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We all want a long-lasting happy relationship, right? But the question is “how?” How do we maintain a healthy and loving relationship in today’s world?

Here are 5 simple ways to cultivate a super awesome and balanced relationship. And I don’t think anyone can debate this list.

1. Thank your partner often

How often do we forget to appreciate the person right in front of us? Don’t think of it as, “Well, he/she should be doing that!” Maybe that’s true, but it doesn’t hurt to express your gratitude. In fact, when people know they are being appreciated, they are more likely to not only do more, but also do it with a “happy heart.” Not feeling appreciated creates resentment and frustration, which can lead to unnecessary arguments and beef. Make it a point to tell your loved one every day, something you appreciate them for. Thank him/her for doing the dishes, picking up your clothes from the cleaners and/or taking you to the airport (it’s the little stuff that counts). It will never be in vain.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Another way of saying this is “choose your battles.” Nitpicking is just the worst. Nobody wants to be around someone who is constantly nagging and expressing what is “wrong.” For the things that are less important – let them roll off your back. Being accommodating is part of the formula for relationship happiness. So he constantly leaves his socks on the floor. It may drive you nuts but if he has other great qualities you may want to accept that as part of him. When you just have to say something, bring it up in a light-hearted way: “Seriously dude, not cool!” or “What am I gonna do with you!?!(smile)” You can also get him to pick them up like this: “Come here babe, can you pick those up for me.”  Lead him to the hamper and say, “This is called a hamper. It’s where grown-ups put their dirty clothes.” More than likely, he may be good for 2 days then back to his old habit.  The fact is that all across the world parents raise boys to do little or no housework. Is it any wonder they’re domestically challenged and slotful?

3. Be your best

Please note – this does not mean you need to be perfect. Just be your personal best. Nothing more…nothing less. Often times we put our best foot forward at work and when we get home, those closest to us get the lazy and rude version of ourselves – not fair! If anything, we should be putting more effort into our romantic relationship, because they are more important to our own health and well-being than relationships with the people we work with. So be nice, kind, and ditch the tattered tee shirt wardrobe. Effort counts!

4. Spend time with your friends

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that our significant other has to be our everything. Spend time away from the relationship to nurture your own interests and needs. It’s important we spend time with our friends to get some space and also to cultivate outside relationships. Allow some time and space to miss your sweetie and for him (or her) to miss you. Our significant others are not our girlfriends and you may want to stop treating yours as such. Spend lots of quality time together, of course, but don’t forget to invest in your hobbies and other meaningful relationships – because they are important too!

5. Be affectionate

And I don’t just mean give your honey a peck on the cheek when he’s off to work. Make an effort to put energy and intention into your physical touch. Do this: Give him a soft kiss at the back of his neck while he’s shaving, massage his shoulders while you’re watching TV together and give him a longer-than-usual embrace whenever. Make it a point to snuggle during movies and hold hands in public. Don’t skimp on the French kissing either. Studies show that men desire lots of tongue action – so indulge.

No one can be “on” or perfect all the time, but when we practice good love hygiene most of the time, we’ll feel more connected and get more of the love we really want.

There’s no debating these essentials for a successful relationship or the merits of doing them. Yes, relationships take work. Think of it as working for what you want —a healthy long-lasting relationship.

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