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healthy relationship foundation

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I think the dream would be to feel as in love with your partner as you were during the honeymoon phase, forever. I remember thinking, at some point, at the start of every relationship I’ve ever had, “I hope this feeling never ends.” And it always did – always, except for with one person. That would be my husband today.  We’ve been together for the better part of a decade and I genuinely wake up every day so excited to see him. I know it’s a bit corny, but it’s something I want for everybody! I wake up feeling like there is this very special, very exciting, and even very new thing in my life – like you do when you’re just a few months into dating somebody you’re really into. Part of what’s driving that is the simple fact that we are very compatible. Some of our love for each other is due to no work or effort on our part, but unchangeable traits that just make us feel very connected. But that can be true for a lot of couples who eventually fall out of love, anyways. The other half of our little recipe for constantly-growing love involves effort. But it’s so, so worth it. When they say that “Marriage is hard work” they often leave out the part, “But it’s so worth it. And it’s fun work, too.” That’s how it should feel in a good marriage. Here are ways to feel more in love with your spouse each day.


Aim to laugh together

When you laugh with someone, you are connecting with them on dozens of micro levels that it’s almost difficult to explain, or detect. But you are possibly never more on the same page with someone as when you’re laughing together. Your intellect and values and secret languages are communicating when you laugh together.


Shut out the world for a half hour

For at least a half hour day, put your phones away. Turn off the TV. Don’t open mail. Don’t talk about fixing that shelf. Focus on just each other. Ask each other what you’re both looking forward to. What were some highlights of your day? What are you proud of from your day? What are your updates? Just a half hour talking about these things will help you feel your connection.


Random acts of kindness

Always look for random acts of kindness you can do for one another. Maybe it’s just emptying the dishwasher when it’s your partner’s turn but your partner is having a terrible day. Maybe it’s picking up a favorite food of your partner’s when you pass it in the store. Maybe it’s giving him a back rub when he’s stressed. Maybe it’s picking up his mom from the airport in the morning when he needs some extra sleep.


Cuddles for no reason at all

Just keep that physical affection coming. When you touch, you produce hormones that make you feel connected to your partner. A long hug, or just a cuddle on the couch, is such an easy way to feel reconnected when you perhaps don’t have the energy to talk much.


Try something new every week

Every week, find one new thing to try together. Go on a hike you’ve never been on before. Try that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Play that board game you were given as a gift. Take an online class together on something fun like mixology or cooking or a second language. Take that day trip to that cute beach town. When you experience new things together, you feel bonded.


If you think something kind, say it

Every time you think something nice about your partner, say it. Don’t keep it to yourself. If you notice how gorgeous his eyes are in a quick instant, say it. If you are just so impressed with how dedicated he is, even in the face of setbacks, tell him. If you love how kind he is to animals, say it. Nurture an environment in which the compliments keep flowing.


Come from a place of helpfulness

Approach your relationship with your partner – your days and your hours and your home life and your social life – from a place of “How can I be of help to my partner? How can I make his day easier? How can I add a little something special to his day?” Think that way, instead of, “Well, what does he even do for me?” That kind of thinking makes people fall out of love, fast.


Count his good qualities

Take the time, maybe every day, maybe a few times a week – whatever you have time for – to list off your partner’s great qualities to yourself. He’s a hard worker. He is hilarious. He’s thoughtful. He’s gentle. He’s a loyal friend. He’s a good son. He’s positive. Say these things to yourself. Remind yourself of these things. You’ll see him through the lens of those good qualities then.


See the other side of his flaws

When you think of a flaw of his, think of the positive side. I can give you an example: my partner can be very sensitive, and his feelings are easily hurt. That being said, on the flip side, his sensitivity often benefits me, as he is highly in tune with my emotions, and knows when I need comforting. He isn’t just sensitive – he’s empathetic.


Be fiercely loyal

You need to put in the work to create a safe place for your love. You need to create boundaries. That means boundaries between your relationship and others who want to harm it. That means telling another male sending you flirty messages, in a direct way, to “Stop it. I am in a relationship and this is inappropriate.” It can even mean blocking or cutting out those who try to threaten your relationship. Show your partner it’s more important to you that he feel loved, than outsiders like you.


Always be planning some fun

Always have some adventure in the works. Always have an eye on that next vacation, that next hike, that next day trip, or that next fun home project like building a home bar or hosting a dinner party. Be a little social committee who is always planning something fun for you two to enjoy. If you realize you have nothing on the books, get something going.


Let most arguments go

You’ll feel so much closer if you just let most arguments go. Really. When conflict arises, ask yourself if it’s really necessary to even engage. There are certainly some fights that must be had – those that pertain to your core values. But those that pertain to emptying the dishwasher or forgetting to buy milk? Let them go. They get in the way of your love.


Remember life without him

Sometimes, take a moment to remember what your life was like without him. You waited years to find him! If you didn’t have him, what would Saturdays look like now? Or evenings after work? Or the wind down in bed each night? Pretty sad, huh? It’s important to remember all of the areas of your life that he elevates.


Track his acts of kindness

When he does a random act of kindness for you, write it down. Keep a little journal where you record these things. Looking over these will always help you feel that strong love again. And he’ll actually be so touched that you wanted to remember these things.


Choose each other

Go into each day remembering that relationships – from friendships to family relationships to your romantic relationship – are really what make life worth living. Remember that when you make decisions about how you’ll spend your time and to whom you’ll dedicate your attention. Be conscious about decisions that could damage your relationship, because it’s the most precious thing.

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