It’s as simple as a to-do list.
By Michael Griswold — Last updated on Aug 08, 2023
Photo: pixdeluxe via Canva
With the demands of everyday life, it can be hard to remember some of the simple things that keep our relationships strong.
But if you make caring actions a priority, they will soon become a habit and lead to a fulfilling and happy partnership. G
ive these tips a try, and watch how they transform your relationship.
Here are 9 small relationship fixes that are so effective it’s scary:
1. Give each other the benefit of the doubt
Giving each other the benefit of the doubt ranks highly on the list of things to do to improve your relationship. Yet, this is often easier said than done. The reason I say this is because our families often get the worst of us; to completely plagiarize MTV, we really do stop being polite and start getting real. However, something as simple as giving your spouse or partner the benefit of the doubt can make an extraordinary difference.
2. Have outside interests
Outside interests don’t mean your secretary. Instead, outside interests refer to hobbies, activities, or groups of friends. You can use these outside interests to do things together (go for a hike, take a painting class, join a curling club), or use them to spend some time apart. No matter how much you’re in love, spending time apart is conducive to making a relationship healthy.
3. Be spontaneous
Both men and women have a little bit of Indiana Jones inside of them (well, except for Calista Flockhart…she has A LOT). In other words, they like adventure, excitement, and being spontaneous. Sitting on the couch and not talking to each other doesn’t make for an exciting relationship, going out and living life does.
4. Take a vacation
Another important point on the list of things to do to improve your relationship has to do with taking time to be together. Some couples prefer to do this with a vacation — cruising to the Bahamas or spending a long weekend in New York. Others prefer to do a staycation, simply spending some time in a hometown hotel or a local spa. But, whatever you choose, choose something; taking a break will keep you from breaking.
5. Give a gift just because
Partners who have been in a relationship for a long time are often great at giving gifts when they’re supposed to. Their Christmas presents are thoughtful, and their anniversary gifts are exceptional. But, a relationship can also benefit from giving a gift just because. When you do this, you have the element of surprise on your side and even those who claim to not like surprises usually do.
6. Ditch your kids
You love your kids, but even then it’s nice to have some 18-and-over time. This is because when your kids are around, you innately focus on them and not your partner; you zone in on your kids’ needs, their desires, and whether or not they are eating dog food from Rover’s dish. Spending some time without them, on the flip side, allows you to focus purely on each other.
7. Work together
Actually working together (as in having his and her cubicles side by side) isn’t likely to be on any things to do to improve your relationship list. The fact is, even the strongest couples have difficulty going into the office together day after day.
Instead, the type of working together you should do to solidify your relationship involves all the things that come with a partnership: taking care of your children, picking up around the house, and paying the bills. If you don’t work as a team, and, as a result, one person ends up doing all of the work, your relationship itself will be work…lots and lots of work.
8. Be affectionate
It almost goes without saying that intimacy is part of a relationship; without it, one can argue that you’re masquerading as lovers, but acting like roommates. Yet, intimacy isn’t limited to kisses goodbye, hugs for no reason, and walking hand in hand. A little affection has the power to speak volumes, going much farther than you might think.
9. Let things go
Most people are wired to hold grudges and bring up the past, but not letting go of the past often prevents couples from moving forward.
This isn’t to say that you should forget every way your other half has ever wronged you, but repeatedly bringing up how — 6 years ago — your spouse made hurtful comments about your grandmother’s unibrow isn’t going to be particularly helpful to any conversation.
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Michael Griswold is a relationship and life coach who uses his expertise to help men and women heal broken hearts and find love again.