Relationships are undoubtedly one of the most interesting and complex experiences that life has to offer. When they are going well, they have the ability to overwhelm us with joy and even at times temporarily mask a number of the other issues that have been persistently plaguing us. However, when they metaphorically go south, they also hold the potential to take us into depths of anger and despair we previously never thought imaginable.
Assuming that you allowed yourself to be roped into reading this article in hopes of experiencing more of the first scenario and less of the second, I’d like to share with you 5 simple things that we can all do to strengthen our relationship.
And while I will admit that these exercises are best suited for couples, they can also be used to strengthen friendships into an even deeper level of mutual support. So even if your relationship status is best-classified as “single into eternity”, I’d still consider going through them to see what they may inspire.
1) Individually Sign-Up For Something That You Individually Love
While many relationships are founded in and/ or instigated by common interests, I’m willing to bet that there isn’t a single partnership out there where both of the parties involved genuinely only enjoy doing the exact same things. You may both prefer staying in, watching Game of Thrones, and maybe even something as uncommon as knitting tapestry, but I’m sure that there is something (if not many things) that you enjoy doing that your partner has no interest in.
I believe that one of the best ways to strengthen your relationship is to mutually decide to both individually sign-up for something that you individually love. On the surface it may seem like the increase in time apart wouldn’t help take your relationship to another level, but the mutual reincorporation of a loved experience can work wonders in both improving individual satisfaction and preventing any resentment that the relationship may have been creating either consciously or subconsciously.
2) Spend More Time Together Without Technology Involved
Sure it may be easy to rack up some “quality time” hours while binge watching the newest series on Netflix, but one of the best ways to strengthen a relationship is to spend more time together without an electronic third party.
The technology addiction pandemic is real, but if there is anyone that you should be able to collectively withstand the urge to scroll, binge and swipe with, it’s your partner. And it’s in these moments that we are forced to truly appreciate them for who they are and not simply for what we can tolerate having them being a part of.
If this sounds like something that you believe would be difficult for you and your significant other to do, that, in my opinion, is a potential red flag.
3) Learn Something New Together
Another great way to strengthen your relationship is to collectively decide to learn something new together. Whether it be a new language, style of cooking or even how to build something that you’ve both always wanted to have, the process of mutually learning can help in two distinct ways:
- It gives you the opportunity to see and experience one another in an environment that is likely to feature some frustration.
- It allows you to see how well you work together in a safe setting that is foreign to both of you -better preparing you for what life may one day throw at you.
4) End Each Day With Gratitude
Due in large part to the trust that tends to build quite naturally within most relationships, it’s not uncommon for us to share the vast majority of our frustrations with our significant other. While this can be an incredibly helpful form of free therapy, it’s important that we also do not lose sight of the brighter side to life.
A great way to do this is to develop a habit of ending each day by sharing with each other at least one thing that you are grateful for. This not only helps to remind you that life isn’t as doom and gloom as your mind may tend to make it seem, but it also strengthens your relationship by ending each day together on a positive note.
5) Create “Balance Webs” Together Regularly
Personally, my favorite way to strengthen any relationship – including the one that you have with yourself – is to do the following activity:
- On a piece of paper draw a circular eight slice pizza without any details such as crust or toppings.
- Label each slice (on the outside of the circle) one of the following: relationship, family, career, exercise, entertainment, adventure, personal, spiritual.
- Now go around slice by slice and draw a dot somewhere along the approximate middle line of each slice to represent how happy you currently feel with that aspect of your life. A dot closer to the center of the pizza represents a low level of contentment, while a dot at the edge symbolizes complete happiness.
- Once you’ve drawn all of your dots, connect them all to see the web that you form.
- Do this regularly (I suggest weekly) and make a point of holding each other accountable for doing something in the near future to strengthen what is currently your weakest link.
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