Navigating a long-term relationship is no walk in the park. Any couple that has made it past the honeymoon phase knows that keeping the love alive requires effort, commitment, and a sprinkle of creativity.
Today, let’s talk about embracing the challenge to improve and grow your relationship. This guide isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about leveraging your own power to instill lasting joy, excitement, and love in your relationship.
The following are ten simple and powerful ways to grow a relationship and thrive as a couple:
1. Give up the need to be right.
We’ve all been there. My husband’s shoes find themselves everywhere — under the coffee table, in the entryway, and beneath the kitchen table. For years, I fought for the “rightness” of having a tidy space. But one fine day, I made peace with his habit. I began picking up his shoes without any resentment. This simple act of letting go not only helped me grow in a relationship but also gave me a newfound sense of contentment.
2. Take an interest in what interests them.
Growth in a relationship often occurs when you take an active interest in your partner’s passions. For me, this was stepping into the world of sports, an area my husband absolutely loves. I even went as far as taking golf lessons to share experiences that bring him joy. Taking a genuine interest in your partner’s activities doesn’t just make them feel valued; it also enriches your shared experiences as a couple.
3. Make love with your thoughts words and actions.
Sex isn’t the only way to make love. Your words, thoughts, and actions hold immense power in strengthening your bond. Your brain is, after all, your most potent sexual organ. Speak love, think love, and act lovingly — and you’ll find the emotional and physical intimacy in your relationship growing stronger.
4. Learn to be playful and plan fun.
Life is filled with challenges, but that shouldn’t stop you from having fun together. Learn to be light-hearted and keep the spirit of playfulness alive. Make an effort to plan weekend getaways or simply spend quality time doing activities you both enjoy. The more fun you have, the easier it is to grow your relationship in the midst of life’s complexities.
5. Practice gratitude.
Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude in helping you grow as a couple. Consider keeping a journal that documents each loving act or word that your partner shares. Better yet, make it a habit to share what you’re grateful for while driving or walking together. This mutual exchange of appreciation will help you see the glass as half-full even when times are tough.
6. Catch your partner doing good.
One of the best ways to grow your relationship is through positive reinforcement. Take a moment each day to say ‘thank you’ and celebrate the good in each other. By focusing on what’s going well, you naturally encourage more of the same behavior, strengthening your love for one another.
7. Get help.
The idea that you can or should handle all relationship challenges on your own is a myth. Sometimes external perspectives are needed to grow as a couple. Don’t hesitate to consult a relationship counselor or therapist when you hit a rough patch. Remember, it’s not about pointing fingers but about understanding how you can grow a relationship together.
8. Go the extra mile.
If there’s one couple that epitomizes the concept of ‘going the extra mile,’ it’s Christopher and Dana Reeve. Dana gave up her singing career to care for her paralyzed husband, embodying the essence of unconditional love. Relationships are rarely a 50-50 game; they’re about giving your all when your partner needs it the most.
9. Give each other space.
While it’s essential to grow as a couple, individual growth should never take a backseat. My husband and I have always respected each other’s independence. Whether it’s following our dreams or maintaining friendships outside the relationship, the freedom to be ourselves has made our bond unbreakable.
10. Cherish each other.
Life’s journey is best enjoyed with a loving partner by your side. Support each other, laugh together, and grow together. This strategy has proven effective for me, as I’ve been happily married for over 37 years, with four daughters and three grandchildren to show for it. And our relationship keeps getting better!
There you go. By implementing these strategies, you’ll not only grow in a relationship but you’ll also flourish as a couple, enriching each other’s lives in more ways than one.