The other day, I was talking to my partner about how to enhance our relationship and he said something that struck me. I couldn’t have loved his words more:
“A relationship isn’t a finished product. You have to cultivate it and water it in the same way you take care of your garden. No matter how strong you think your relationship is, if you don’t take care of it, it dies.”
“A relationship isn’t a finished product.” This is so true. The moment we stop taking care of our relationships, the magic and spark will vanish little by little. We get so used to our partner that we sometimes forget to put it in the work the relationship needs, especially after we’ve been in a relationship for a very long time.
However, taking a partner for granted can be harmful. That’s why it is important to dedicate time to the things that will benefit the relationship. I’d like to share with you some of the things my partner and I do to take care of and cultivate our own relationship.
- Ask questions.
My partner asks me questions all the time. Nobody knows me as well as he does. Whenever he notices I am worried, sad, or angry, he will ask questions such as, “How can I help you with this?” or “What can I do right now to make you happy?”. Believe me, just by him asking this last question, I become happy instantly. Or if I am feeling stuck on the career side, he brings his magical notebook, and helps me organize my ideas and time by elaborating a plan with me.
But if he didn’t ask me questions, if he didn’t care about what I’m struggling with, life would just be… harder. In Dr. Hallowell’s blog, he offers 10 tips for controlling worry, and one of them is “never worry alone”. If you can be vulnerable with your partner and share the most profound parts of your heart with him, it is probable you’ll find a solution to your problem, which will in turn make the two of you even closer.
- Visualize together.
I am a worrier by nature, and whenever something doesn’t go as planned, I tend to worry a lot. The other day I received not so good news, which caused me to say the words, “I’m scared”. My partner heard me say this, replying with a simple, “Then you’re not visualizing the right things.”
We like to visualize things we want to happen for us in the future together, like going on holidays to a certain place, buying a new house, or having a baby. And we do the same when something gives us anxiety. We try to imagine the problem being solved, or the disease being cured. By putting positive thoughts in our mind, the body relaxes, and our mood changes.
You can practice positive visualization too. Just find a quiet place, it can be in bed, on the couch, or even in the shower. Let your partner serve as your guide in your visualization. All you have to do is close your eyes, and let the words of your partner guide your thoughts.
- Take a shower or bath together.
Try to make time to shower with your partner at least once per week. It can be in the morning when you both start work late, or even after a long workday. But it is important to take your time and do it when you are not in a rush. This way, you can enjoy each other more. Hold him/her under the shower, and feel the warm water running down your bodies. The calmness of the water will make you both feel relaxed. Plus, you will experience an intense feeling of connection afterwards too.
- Love notes.
Write your partner or spouse random love notes. Let him know you’re grateful for him, and leave your note somewhere he can see it. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to do this. Doing it spontaneously will make him feel even more special.
- Help your partner with a chore.
Think of a chore your partner doesn’t like doing, like loading the dishwasher, taking the garbage out, or folding the clothes. And from time to time, take care of this chore for him. Even if you have already split up the house chores, just the act of offering to do it will make your partner feel loved and spoiled.
- Extra morning hugs.
Out of everything on the list, this one is our favorite. Sometimes life gets too busy and it can be difficult to win the morning. But if you set your alarm for just 10 minutes earlier, you will have enough time to give your partner extra hugs in bed.
Since I am an early bird, sometimes I get up earlier than my partner, but once I am done with my morning ritual, I come back to bed to give him those 10 minutes of cuddles. Afterwards, we get up and have breakfast together. He really appreciates that I make him a part of my mornings, and that I don’t just jump out of bed and start my day.
There are many other things we do in order to keep our relationship happy, like cooking together, planning short trips, or simply actively listening to each other. But we do the activities mentioned above even more often.
Get into the habit of checking on your partner. Be aware that people change, and that what he might have been passionate about three years ago might not excite him anymore. Get involved in his projects, goals, and desires.
What is it that you do to show your relationship some love? What was your favorite point from this list? Share it in the comments below!