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Are you having trouble nurturing your relationship with your partner and making it grow? There are a lot of things that can get in your way. Maybe you have a growing career that’s putting more and more pressure and responsibility on your shoulders, maybe you have kids who constantly need your attention and care, or maybe your to-do list in general just keeps getting longer. With all these things going on in our lives, sometimes partnerships and marriages may take a back seat.
When your life has you constantly rushing around, is there any way to return to those peaceful, intimate moments of companionship you and your partner used to enjoy? We believe there is.
The four tips in this article can put you on the road to improving your romance and strengthening your relationship, whether you’ve been dating for a few months or married for 20 years.
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1. Make An Effort To Show Your Fondness And Admiration
This may sound obvious, but one of the most crucial ingredients in a strong bond is admiration. Even expressing your appreciation for things that don’t seem like a big deal, like a new haircut, a delicious meal, a considerate gesture, or a small victory in parenting, can have a powerful impact on your relationship. Those little moments are the stuff that real memories are made of.
Make your relationship a realm in which you and your partner exchange compliments often, and demonstrate how much you admire each other. This is a great way to create a generous, positive relationship.
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2. Know What’s Happening In Your Partner’s World
To have a strong bond, both partners in a relationship must be aware of what’s going on in the other’s life. They each must understand the challenges the other faces, so that they can celebrate their partner’s victories and help them through their defeats.
Couples that are struggling in their relationships often only have a high-level view of the everyday world their partner experiences, like a topographical map. Couples with strong relationships, on the other hand, are familiar with the details of their partner’s day-to-day challenges – like having a street-level view of their partner’s life.
Compassion, shared joy, and genuine interest can help you go from an aerial view to a street-level view. Partners can strengthen their relationships by remembering details about each other’s lives, asking questions, and making an effort to understand each other’s different worlds.
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3. Notice And Accept “Bids For Connection”
A “bid for connection” is when one partner attempts to engage the other in conversation, for example, by initiating a discussion or asking a question.
Once, there was a study focusing on how couples talked to each other during dinner. The scientists conducting the study counted how many bids for connection were offered, and how many were accepted (the other partner answered the question, or continued the discussion) and rejected. They discovered that, in the couples with strong relationships, the bids for connection made during their conversations had an acceptance rate of around 86%, on average. On the other hand, couples who divorced down the road demonstrated an acceptance rate of only 33%.
We’ve all had those days when we’ve come home to our partner and only half-listened to what they were saying to us – or worse, we’ve come home, snapped at them, and then refused to speak to them for the rest of the evening.
The more bids for connection you accept, the stronger your relationship will become.
4. Make Time For Meaningful Communication
In addition to getting into the habit described above, you and your partner should also have a particular time each day set aside to just talk to each other, and listen to each other. You don’t have to solve any problems during that time, nor do you have to talk about anything tremendously important – all you have to do is really listen to each other. This time should be dedicated to communicating and being heard.
When you’re the listener, give your partner your undivided attention and be supportive. When it’s your turn to speak, talk about anything that’s on your mind, openly and without trying to advance an agenda.
Traditional romantic gestures, like boxes of candy, roses, and surprise vacations, won’t keep a relationship strong all by themselves. They are not a substitute for real intimacy. To have a healthy relationship, you must nurture it by giving it your attention every day. If you do, then the big, splashy romantic gestures will enhance your relationship, and can end up as your most treasured memories.
To sum up, what we’ve learned is that the little things, done often, are what make a strong relationship.
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