11 Ways to Reconnect with Your Partner & Strengthen Your Relationship

Holding HandsValentine’s Day is over. Perhaps you got flowers, candy, or even jewelry. While these are lovely gifts, they do not have the staying power to improve and nurture a relationship. So what can you do to make sure that you put as much effort into your most important relationship as you do into your job or your favorite hobby?

Recently, a young client shared his insight about how to make his marriage better. He noted that he had always seen the marriage as a game of “see who does the most first.” If she does this, then I will do that. He realized that he could not continue to view this important relationship as a competition. He concluded that if he always gave his most or his best, he was more likely to get more from his wife in return.

How right he was! His revelation caused me to reflect back on other insights that clients have expressed over the years as they have worked on and improved their relationships. Here are some of them that I think have the power to change the way we relate and grow in the most important relationships in our lives. And, by the way, these tips can apply not only to marriages and romantic relationships but to friendships that we value.

-Treat your relationship as a marathon, not a sprint. Commit to being in it for the long haul and focus on the things that work well, not just those that could be improved.

-Say thank you… a lot. Chances are you do a lot for one another, and the speed of life may lead you to take things for granted.

-Give 110% all the time and chances are you will get it back and more. This is just another example of paying it forward.

-Remember why you fell in love in the first place. Look for and recreate opportunities to capture those feelings again.

-Don’t let the responsibilities of children lead you to treat your partner as a second class citizen. Yes, your kids are important, but so too is your partner’s need to feel valued and loved.

-Don’t forget about non-sexual intimacy. Even when there is no time for sex, there is always a chance for a hug, a touch, a holding of hands. Touching in this way can smooth a lot of bumps and create a sense of closeness even in the midst of chaos or problems.

-Don’t be silent about the things that are good or that work. Partners often communicate only that which is going wrong.

-Be gentle in your criticism when you need to talk about what is going wrong. And make sure that you own your part in the things that are off track.

-Even if things are going horribly wrong, try to practice resilience. Think about how you and your partner can bounce back or make things better, instead of searching for the door.

-Ignore social media. Stop comparing your marriage, your sex life, your activities to those of your friends. Comparison is a death knell for love and romance.

-Practice communication…on the big things and on the small things. Rarely are there problems that cannot be worked out…but in order to forgive, you first have to talk about it.

If you find yourself thinking that these tips sound “pollyanna-ish” you might be right. But if you talk to people whose relationships are thriving, I think you will find that no matter how they sound, when put into practice they work. So pick one tip to try…and see if your partner notices the change.

All material contained on this blog is for information purposes only. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional psychological advice. Always consult a qualified professional prior to utilizing any of the information provided in this post.