When you’re trying to improve your relationship with your partner, it’s easy to focus on the negative stuff. There are problems that need to be addressed, and your attention naturally goes there.
But . . . if you are always focused on the problems, chances are you may be increasing the divide between you. There has to be an equal, if not greater emphasis, on what’s right!
Sometimes just working on the connection helps to resolve the problems, and absolutely, it makes it much easier to successfully address them.
Here’s 10 things you can do to increase the connection between you and your partner without focusing on problems. Try them and see if you don’t begin to feel closer.
#1 Engage him in conversation about something in which he has a strong interest.
Bring up a topic you know interests him, and as he talks, share his excitement and pleasure. Ask questions. Be attentive. Try to understand his thoughts and feelings, and share in his enthusiasm. Stay engaged.
Connecting through sharing and conversing is a foundational part of any intimate relationship. Nurture and grow it.
Remember that he is your best friend. Deepen the friendship by making easy conversation a regular part of each day.
#2 When you greet each other after being away, show pleasure in reconnecting.
When your wife comes in from work at the end of the day, make real eye contact, smile, and be happy to see her. If she needs some down time, give it to her, but make sure to connect and find out how she is when she’s ready.
It’s very easy to get caught up in what we’re doing and take each other for granted.
Everyone needs to know they are wanted, loved, and cherished. Showing pleasure at seeing your partner is an easy way to remind her of it.
#3 Verbalize appreciation for anything he does that you find helpful or admirable.
Be specific. Focus on the behavior or action and describe in some detail what you like or have noticed. Offer thanks, and talk about how it affects or helps you. Be authentic.
In short, catch him “doing good.”
#4 Ask her what makes her feel loved, and do those things more.
If you’ve never heard of the “love languages,” take a look at The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. It’s an easy book to read and many couples enjoy reading it together. It includes a self-test that you both can take to help you identify your own love language. It’s a great way for couples to learn and talk about how they can help each other feel more loved.
#5 Take time to ask how he feels about his life.
What does he hope for? Wish for? Where does he see himself down the road? What are his dreams?
These kinds of conversations take each of you out of the daily routine. They help you connect around the big picture, and think about where you want to go both as individuals and together.
You may also find out things you didn’t know such as secret disappointments or wishes that haven’t been fulfilled. This may lead to new directions or actions that will leave both of you happier and energized.
#6 Check in at least once a day emotionally.
“How are you feeling today?” Take time to listen and be empathetic. Let her know that her happiness is important to you. Don’t try to fix it, just listen and show interest.
Many couples go through their days without connecting on an emotional level. Over time, this creates distance, and distance often results in bickering or negativity.
Taking the time to really connect daily through empathy and interest prevents the build-up of distance and resentment.
It makes solving problems a lot easier.
#7 Be on the same side.
This is really an important one.
Ditch the competition. There is no place for one-upping in an intimate relationship!
Be happy for each other when something goes well. Keep the attention on one of you at a time, without competing stories.
When he comes in and tells you he’s had a rough day at the office, don’t cut him off with “Well, let me tell you about my day! It was a disaster!!”
Take turns without interrupting or cutting each other short.
#8 Make sure you stay connected when you are around others.
Sometimes couples feel connected when alone, but are unable to keep that connection when around other people.
If you find this to be true for you, then talk about what you can do to maintain that connection in those situations.
Sometimes it’s simply making regular eye contact across the room, or making sure you direct your conversation at your partner while also talking to others, or staying close to each other until you both are comfortable in a new situation.
Ask each other what you need in those situations, and then do it. Make your relationship the primary one.
#9 Ask yourself at least once a week, if not more often, what you love about him.
- What drew you to him in the first place?
- What are your favorite things about him?
- List the positives of the relationship either in your mind or on paper.
- Read and remember them, especially when things are not going well.
#10 Do something out of the ordinary.
- Make her cup of coffee in the morning and bring it to her.
- Leave notes or send texts to let her know you’re thinking about her.
- Offer to pick up dinner on the way home.
Use your knowledge of what you know she would like and do that. Those small actions go a long way to create good feelings, and appreciation for each other.
Your turn! Let me know things you have discovered that help you stay connected to your partner. I’m sure there are many more than those I’ve listed, and I’m interested to know what works for you!