When it comes to discussing healthy relationships, many articles focus on “what not to do” in a relationship. Since Valentine’s Day is a time when we celebrate the positive aspects of love, we decided to highlight “what to do” to keep the connection, and lightness alive in your relationship.
The couple that laughs together stays together
There is a time and a place for serious conversations, but if you can implement humour on a regular basis, this can be very therapeutic for you and your relationship. Watching a funny movie together or laughing together at a funny experience releases endorphins, which are the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. This creates happy moments that your brain can associate to your relationship. Inside jokes can increase bonding between you and your partner, because it implies that you share something fun and secretive, that no one else is privy to. Taking things to a more serious note, the entrance of humour into a particularly difficult conversation can also be the difference of holding on to something, and learning when to let it go. We can all benefit from taking things a little less seriously.
Birds of a Similar Feather, Flock Together
You have probably heard the saying “opposites attract,” but too much opposition creates a divide in a relationship. If there is something that you and your partner genuinely enjoy, it can be something you look forward to doing together. Shared experiences are crucial in creating a solid foundation. With adult life being so busy, our responsibilities get in the way of sharing time with our partners. It is essential to carve out time to experience the things you enjoy most with your loved one. Furthermore, our interests speak to our character and our personalities, which is an important indicator of whether or not you and your partner will be compatible.
Individuation – Be Yourself
While it is important to share common interests, it is also very important to be your own person, with your own activities, and experiences. Someone with a strong sense of self is often happier in a relationship, because they are comfortable with themselves and at the same time can appreciate the uniqueness of their partner. Taking time out of the relationship to do something “just for you” maintains your independence, and allows you to appreciate the time you have together. While it is beneficial to have shared networks, it is also nice to have your own personal relationships.
It is generally more common to think about the things we love, however, we do not always express our feelings. Showing affection involves sharing thoughts, sharing the things that you are grateful for, and acknowledging what your partner brings to the relationship. Physical touch can also be a way to express your affection. When was the last time you hugged your partner when you got home? When was the last time you sat on the same couch to watch a movie? Life moves quickly, and it is easy to take these opportunities for granted. Physical touch fosters connectivity, and builds intimacy. Expressing affection, whether it is with words, or with touch, allows us to be vulnerable, which facilitates openness in a relationship.
Be Your Partner’s Cheerleader!
Consider your relationship as a team. In order to have a cohesive, and successful team, you need to have each other’s backs. Celebrate your partner’s wins, and support your partner during losses. Acknowledge each other’s strengths. This can be as simple as taking the time to listen to the events of their day, or as elaborate as setting up a party to congratulate them after a promotion at work. Taking time to “cheer on” your partner helps to strengthen the bond, and if the bond is strong, the relationship has a better chance of longevity.
Written by: Laura Politi & Larena Dowsett-Cooper