Relationships are hard work or so we have been told. But I highly believe that like anything else in life relationships become hard because we don’t take time to really figure them out; what you don’t know will always scare you. How do you figure things out? Invest in your relationship; give it time, care and devotion. While it sounds like a noble idea, the concept of investing in your relationship can seem so far away for many couples, particularly during the first few months of a new year. As you’re trying to balance, work, family and a social life, it’s hard to figure out how to find the time or energy to “invest” in one more thing. Investing in a relationship means doing small things deliberately that will ultimately have a huge impact. Whether you’ve been together for five days or married for 50 years, here are five things you can adapt to start making a difference in your relationship.
Get Your Alone Time
It’s a new year and we are all roaring to have a go at our goals which means that life will get really busy really fast. Usually the last thing we think of allotting time is each other. With our overcrowded schedules, we lose sight of the fact that God wants us to enjoy one another and the life He’s given us. Invest in your marriage by setting aside the time to go out at least once a week and do something fun. Rekindle your love for one another by rekindling your friendship.
Make Physical Contact As Often As Possible
Remember when you couldn’t take your hand off each other? Remember how fun and exciting it was? You can still get that excitement back by making a deliberate effort to initiate physical contact with your partner as often as possible. Hold each other’s hands, snuggle on the couch, and throw your arms around each other’s shoulders for no reason other than that you love each other. Physical touch conveys to your spouse that you notice them, desire them and I want to be near them.
A couple that prays together, stays together. And God gives us an opportunity to connect, not only with one another, but with him. Often, believing couples tend to take their spiritual connection for granted, forgetting that some of the most intimate moments are when we’re sharing our hearts, communicating what’s in our spirit and talking about our relationship with God.
Open, honest communication should be part of every healthy relationship. A couple that communicates effectively is one that does it on all lever; the superficial level, followed by opinions and ideas, followed by the deepest level of sharing our feelings and emotions with one another. The truth is, each level of conversation is important, and has to be deliberately worked into conversation. If you want to do something small that will have a big impact on your relationship, set aside 10-20 minutes a day sitting face to face with your partner for the sole purpose of communicating. Don’t let this be the time to discuss conflict or problems, but just a time to catch up and keep up with one another. Consider asking open-ended questions like: “What was the best part of your day today?” or “What’s something I can do to help you out this week?” The goal of this time is to enjoy each other and encourage one another.
Relationships often suffer because people get so caught up in their own experience that they simply can’t relate to what someone else is going through. They assert their opinions and hand out advice – all the while not truly appreciating the other person’s struggles. You can increase your emotional connection to someone by taking their perspective, labeling their feelings, and then being open to how those cognitive exercises make you feel. Then, as you look at the other person, allow yourself to truly shift your awareness to their experience, away from your thinking about them. Pay attention to how you feel in your body, and note the emotions that arise. Then, when you think you are sharing their experience, you can check in with them about whether your experience is really matching theirs. If the feedback is not a resounding yes, ask for clarification so that you can realign yourself with their experience.