What can you do to make your relationship better? Well, that depends on a lot of factors and since I don’t know you or know anything about your relationship, all I can do is offer you some general ideas to improve and make your relationship better.
There is no big secret to relationships, it just takes two people who are mature enough to find ways to work through their issues. The problems arise when one or both of the people in the relationship are unable to work out their issues in a constructive way.
Of course, if you’re not currently in a relationship use these points as a guide when you do meet someone. No one should try to hold out for someone who is perfect, no one is perfect. But what you should do is to realize that there are some traits that you just will not tolerate in a partner. If you see some of those signs you should end the relationship and move on.
Even though love is the foundation of any lasting and happy relationship, it is not always enough to make a relationship better. Both parties have to be willing to work on their relationship if it is to last. You will need to make sure you work on your relationship on a daily basis. Some people have had a relationship come to a premature end because both parties were not working hard to ensure the relationship lasts.
The only way you can have a lasting and happy relationship is if both of you work hard on it. This means that you will need to have some knowledge on how to improve and keep your relationship happy. Most people assume that as long as they are in love, their relationship is fine.
This works for a while, but when the sparks die off, it will be time to introduce other things to keep the relationship alive. The following are 22 ways to make your relationship better.
1. Appreciation and acceptance
David Richo in his book “How to Be an Adult In Relationships: The Five Keys To Mindful Loving explains that one of the keys to a mindful relationship is appreciation and acceptance. An expression in the book states that we are present with nature the way we are present non-intrusively, mindfully in a you-and-I relationship. We do not tell an elm tree it should be more like a birch tree. We face it with appreciation and no agenda.
2. Recognize ups and downs are present in every relationship
In the same way it impossible to be happy all the time, you should not expect your relationship to run smoothly always. When you make a commitment to someone, you should be ready for the good and the bad to make the relationship better. In fact, a healthy relationship is one that has occasional problems. These problems, when ironed out properly, will help the relationship become stronger.
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3. Use of ‘we’
In a research done by Robert Levenson and others from the University of California, Berkeley found that couples who use ‘we’ when conversing are calmer, happier and generally more satisfied with their relationships. Couples that do not use the word and instead have pronouns such as I, you and me are not as happy as those who use ‘we’.
This means that the word ‘we’ is a game changer in any relationship. It is because ‘we’set off a program of connectedness in the brain. The result is that we are in a collaborative mindset instead of a ‘you versus me’ mindset. A collaborative mindset makes people in a relationship more generous and loving, resulting in making the relationship better.
4. Use à gratitude plan
In most cases, a three-day gratitude plan has to be implemented. Having a gratitude attitude will ensure your love life is revitalized. There was a study done on 77 married monogamous and heterosexual couples. It showed that when gratitude was expressed, participants discovered that they felt more loving.
The same participants also reported they felt more proud, amused and peaceful. They said that they saw their partners as being more caring, validating, understanding and generally more responsive. This makes the relationship better.
It was more likely for them to report that spontaneously thanking a partner for something they had appreciated on any given day. Overall, they were more satisfied with the quality of their relationship. Getting a gratitude plan is not that easy. However, you can use a three-day gratitude plan that is illustrated below:
- Day 1: Look for three qualities that you love about your significant other and focus on them for the whole day.
- Day 2: identify three things about your partner that irritate you the most. Forgive them for these things.
- Day 3: For this day, make sure you strive to only use kind words irrespective of the situation.
Think of the three-day plan as a cleanser will make your relationship better.
5. Keep a 3:1 ratio
During the day, there is a variety of negative and positive experiences. The same case applies when it comes to a relationship with another person. The majority of individuals in a relationship are of the belief that as long as the positives outweigh the negatives, they are making their relationship better.
However, this is not entirely true. Make a list of the positives and negatives in your relationship. If the positives and negatives do not have a 3:1 ratio, or higher, find ways to improve the relationship. The ratio of positive to negative matters a lot in any relationship.
Studies have shown that the magical ration for a good relationship is at 3:1 or higher. This means that you need to have at least three times more positive experiences with your partner when compared to negative experiences. This is the only way you are guaranteed a healthy relationship.
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6. Ensure the novelty is alive
Really getting to know each other is one of the advantages of being in a relationship with an individual for a long time. The negative side of the statement is that the novelty wears off. Take note that human beings love novelty. This is key in making any relationship better.
This does not mean being in a long-term relationship will not have novelty and it is impossible to make the relationship better. There is a way you can ensure novelty is kept alive. One oven method is by ensuring you try new activities together. Such a move creates the uncertainty and excitement that comes from the unknown. It will work even if you are with a person who you know as well as the back of your hand.
Regardless of our age, we all like to play. In your relationship, you should do something ridiculous together, have fun together and just let go. Additionally, you should try to respond with a joke when your partner says something that irritates or bothers you. Avoid getting defensive when the statement is made as this will prevent you from making the relationship better.
Arthur Schopenhauer, a philosopher, made use of porcupines to explain a dilemma that is often found in relationships. When two porcupines are cold, they will move closer to each other in a bid to keep warm. However, when they are too close, they will prick each other. The same thing is seen in human relationships. As much as we want closeness, we also want space.
The key is determining the sweet spot at which we feel the warmth that is generated from being in a relationship to make the relationship better. At the same time, we should allow each partner to have their own space so that no one feels like they are being ‘pricked’ by the spines of the other. Being pricked in this case means feelings of being crowded, lost individuality and so forth.
9. Physical affection
Showing each other daily physical affection is a key to improving your relationship. Studies show that physical affection has a plethora of benefits. Some of these benefits include, but are not limited to, improving mood, helps to release stress, reduces blood pressure, releases feel-good hormones and is associated with higher relationship satisfaction.
Showing physical affection can be easy as putting a hand around your partner’s shoulder, giving back a scratch, hugging, holding hands and kissing, which makes the relationship better.
Author of ‘The Weekend Marriage’ and psychotherapist Mira Kirshenbaum explains that when your better half is upset due to something you have done, apply the AAA approach. The abbreviation stands for a promise of action, affection, and an apology. For elaboration:
- Promise to take action that will be meaningful to them
- Provide a meaningful gesture of warmth like a kiss or hug
- Tell them that you are sorry for disappointing or hurting them
11. Focus on the positive
Since 1986, Dr. Terri Orbuch has been conducting a study on what strengthens relationships and makes couples happy ultimately makes a relationship better. She recommends that couples should always focus on the positive. She further explains that happy couples are those who avoid focusing on what is going wrong but focus on what is going well in their relationship.
Additionally, if you find the need to call to attention a negative aspect, strive to do it in a positive way. For instance, you may find your partner is quite messy. If so, do not get mad at them. Instead, try saying something like ‘It stresses me when things are messy and I love coming home to clean house. Let us try to find a solution together.’
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12. Create a ritual
Authors of the book ‘The Seven Stages of Marriage’ Rita DeMaria and Sari Harrar recommend that you make a relationship better by creating rituals for both of you. For instance, every Friday night can be date night. Another option would be having your coffee or tea together every morning. Taking a few minutes to chat ever night before sleeping is another effective ritual.
13. Edit yourself
Ph.D. psychologist, author, and researcher, Dr. John Gottmanis is known for his work in relationship stability. He has authored a bestseller ‘The Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work.’ He says couples who are consistently happy are those that avoid saying anything critical that they have thought of when discussing touchy topics.
14. Being supportive
There are several ways to be supportive of your partner and make your relationship better including:
- Helping them when they need it. For instance, taking over house chores when your partner has to work late
- Providing information that they may need
- Giving praise and compliments
- Offer emotional support: listen to your partner when they need to talk and they are upset
15. Be vulnerable
Draing Greatly by Brene Brown states that vulnerability is the key to emotional intimacy. She adds that it is all about being honest with our feelings about what we need our fears and requesting what we need. It is allowing our partner to truly see us despite our shortcomings. This will make the relationship better.
16. Use actions to say ‘I love you’
Do little actions of kindness for your partner that lets them know you love them. Ideas to help you with this include:
- Get them a surprise gift when you go shopping
- Get up early and prepare breakfast before she wakes up
- Bring home take out form their favorite restaurant
- Warm her car during cold mornings
17. Fight fair
Most people assume the cause of a failed relationship is disagreements. However, disagreements are not the cause of failed relationships. In fact, how you deal with the disagreement will determine whether the relationship will survive or if you will make the relationship better. Any relationship will have a disagreement. Since they are going to occur, you should decide to go into it with a spirit of control, vengeance or getting even.
Alternatively, you can decide to go into it with a spirit of looking for a solution. The former will strain and even destroy your relationship. The latter will help your relationship become better. When a relationship is a competition, it means one of you has to win and the other has to lose. A relationship is a partnership and not a competition. One can make a relationship better by always remembering this.
Some tips for fighting fair include:
- Determine how you are going to solve the issue peacefully
- Be ready to compromise
- Set a time limit
- Try active listening. This is where you paraphrase to make sure you have understood what your partner said and request for clarifications should there be something you are not sure about
- Avoid character assassination
- Have boundaries around the discussion to avoid arguing about all negative things that happened in the past
- Understand what you are striving to achieve
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18. Create goals as a couple
Be a team that is willing to achieve a set of goals. The goals should be previously discussed before coming to a decision as it makes the relationship better. Since you may have different goals in mind, it is best to sit down and discuss them. You may find you have easily come up with a set of goals that will be mutually beneficial. When you set goals as one, you will:
- Celebrate together every time to have achieved a milestone
- Find that your win is also your partner’s win
- Be moving in the same direction
Studies and research have shown that one of the most crucial components of happiness and making a relationship better is ensuring you achieve goals that you take to be meaningful. In turn, one of the aspects of a happy relationship is having several goals that you strive to achieve together.
19. Do not tolerate dishonesty either in your current relationship or with someone you meet.
There is no excuse for someone to lie. If you are with someone who lies to you all the time, or you meet someone and you find that they lie all the time you have to ask yourself why in the world would you consider starting or continuing a relationship with someone like that? It just does not make any sense.
20. Do you and your partner have difficulty talking over the issues that come up in your relationship?
The longer the two of you are together the more difficulties you will face. If you are with someone who isn’t going to have your back, I have to ask again: why would you stay with them? It just does not make any sense.
21. Do you know how to let your partner know how you are feeling in a good way (which means you don’t scream, cry or act like you’re 12)?
If not take some time to learn how. Does your partner know how to express their feelings in a good way? If not, do you think they would be willing to learn? If they aren’t, you may want to move on because things will never get easier.
22. Do you and your partner have good problem-solving skills?
Knowing how to deal with problems is a great skill to have in all aspects of life, not just relationships. If you are a good problem solver but your partner is not, it will only cause friction since you will have to carry much more of the load. This skill can be taught so if either of you are not good at problem-solving you may be able to get some help… if you’re both willing to invest the time.
It frustrates me so much when I hear my friends talk about the issues in their relationships. They want to know what the secret to relationships is but when you try to point out that the guy they are with isn’t a nice guy and that maybe they should move on, they ignore you or get mad. Find the ‘right one’ and not the one that’s ‘right here’.
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Your life together will be much happier and easier once you observe the tips in this post, 22 Ways To Make Your Relationship Better. These four tips will help you to cultivate a better relationship with your loved one.
A good relationship does not just happen. You will have to work hard to ensure you have a thriving relationship with your significant other. To strengthen your relationship, use all the tips above. They will assist you to make your relationship better and long lasting. After all, a healthy relationship is one of the major components required if you are to live a happy life.
Here to a happy relationship. Dave
is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author.
Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.