Falling in love is non-stop excitement, romance, and quite honestly fun. Being able to improve your relationship instantly or as quickly as possible, however... now that is where it gets tricky, complicated, and stressful. There is so much that comes into play when you try to meld your own life with someone else's, from feelings to wants to needs and even past heartaches. It's impossible to get everything right when it comes to love, but just because it involves a lot of work and maintenance doesn't mean it can't be both thrilling and rewarding.
I've spent the last year in a long-distance relationship between two different countries, which takes the usual trials and tribulations of love to the next level — since you experience most of them of Skype. While the foundation of any solid relationship, near or far, is usually very consistent — love, trust, respect, and honesty to name a few — there are plenty of small things day-to-day things you can do to improve your relationship. If you can do something that you know will brighten your partner's life and it takes you little effort, why wouldn't you? Many people are suckers for flowers while others crave an extra hour in bed together. Get to know your partner's wants and needs as well as you know your own, and you'll be able to gauge exactly what little things will make their day. I've learned to make the hours seriously count when I do get to see my partner, so we try to do as much to make each other happy in as little time as possible.
Check out these five things you can do to boost your relationship in under five minutes. You'll be glad you used your time so wisely.
1. Pretend The Power Went Out
Shut off the TV, dim the lights, light some candles and enjoy spending some time like you're in a cabin in the middle of the woods — even if you're in an apartment with sirens going off all around you. It becomes second nature to look at your phone any spare moment you have when you're with your partner or fall into the routine of putting Netflix on before bed. However, technology could be hurting your relationship more than you think. According to CNN, researchers from the University of Essex found that "people who engaged in personal discussions when a cell phone was nearby — even if neither was actually using — reported lower relationship quality and less trust for their partner.
Take a few minutes without the glow of a screen, and you'll be reminded of how easy it is to enjoy each other and get deeply lost in conversation. Siri can't even do that.
2. Try To Write Your Love Down In Words
It can be downright terrifying to write a love letter, especially when expectations are high, but think of how happy it would make you to see your partner's attempt to make sense of their love for you — knowing it would only graze the surface. You have the ability to do that for them, and you should. Plus, this little act of kindness could have more benefits than just improving your relationship. According to BBC, researchers at the University of British Columbia found that writing love letters may actually improve mental health.
Even if you can only have the time to write a short note of something sweet, the kind words could make a huge difference.
3. Be Blunt About What Has Hurt You In The Past
You don't need to be specific. You don't need to share all the details. But if you let your current love in on the intricacies of your last heartbreak, it might help them understand how to care for your heart in the right way. There's no way they can know where your jealousy comes from if you don't share that you've been cheated on. They can't fully know how to keep your heart from breaking if you don't tell them what it has already healed from.
Dr. Robert Leahy wrote an article for Psychology Today, highlighting his findings about effectively dealing with jealousy in his study, which was published in the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. According to Leahy, it's important to "examine your assumptions about relationships" when you are feeling jealous. This includes thinking about past struggles.
Take a few minutes to talk to your partner about what is bothering you and you'll be surprised how much better you feel about everything. A simple, "Hey, this situation happened to me in the past, and that's why I'm having a hard time right now" is sometimes all the moment requires to help you both feel better.
4. Recall Your First Date
If you've been dating for quite a while, it can be fun to relive your first date. Even just to think about who you were then, what you dressed like, and how you behaved around each other can be a sweet memory — especially if you've fallen into a relationship routine and have become so comfortable you've forgotten what those butterflies feel like. Sometimes just reminiscing with your partner about what your love was like when it was new, can be exactly the reminder you need to get those feelings back (except stronger this time around!).
According to Psychology Today, Psychologist Barbara Markway suggests asking some of the following questions if you feel your relationship is in a bit of a rut: How did you meet? What first attracted you to your partner? What did you do on your first date? Asking these questions makes it harder to forget the strengths of your relationship, according to Markway.
"It’s easy to forget how hard you worked to build your relationship in the first place. It may seem like it happened magically, but it didn’t: You created the magic, detail by detail. You formed the special bond by paying attention to each other with the intense focus that characterizes falling in love," Markway said.
5. When In Doubt, Make Out
When is the last time you just made out for fun? In the back of a car, on the couch, in a park — where you knew making out was the only thing on the menu? Lock lips with your lover when they least expect it, and fall in love again with how fun it is to just kiss, even for a few minutes. Not only is it just plain fun to kiss, but there are also a number of mental and physical benefits to a makeout sesh. According to CNN, kissing can help fight plaque, burn calories, boost self-esteem, and increase hormones like dopamine, which make you extra happy — all good things, right?
Even if your relationship isn't in a huge rut, trying one of these tips and tricks could only help things between you and your partner. It's only five minutes out of your day, after all.
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