goals, struggles and how you plan to handle finances in your home. The earlier you have this discussion the better.
Other topics you should discuss include your personal and relationship goals, past experiences that still have a hold on you at the moment, etc. Don’t be afraid to broach difficult topics. A sign of a healthy relationship is one where the partners feel so secure and understood that they can speak their mind without fear of judgement.
5. Apologize and forgive
If you notice that you have offended your partner, make the effort to apologize before they need you to. Ensure that this is a whole-hearted apology, one where you acknowledge your wrongdoing, that you’ve hurt your partner and then, give a solution on how you can avoid falling into a similar situation in the future.
At the same time, if your partner has offended you, forgive them and try to let it go. Avoid the temptation of bringing up past offences whenever you disagree. Should your partner wrong you in the same way over and over again you need to assess why and if staying in the relationship is the best course to take.