Many people give up on improving a relationship because they’re afraid to “approach” the relationship. They imagine that “asking the other person for change” is going to require long, painful conversations, awkward compromises, and useless hardship. But what if there were some easy ways to create positive shifts in your relationship? What if there were some fun ways to create more closeness with your partner? Would you want to explore them?
Here are three strategies that can transform your relationship quickly and easily.
Strategy 1: Timing
What is the worst part of your relationship day? When are you the least responsive to your partner’s efforts to connect with you? Are you a morning or evening person? Are there certain times each day when you are preoccupied with chores, or taking care of your kids or pets? Take a few minutes to figure out what your low energy time is each day.
If you are not a morning person, then you probably won’t be very receptive to your partner if he/she chooses that time to share their concerns, worries, needs, etc. with you. Conversely, if your partner tends to get a burst of energy just as you arrive home from work feeling exhausted, you probably won’t be in the mood to have an emotional discussion with your partner. Not because you don’t want to be there for him/her, but because you are simply tired. And when your energies don’t match up, your partner may walk away from your interaction thinking that you don’t love or care about him/her – when in fact it is just a timing issue.
The fix: To overcome this, simply tell your partner what you figured out about yourself. Assure your partner that you appreciate him/her wanting to share with you at X time of day, but tell him/her that is a low energy time for you. Then ask if you can schedule a “connection date” when the two of you can plan to discuss whatever your partner wants to share with you.
Strategy 2: The Greeting
How do you greet your partner when he/she stumbles into the kitchen each morning and heads right for the espresso machine? How do you greet your partner when he/she walks through the door after a long day at work? The greeting is an opportunity to naturally “reset” your relationship each day.
How can you rock that greeting and completely wow your partner? Think about how your partner would really like you to approach and experience him/her. Maybe your partner enjoys a lot of physical touching. Or maybe they want you to ask him/her about their day. Maybe your partner enjoys a lot of eye contact. Or maybe they love a full romantic hug/kiss/dip.
The fix: This week, every time you see your partner, greet him/her the way you guess they want to be greeted. Remember, this is research and it can be fun! Try something different each day and see what works best with your partner.
Strategy 3: Take Time to Recharge
The #1 destroyer of presence and power in your relationship is your own fatigue. We all have our own unique pattern and relationship to our fatigue. Ask yourself what time of day you have the lowest energy, and what you typically say to your partner to get out of something rather than being honest about feeling wiped out. This dynamic is hurting your romantic relationship more than any other part of your life.
The fix: Tell your partner that you need a certain amount of time each day – whether 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or a full hour – to rejuvenate before you spend time together. Also tell your partner why you need that time. Just communicating that to your partner makes all the difference because he/she will understand what you need and why you need it. Your partner will know that you care about him/her and your relationship more than this old fatigue pattern that you had (but never expressed). Also consider asking your partner what his/her energy highs and lows are, and try to do things together that match up with those highs and lows.
These strategies are extremely simple, but don’t be fooled – they are very powerful!