Build these simple five relationship habits to supercharge your relationship for the New Year.
Relationships are like banks. The more deposits you put in, the more relationship resources you will have and the better your relationship will be. Your relationship bank can be built by making small deposits regularly over time through simple relationship habits. They’re easy to do and done over time, they can enhance your relationship and build some buffer when you hit hard times. I often advise my marriage and couple therapy clients to practice doing some of these things every day.
Here are some relationship habits to build:
1. Make more time for your partner in small ways.
Long weekends away are nice, and lavish gifts are great, but it’s the daily walks, the nighttime chats that build a foundation of trust and friendship. These are crucial components for any relationship. Instead of spending 2 hours on a video game or checking social media, take 15 minutes out of that time and talk with your partner. If you have a very busy day, make a lunch date with your partner. If you have to eat anyway, spend that time investing in the person you love.
2. Make more attempts to show love in your every day language through greetings and affectionate words .
Things like good morning, good night, I love you, set the tone for your relationship. Even if you are texting something to your spouse about something logistical like asking him to get milk on his way home, a simple “btw how was your meeting today? Thinking about you” can make a big difference. Just giving your spouse a hug after a long day of work can set the tone for the entire evening. It literally takes 5 seconds to hug someone and the effects can make a huge difference!
3. Notice the positive in your partner and tell them.
So often we notice the negative in our partner, we forget about all the wonderful traits and gifts they possess. Maybe your partner made a really good meal. Or maybe they took the initiative to wash the dishes. Or it could be that they got another promotion in a short amount of time, or fixed your car’s breaks. Showing appreciation and admiration goes a long way. Get into the habit of complimenting your partner. I often tell my marriage and couple therapy clients that it will make them appreciate their partners more and make them feel good about their awesome choice to be with their partner!
4. Be thoughtful in small ways for a big impact.
Did you stop by Walgreens for some shampoo and notice that your partner’s favorite lotion was on sale? Get it for them. Did you happen to pass by your partner’s favorite bakery on the way home from work? Walk in and grab that pastry they love. Are you going to Starbucks? Get a coffee for your spouse too. Don’t take for granted Christmas and birthdays. You don’t need to buy extravagant gifts. Maybe your partner has been eyeing that one gadget. Make a note of it and get it for them. Or maybe they wanted to try that new restaurant. Make a note of it. The key is to notice. Many of us are so busy we don’t take time to notice the people we love the most. And when we do, our loved ones feel loved and appreciated.
5. Show consideration.
If you know your wife likes it when you open the car door, make an effort to do so. If you know your husband likes it when you greet him when he comes home, make an effort to do so. Taking the time to show the little actions can mean a lot.
Fostering a good relationship doesn’t have to take a lot of money and time. We can find ways to build in small habits that build up relationship trust and strong bonds over time. These simple tips don’t take much to do. Try one (or two) today!
About the author: Lia Huynh is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice serving Milpitas, San Jose, and Fremont. She specializes in couples therapy, marriage therapy and individual therapy regarding dating and relationships. You can find out more about her here.
If your marriage or relationship is needing help building good habits, she can help you figure out what is keeping you stuck in your old patterns. You can find out more here if you want to work with her in marriage therapy or couples therapy,