Without even realizing it, our relationship with our partner can get a little, well, tired, and in need of a “face lift”, or maybe an injection or two of botox. Has your overall relationship (not just your sex life) lost its allure and become flat? Just like our face, make-up, clothes, and hair, our relationship needs a make-over every now and again to keep it feeling vibrant, energized and sizzling!
Following are three simple ways to Make-Over Your Relationship:
1. Laugh – like you use to in the early days of your relationship. Resurrect your ability to laugh, both at each other and with each other. Yes, you read that correctly. Couples in long-term relationships must be able to laugh at each other. Keeping our sense of humor allows us to laugh at ourselves and our partner in a healthy, constructive way. Laughter releases tension and stress (a scientific fact). Any one in a long-term relationship doesn’t need me to tell them how stress, both internally and externally generated, can negatively impact their relationship. The outside world comes inside our home after every work day, so the ability to laugh at the insanity around us can literally be a life-saver and a relationship saver.
Part of keeping your sense of humor is the ability to lovingly make fun of each other. I am not suggesting you poke fun at your partner in a mean-spirited way; rather I am suggesting you tease each other in a playful way. Remember those early days in your relationship when you had those cute little nicknames for each other that were based on some less than desirable physical or personality trait? The other day my husband picked me up at the airport and called a friend and said: “The sparrow has landed”. This was a goof on the statement: “The eagle has landed” and my husband was making fun of my tiny size. He was teasing me in a light-hearted way and it was just what I needed after a long business trip!
Our relationships and the world at large really need all the love that humor and laughter bring to it. Laughter has a way of defusing the negative energy around us, while simultaneously opening up our hearts and minds to the goodness of everyone around us including our partner.
2. Celebrate the good moments! Since day to day living is filled with routine and monotony (if we are honest with each other), when something good happens to you or your partner, or something or someone you care about, bring on the party!! And these good things do not have to be life-altering; in fact, it is important to celebrate life’s minor victories since they come along more often than the major ones!
React to your partner’s success with enthusiasm by asking them to tell you as much detail as possible about their successful moments. Research shows that couples who celebrate each other’s victories, and who cheer for each other, are happier and more satisfied with their relationships than couples who don’t. This includes giving compliments and asking about each other’s goals and achievements.
Capitalize on each other’s successes and celebrate these moments. Couples who celebrate the positive events which occur in each other’s lives are happier than couples who commiserate with each other about how life has short-changed them.
3. Notice the changes in your partner. As with all things we are familiar with, we tend to not notice changes in our partner. For example, maybe you wrote a note and placed it on the refrigerator to remind you of something, at first it worked as a reminder, but after time it was so familiar you stopped noticing it and it no longer served as the reminder. This happens in long-term relationships. We get so familiar in our relationship we forget to take the time to notice subtle differences in our partner.
Taking the time to notice changes increases your emotional engagement in your partner because you are actively re-engaging with them. Start today by slowing down and really looking at your partner and listening to them. Take the time to notice three new things about your partner. They can be simple things, like a new shirt or hairstyle, or dramatic things like a shift in mindset you have not taken the time to notice.
Once you have actively re-engaged in your partner you might be pleasantly surprised to see what you are noticing in them for the first time after all these years.
With just a little bit of effort, these three relationship make-over tips will bring new life to a tired, dull relationship. Take responsibility for putting the laughter back into your relationship. The reward for this is enormous. Life can be trying, but we have day-to-day victories that belong to us, or our partner, that we ignore. “Carpet Diem”, as they say in Latin, “Seize the Day”, and celebrate small victories as well as the large on. This will make your life and relationship a cause to celebrate. Finally, try not to take each other for granted. Our relationship evolves and grows as we evolve and grow individually. Make sure you are not blinded to the growth and changes in your partner by taking the time to notice and actively re-engage!
Rekindle Romance and Happiness in Your Relationship,
Dr. Patty Ann