Ten Ways to Improve Your Relationship
1. Get out of that boring routine!
The first way to improve a relationship is to go do something outside the norm. Perhaps part of why the relationship has become so tense is because you or your partner (or both) are bored. Going out on a camping trip for the weekend or taking an hours long drive somewhere new are two easy ways to get out of the house and do something fun together. Even if it doesn't turn out the way you want it to, there's always a great chance that you will come home with a story and an experience you both share that will help bring you closer together. An example of this can be found in my hub linked to the right.
If you don't have the time to go out on a drive far away or camp for the weekend, just taking him/her out to dinner somewhere new can work too. It's best when the restaurant is interesting, perhaps with a theme or a dish that makes it unique. That way, your partner can go back to work with a story to brag to their friends about how awesome you are with a story about their experience there with you.
2. Surprise your partner
Maybe you can't think of a new restaurant to go to or any other type place to explore. There are more options to help fix that. One would be to surprise your partner with something. Could be as simple as flowers or perhaps that new book they've been wanting to buy that just got released. The other day, I had a horrible day at work and felt really down and ready for the day to just end. My boyfriend showed up with two roses and it turned my frown completely upside down and made me feel grateful to have someone who cared so much.
3. Open up
Most of what I've learned to help improve a relationship has come from some pretty rocky times in my own. One of the most important things we both learned is that just opening up is the best way to relieve that tension and bring you closer. If your partner does something annoying like talk with food in their mouth or spend too much time with video games and not with you, tell them! That's the only way issues can be remedied and compromises can be made.
If you're afraid of an argument, do something for them before revealing your issues and what you want them to change. For example, clean the kitchen, then let them know that you hate that they don't empty the garbage enough.
Still, opening up isn't just about being more vocal about complaints. Let them know how much you love them in any way you can just to remind them since maybe they've lost that thought amidst their own discontent.
For my boyfriend's thirtieth birthday--which he dreaded and absolutely did not want to talk about or celebrate--I wrote him a note on the computer where I listed the thirty reasons why I love him, just so he'd have some way to love the number thirty for his birthday. Simple things like that are easy and help remind and reassure your partner that whatever flaws they may have or think they have, they are still perfect in your eyes.
4. Forgive their mistakes
If there has been something that you or your partner has done that has caused the relationship to need some fixing then it's time to not only open up but also to forgive. Perhaps they don't let you go out all that often or maybe they cheated. There's always a way to find compromise and there's always a way to get past the worst if you really love them. Doing any of the above suggestions helps with this.
Most of the time, you just have to let things go. Your partner may do things that upset you but most of the time it's out of love. Not letting you go out sometimes may mean that they just need you there for support for something they may not have told you about. Or perhaps their self esteem just isn't high enough to let you go out without them by your side. Consider their side of the argument and perhaps you can forgive them for whatever is causing strain or anger in the relationship.
5. Be flexible
Relationships change as time goes on. You get closer but you also have to work at different levels to keep things going smoothly. Remember when you and your partner first got together? You couldn't get your hands off each other and spent most if not all of your free time with them. A year or two later, you need your space and you can't stand that sometimes you just aren't able to do what you want, when you want, or even go places by yourself.
Just learn that most of the time you have to change your level of work put into the relationship as problems arise and as things get more serious between you two. Be flexible enough for this and for the compromises ahead because they will always come up with every issue.
6. You can't change people, only yourself
This is tied to the point above, but really it's important to remember that whatever changes you may be willing to make, your partner may not be. You cannot expect someone to change for your own benefit, especially if you are unwilling to change your self. Most heated arguments are caused by this issue as one partner wants something from the other that their partner is unwilling or unable to give.
Just remember, the person you loved was their own person once. Making them change can cause resentment. You should love them for who they are since obviously you cared for them enough to get into the relationship in the first place.
7. Take responsibility
This is tied to the above suggestion, as well as number four. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions. If you did wrong, admit to it immediately instead of letting things get worse with time. If something is really bothering you that your partner does not realize, step up to the plate and let them know.
For some reason, when something is wrong, it can seem like the most difficult thing to go up to your loved one and let them know about your own wrongdoing, voice a concern, or question them about something. Just remember, they are the one that you love and in return they love you just as much. Whatever you say can bring potential heartache or even end the relationship but letting things simmer until they finally boil over is much worse then just laying it out on the table right away.
You are both responsible for the well being of the relationship so it is important to take that responsibility and do whatever you can to make it work.
8. Do something for them
This is tied to the first two points but it's intended to be broader than just bringing home flowers or taking them out on a road trip. My boyfriend loves Battlestar Galactica so when I heard that they were having a display in EMP in Seattle I made a point to have him set aside time so we could go check out the exhibit. I was bored out of my mind but instead of focusing on the fact we were somewhere I wasn't as interested in I just watched his face glow with happiness as he roamed through the items on display and watched the videos.
Doing something for your partner that you don't personally like to do sometimes has it's benefits. Months before going to the EMP, my boyfriend went with me to an event where book making artists displayed their work at a bookstore in Tacoma. He was bored but then he loved it because it was something that I was excited about and thoroughly enjoyed. In the end, we both got do do something we enjoyed, even if the other one could care less and we were both happier because of it. You can't expect things for yourself when you do not give anything in the first place.
9. Keep relationships with friends and family alive too
If you feel isolated from friends and/or family then there's a serious problem in the relationship that needs to be fixed. You or your partner should never feel like they don't have anyone outside of your relationship to spend time with. This can make them resentful and cause tension as dependence on the other person in the relationship gets to a point that becomes too much to handle.
Allow yourself and your partner some time apart with friends or family. Sometimes even taking a couple days off from each other to visit a friend helps as it gives you two some breathing room that may help you realize just how much you appreciate about them everyday. I know when I'm away I miss that big hug and kiss every morning.
10. Stop being so serious
The best way to keep close or to improve your relationship is to just stop being so serious. Laugh a little and joke around with each other. Allowing yourself to relax a bit is the best medicine. Every time you fall, there's always a way to get back up again and improve your relationship. If you really care about each other, you can make it work, so just relax and do what you can without overworking yourself.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Lisa