5 Tips to Improve Your Relationship

We all want to have a healthy and functional relationship with our significant other. But as time goes on, it's easy to forget how much we truly appreciate each other for their support, love and genuine interest. Sometimes you don't need to do the most romantic gestures and over-the-top excursions to simply show how much you love your partner. In most cases, the simple everyday act of showing appreciation and love to our significant other will improve our relationship far beyond one big trip or expensive piece of jewelry could ever provide.

Let's be honest, not every relationship is perfect. The best advice I've heard throughout my life is this, "The best things in life don't come easily because if it did, no one would be satisfied with the results." It's not the most conventional advice ever and I've heard many variations of the same phrase. In any regard, this advice amplifies my point. If our relationships were perfect from the beginning to the end, without any struggles, we would feel a lack of accomplishment and gratitude towards each other.  The challenges in relationships, no matter how small or big, strengthens the bond between partners and fortifies the relationship to help overcome future obstacles.

So I would like to help shed some insight on how to build a healthy and strong relationship through everyday acts of appreciation and a routine that will bring you closer together and able to overcome the stress of daily life.

Here are 5 tips to improve your relationship.

Pick a day for a scheduled "date"

No matter how long you have been in a relationship, you probably still love going out on a date with your partner. The thing about going out all the time is that it can get expensive. Just because you don't want to break the bank doesn't mean you have to give up on the experience entirely! A date with your partner is mostly about the time you get to spend with them; so why limit it? Your weekly "date" can be anything. Go out to breakfast once a week, go on a hike, have a grocery shopping date, work out at the gym together, have a movie night - you name it! The most important thing is that you and your partner know that you have a window of time each week to spend together.

Show your appreciation regularly

I think most people in relationships, romantic or platonic, like to feel appreciated and show appreciation for the other person. This can be done in a variety of ways. One of the easiest things to do is to vocalize your appreciation. When you enjoy spending time with your partner, let them know you feel that way. It sometimes seems silly to say, "I really enjoy spending time with you" to a long term partner but it is important to hear this during every stage of a relationship. Another simple idea is to buy a gift every month. I set a recurring reminder in my phone for the 10th of every month to alert me to buy a small gift of appreciation for my partner. I know, I know. A gift every month sounds like an expensive habit but you can make your budget as big as you want! I can't afford a big gift every month, but I can spare $15-20 to put a smile on my partner's face. Some of my favorites are flowers, chocolates, or small pieces of jewelry - like a New Reign Co bracelet to show your partner you are thinking of them and appreciate the place they have in your life.

Waking up and going to bed together

This one seems obvious. But if things are easy to do, they are also easy to not do. Waking up together and going to bed at the same time is important for bonding and it helps create harmony in your relationship. If you work schedule allows, try to do one or both of these activities together. Understandably, if you work opposite work schedules this can be challenging. I used to work in restaurants and those hours were brutal. To compensate for the late night shifts, once or twice a week I would stay up until my partner woke up for the day. Don't worry about synchronizing your sleep schedules as much as giving each other a quick kiss or hug before you leave or when you get home from work. The simple act of contact with a hug or kiss can bring you closer together and is often an underrated form of creating an intimate relationship. When I switched jobs my schedule moved to typical business hours but I still had to make an effort to do these things together. It is very tempting to stay in bed an extra 30 minutes since I work slightly later - but at the end of the day 30 minutes of interrupted sleep isn't worth more than waking up with my partner and starting the day off together.

Make dinner together and for each other

Making dinner is a blessing and a curse. We all need to eat but sometimes it feels like a chore - a task that is taking away from activities I would prefer to be doing. Even if half of your evenings are filled with speedy cooking, use the other days to enjoy preparing food with and for your partner. In my relationship, we make dinner together on Wednesdays, I make dinner for her on Thursdays, and she makes dinner for us on Sundays. With this schedule, we are both able to prepare something for our partner and have a scheduled cooking date to top it off! This takes a chore and turns it into an enjoyable activity. Cooking together is a great way to work on communication and teamwork to create a delicious final product you both can enjoy.

Plan activities and set aside money together

My girlfriend and I love to travel. It doesn't matter if it is a small weekend getaway or a holiday trip to Europe - we love to explore new places together. If you've ever planned an international trip, you know the amount of details that need to be addressed along the way. From flights, to trains, to lodging, to passports, to tours and activities - you and your partner have a lot of decisions to make in order to create the perfect trip. Vacations and trips can positively impact your health. In fact, they say that vacations last longer than the trip itself. That means the build up of planning your trip and the time you spend reminiscing after the adventure is done is all included in the "vacation glow". One recommendation is to make a photo calendar that has collages from trips you have taken so you get to enjoy the memories all year long. If you're not a traveler, what do you get excited about? Do you love to go to concerts? Or sporting events? Or go to gourmet restaurants? No matter your interests, saving money together is a way to work toward a shared goal and have an experience to share with your partner.

Incorporate all 5 of these tips - or add one or two to your routine and see the positive impact it has on your relationship.

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