A fight, a disappointment, a Miscommunication. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently? What could we have done differently? What can we learn from this? Then talk to your partner about it, starting with what you could have done differently.
All relationships need a little pick-me-up sometimes— These actions will make your partner feel loved, appreciated and desired, and will, in turn, make you feel more connected to him/her. Whether you’d like to increase intimacy, find a thoughtful way to say “I love you,” or just show your honey some gratitude, we’re sure you’ll find something useful in the list below.
And since the world (and our site!) is full of loving, creative souls, we hope you’ll share with us, in the comments section below, the special ways you share love and strengthen your bond with your significant other. We hope you’ll bookmark this page and refer back to it whenever you need relationship inspiration. Read the whole list, or skip to your favorite category from the list below.
1. Lie down on the bed and spend two minutes looking into each other’s eyes without saying anything. (Blinking is OK.)
2. Next time you’re in bed pull the covers over your head and have a whispered conversation. If you whisper first he’ll probably whisper back—it’s incredibly intimate.
3. Listen to each other. Think you already do that? Try active listening. Ask your partner to talk about something, and after each sentence (or paragraph) repeat what you heard. Start with, “I heard…” You don’t have to repeat back the words verbatim, just say what you think she said. If you misinterpret or leave out anything, your partner will correct you. Take turns doing this. It’s great for intense discussions, arguments, or just a weekly ritual to improve communication. How To Communicate Effectively
4. Pray together. If you’re comfortable talking about it, discuss what you pray about.
5. Do the wonder intimacy exercise. (From The Marriage First Aid Kit.) Free associate and list sentences starting with “I wonder” on a piece of paper. (I wonder if I’ll ever learn to cook. I wonder if I’ll ever cook for you. I wonder if I could love you more than I do.) Take turns reading your wonders to your partner, without judging, commenting or analyzing. This may feel silly at first, but just try it and see what happens.
6. Do the nostalgic memory exercise. (From The Marriage First Aid Kit.) Pick a shared memory from “the honeymoon period” of your relationship. Discuss the memory and take turns talking about a) sensory memories (sights, sounds, smells) b) what you were thinking and c) what you were feeling.
7. Set time aside every day for mutual silence.
8. Pet Names. Sure, you can call each other baby, boo, or schmoopy, but coming up with a nickname only you two get is cute and provides a little laugh. Studies have shown that nicknames are a sign of a strong relationship. Others might not think “Bomboushay Yaya” is endearing, but if it means something to you then that’s all that matters.
9. Say something positive—anything at all. Researchers have found that happy couples have a ratio of five positive comments to each negative comment.
10. Think of one quirky thing she does that you love and tell her about it.
11. Ask him what he was like when he was a little kid.
12. Tell him he looks sexy in that shirt (pants, shorts, insert the appropriate item of clothing).
13. Compliment something that he’s improved upon.
14. Tell him he makes you a better person, and then tell him how.
15. If you’re feeling anxious about something, ask your partner to be your stress absorber. Ask him to listen as you explain what you’re worrying about. The catch is that he doesn’t have to say anything—no reassurances or offers of assistance. He just has to pay attention to what you’re saying and offer you a hug or hold your hand. As you’re talking, imagine your stress dissipating as the words leave your mouth.
16. The next time she does something that makes you angry, before you say something about it stop and ask yourself, “What am I really mad about?” Little things can often be masks for deeper issues. If you decide it’s a larger issue, hold your tongue and bring it up when you’re not mad.
17. Accept her apology. If you’ve been fighting, and she makes an attempt to reconcile, don’t rebuff her.
18. If she holds a notable position in her field (or even if not) remind her of how awesome she is at her job and how it intensifies your amazement of her.
19. Apologize for something you never apologized for, even though you knew it was your fault.
20. Tell her a sexual fantasy you’ve always felt embarrassed about.
21. If there’s a secret you’ve been wanting to share with him, write a list of five reasons you’re afraid to say it, five ways you could phrase it, and five possible reactions he could have. Then pick one phrase and do it.
22. Think about something your partner does that makes you feel bad, but you haven’t told him about. (If this doesn’t exist for you, great! Skip this one.) Decide what you’d like him to do instead, and tell him about it like this: Next time you’re feeling relaxed and loving, say, “I want to tell you something. Sometimes I feel <insert feeling here> when you <whatever it is that makes you feel bad.> Could you do <what he could do instead> instead?”
23. Think about a time when something went wrong between the two of you—a fight, a disappointment, a miscommunication. Ask yourself: What could I have done differently? What could we have done differently? What can we learn from this? Then talk to your partner about it, starting with what you could have done differently.
24. Make a special treat. Even if you’re on a diet, there’s always room for a little snack once a week. Maybe it’s a food from her childhood (like the s’mores her dad used to make when they went camping) or something that reminds him of your first date (spicy homemade guacamole? no problem!). A little treat that you’ve either made or just remembered to pick up will show you’re thinking about the two of you.
25. Cook a meal together. Divide up the tasks so you can both be in the kitchen working at the same time.
26. Make breakfast for him. It’s more unexpected than lunch or dinner.
27. Next time you’re at the corner store, pick up his favorite candy or gum.
28. Pack her a lunch to take to work. Bonus: put it in a paper bag with a note. Double bonus: include a small piece of chocolate.
29. Think of a piece of food that he likes but is difficult to find and order it online.
30. Use a toothpick to write “I love you” on the outside of an unpeeled banana. It’ll turn dark in a few hours and he’ll be able to see it.
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