Relationships, even if they’re really good, can always use a little pick-me-up. Life tends to get in the way, and it’s easy to forget the small gestures that keep a relationship ticking.
With everything else in life, there is always room for improvement. To that end, there are actions you can partake in to make your partner feel loved, appreciated, and desired that will, in turn, make you feel more connected. “Stringing together these little things is an ongoing way to make a change in your relationship,” Dr. Gail Saltz, Health’s contributing psychologist, said in an article.
These little things could enhance your relationship in many ways: They can increase intimacy and are non-verbal ways to express your love. They’re also simple ways to show your significant other some gratitude and can help strengthen your bond. Here are eight ways to turn a good relationship into one that is even more exciting and passionate.
1. Turn off your phones
When you’re in each other’s company, kindly step away from your phones and stop engaging in any and all social media usage. Your phone is a major distraction that allows your focus to wander — when you are with your partner, make sure you are mentally present.
Although it’s become second nature to be glued to your phones — be it from answering work-related emails or continuously nursing a social media obsession all day — for the sake of your relationship, keep them out of the bedroom and away from the dinner table. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior looked at data from 1,160 married people and found a negative correlation between heavy social media usage and relationship happiness.
2. Go to bed at the same time
For a couple, the bed is magical place. It’s where you share intimate moments, bond, and of course, sleep. Hitting the sack at the same time is a fantastic way to do something together and feel close, explains Psychology Today. And, for busy couples, it may be the only time you really get to spend together all day.
Falling asleep together is very comforting, and it also helps to perpetuate or increase your connection. Even if you happen to be a night owl, try to stay in bed until your partner drifts off to sleep. Also, always try to make sure that you both get at least eight hours of shut eye. This is a guaranteed, instant relationship booster, mostly because you’ll wake and remain in a good mood if you’re properly rested.
3. Develop a deeper friendship
This is something you’ve heard numerous times before: Your significant other should also be your best friend. It’s no secret that relationship satisfaction has to do with how connected you feel to your partner. In other words, try and solidify your attachment to your significant other by developing a deeper friendship. To do just that, incrementally spend more time together doing things that you both enjoy. Shared activities and interests equal an instant connection and closer bond. Also, make sure to keep up with new things your partner likes and dislikes, new interests, and current stressors.
4. Show appreciation
Think about the last time your partner did something nice for you or made you feel special. Did you say “thank you” for it? “You get so comfortable with your partner, it’s easy to expect them to meet your needs,” Saltz told Health. Too often, couples forget to express a simple thanks, even if it’s for the littlest things like helping out with chores or surprising them with something special. This happens when you both get comfortable, but it’s important to remember that being mindful of your manners and saying “thank you” is probably the simplest way to show your appreciation.
5. Make your partner a cup of Joe (or something to eat)
It’s not always about the grand gestures in relationships — it’s also about the little things, like brewing a cup of coffee in the morning or fixing your partner breakfast, Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a marriage researcher and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great, told Health. After studying 373 couples over 28 years at the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, her research revealed that small frequent acts of kindness are a predictor of happiness in a relationship. “People may feel taken for granted,” Orbuch says. By simply focusing on the small gestures, you’re sure to improve the health of your relationship.
6. Work out together
Ever hear the saying that the couple that works out together, stays together? It’s true. Not only does getting buff help you in the bedroom by boosting your confidence, endurance, strength, and flexibility, but you participate in a shared activity that is sure to bring you closer, per The Huffington Post.
7. Break out of a bedroom rut
Being intimate with your partner is a great way for you two to connect. If you both feel like you’ve gotten into a rut in the bedroom, then it’s time to switch it up and take your sex elsewhere. Whether that be in a different room or somewhere else entirely, dabbling in a little adventure is key. “New elements of play stimulate the dopamine system,” Saltz said to Health. “When you do something that causes you to release more dopamine, it’s a positive reinforcer.” How do you go about suggesting sex in a different location? Simply ask.
8. Hold hands and hug as much as possible
Hand holding and hugging will help keep your relationship happy and healthy. Touching sends a positive message to your significant other, letting your partner know how connected you feel to him or her. The more you touch, the closer you’ll feel.