Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if your dating or marriage relationship has had more downs than ups lately, you may be asking yourself if it’s really worth it. As it turns out, most relationships (barring abuse) can be improved if both parties are willing to work for it. Even good relationships can benefit from extra work. Read on to learn five ways you can begin to improve your relationship right now.
- Make time for your relationship. Everything you do requires time and energy, whether it’s your work or your garden. Yet somehow we expect our relationships to flourish with little input from us. It doesn’t work that way. Without time put into our relationship, it will wither away and eventually die. Make time for one another again either by going out on dates or simply enjoying a quiet evening on the front porch. Your love will grow.
- Be kind to one another. It’s actually a Bible verse, but it applies here, too. Many times we are kind to everyone but our relationship partner. We give our best “self” to our coworkers, our friends, our family members, and by the time we get back to our partner there is simply little left over to give. That needs to change. Our partner deserves the best we have to offer and vice versa. Begin being kind to your partner again by dropping the critical comments, ditching the nagging, and offering compliments and positive feedback. Your relationship will blossom.
- Don’t worry about tomorrow. This is a big downfall of women and men both: What happens next? We tend to worry so much about what the next step is that we forget to enjoy what is happening now. Focus on the little things you are both experiencing, and stay grounded in the present. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Concentrate on improving the relationship you have today, and the relationship you have tomorrow will be even better and stronger as a result.
- Focus on the positive. It is so easy to get drawn into pointing out our partner’s negative points that it can become an entrenched habit. Unfortunately, it is an entrenched habit that can not only destroy our relationship, it can also destroy our partner’s self-esteem. Focus on the positive aspects of your relationship and your partner, and you will both be better off. One caveat: If there is any physical or mental abuse, you cannot close your eyes to it. It is important to acknowledge the reality of the situation, understand that it will not change, and seek help. Visit St. Louis County Domestic and Family Violence Council for resources or call 911 if you believe you are in immediate danger.
- Ditch the blame. It’s all his fault … or maybe it’s all your fault. Either way, neither is true. Ultimately, you both have contributed to the issues in your relationship, and it will require an effort from you both to fix them, accept them, or move on from them. Your relationship can become stronger and better than ever as a result, but it is up to you to take the first step.
Need some fun date ideas? St. Louis is home to lots of great (and even free!) spots for dates. Visit the Cahokia Mounds or take a trip to the St. Louis Zoo to pet the Stingrays at Caribbean Cove. Ride to the top of the Arch and shudder as the winds sway the massive structure, or have a “play date” at the magnificent City Museum. Spend an hour or the entire day — either way, you will end up refreshed, relaxed, and rejuvenated and likely feeling closer than ever.
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