How To Have A More Meaningful Relationship, According To Experts
Nowadays it's fairly easy to find someone to go on a date with (thanks, dating apps). But it's a little more of a quest to find someone you can actually connect with on a deeper level. While casual relationships aren't bad for a number of reasons, nothing beats the type of fulfillment you can get from being in a meaningful relationship.
Creating shared meaning is actually one of the cornerstones of healthy relationships, according to research conducted by The Gottman Institute. "Basically, a meaningful relationship is any relationship we add meaning to," Maggie Reyes, Life Coach and Marriage Mentor from Modern Married, tells Bustle.
According to Reyes, meaningful relationships can look very different for each person. But typically it involves having everything from a shared ritual (i.e. going to your favorite brunch place on Sundays) to sharing inside jokes. "Any ritual or repeated process we add to a relationship adds meaning and value to it," Reyes says. "I always recommend simple rituals like “The Daily Check In” where you share information and experiences about your life on a daily basis to create that sense of meaning and connection daily."
So if you're in a relationship and want to deepen your bond or make it much more meaningful, here are some ways to do that according to experts.
1. Create New Rituals To Feel More Connected
"One way to make your relationship more meaningful is to look for and notice the meaning that is already there," Reyes says. That means, the memories you have already made and the little things you do together that are unique to you.
"Look for a fun way to create a new ritual or habit that makes you both feel connected," she says. "It can be as simple as a kiss every time you say hello or goodbye or as intricate as recreating your first date on your anniversary."
2. Figure Out Your Partner's Love Language
"Meaning comes to people in different ways but it always comes with feeling more loved," Steve Burford, Founder of the University of Love & Sexuality and Raw Attraction Magazine tells Bustle. "We all have our set love language and speak to your partner in their language. This could be touch, this could be quality time, if could be gifts, words of affirmation, or it could be acts of service. The reason why this is meaningful is because you are giving your thought and attention to your partner, this makes a relationship more loving and therefore more meaningful. The two are so strongly linked."
3. Bring More Meaning Into Your Own Life
"The only way to make your relationship more meaningful is to bring more meaning into your own life," Richard Matzkin, author of the award winning book, Loving Promises: The Master Class For Creating Magnificent Relationship tells Bustle. "Cultivate and practice integrity, kindness, compassion, sensitivity, curiosity, and passion. These qualities will be integrated into your relationship. They will provide a fulfilling life for you, you will be a model for your partner and your joy will serve as a catalyst to uplift and inspire them."
4. Give Each Other Quality, Undivided Attention
"We are emotional beings and we want to be a priority and to be loved unconditionally, so this requires both parties to be fully present and in deep emotional engagement with one another to tune into the frequency of real love and companionship," Jennie Lynn, Relationship Expert, and bestselling author of Magnetic Love: Stop Chasing What You Want, Start Attracting It tells Bustle. "In this day and age where we are buried in countless distractions, so many people grow apart and out of the tradition of dating and keeping the flame alive, so anything that can help to keep desire and passion going is best!"
5. Be Present And Empathetic
"So often I hear couples talk at each other instead of to each other," The Relationship Coach, Laney Zukerman, tells Bustle. "Don’t let that be you. Be mindful of really listening when your partner speaks. It creates a tighter bond when we feel heard and understood."
6. Love Yourself First
"Picture for a moment a cold, gray heart covered with armor," licensed professional counselor, Adina Silvestri EdD, LPC tells Bustle. "To me this image depicts inauthentic or fear-based living and the opposite of living a whole-hearted life. Having a loving relationship with oneself can only lead to healthier, more authentic relationships with others. Be Brave!"
According to Reyes, one of the biggest struggles we face is "instant results and endless options." If things aren't picture perfect with our current partner, you can easily find someone else. Unfortunately, that hinders the opportunity to really form deep, meaningful connections.
The bottom line is, meaningful relationships take time. If your partner isn't opening up to you right away, give them time to get there. At the same time, keep loving yourself and being happy so you're always open to receiving whatever your partner is willing to give you. With a little bit of work and some patience, you'll be able to form that deep meaningful relationship with your partner that will help your relationship last.