Choose Love: Relationship Advice for ALL Couples
June is a month for celebrating love in all its beautiful forms. When you love someone, you are waking up every day and making a deliberate choice to continue to love them...and that says a lot about how important those connections are to us as humans. All couples, whether married for years or just starting to date, can benefit from having an arsenal of tips to turn to when things get rough, or to keep the relationship growing. Whether you actively think about it or not, all of the simple actions and behaviors below help show your partner that you choose love...and that's the most important choice we can make!
Go on Date Nights:
Just because you're married or have been together along time, you still need to continue to date each other! No matter how long you've been together, continue to set aside special time to have fun, create memories, connect, and ask open-ended questions. Set regular date nights and do your best to keep them sacred. Remember to add in occasional romantic gestures, which may look different for everyone but are never less meaningful. Never stop pursuing each other, no matter how much of a done deal your love seems to be.
Communicate clearly & often:
No matter how in sync you think you are with your partner, they are not a mind reader. Frequent communication makes sure you're always on the same page, and sets the right expectations of each other. Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to talk, whether it's dreaming & scheming together, or just chatting about life.
All couples have disagreements and arguments from time to time, and all people make mistakes. That's life and part of human nature. It is important to do damage control, though, when you've messed up. When you make mistakes or say things that hurt your partner, it's important to own it, apologize, and make it right with your partner. Taking responsibility for the pain you've caused will create a more trusting environment. Apologizing also sets the stage for the all-important attitude of forgiveness (more on that below!). Being right is not as important as being together.
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Because your partner isn't perfect, you will occasionally have to make that choice to forgive them. If a problem occurs and forgiveness isn't the choice made by the offended party, bitterness and resentment creep in instead, and those are insidious relationship killers. Cultivating real forgiveness is the greatest habit you can learn to improve your relationship.
Don't jump to conclusions:
It's a slippery slope to start making assumptions about your partner, their feelings, and their motives. Don't assume you already know what they are going to say or how they will respond to something you say. Happy couples focus on each other's positive qualities and always assume the best of each other. When concerns do arise, ask, listen, and make sure you truly hear and understand them.
Brag about it:
One main difference between new relationships in the "honeymoon phase" and ones that have gone on longer, is people in a new relationship tend to talk about their relationship with others more. Continuing to share the high points of your love and all the great things about your partner with your friends and family long after you've become an item can help keep that bond strong. Plus, even just talking about joyful memories and your positive traits as a couple can help release those happiness & bonding hormones in the brain and help draw you two closer than ever. Never stop boasting about your love loudly and proudly!
Find a win-win solution:
Stop spending time fighting about who is wrong and who is right. Instead, take the time to find win-win solutions that work for both of you. Sure, there's option A and option B, but what might you be missing by not considering options C - Z? There doesn't always have to be one person being absolutely right or getting their way. Relationships are about compromise. Set your ego aside...it just isn't worth it when there are so many other ways to approach something!
Give them compliments:
There is no easier way to remind a person of your feelings for them with a genuine compliment. While deep, genuine compliments about the content of your partner's character are always impressive ("I really appreciate everything you do for me"; "Your mind is capable of the most incredible things"), don't forget about those quick and simple compliments about how your partner looks that day. Sometimes we really all DO just want to hear that our butt looks incredible in those pants or that our lipstick is on point! Compliments from a lover are a HUGE boon to our self esteem and confidence, and that can help keep the relationship growing strong.
Kissing is not only a great option for foreplay, but it also produces the "love hormone", Oxytocin. This hormone works in your brains to create an environment for connection, trust, respect, safety, and love...all the most important aspects of a relationship! Pucker up!
Choose Love, Always:
Feelings and even relationships come and go, but true love is a choice. Every day, do something that will move your closer to your partner. Find new ways to love them by being intentional with showing small acts of kindness. Be deliberate in your communication so you can learn more about what makes them tick and how you are a part of those clockworks.
Most importantly, choose to love your partner even when it's difficult. When you want to turn away, turn towards them. Withholding sex or giving the silent treatment is immature and is a sign of a broken love that needs healing. Couples with a secure attachment style communicate, reconnect, and rekindle the flame by pulling each other closer and working to fix it. Relationships take work, but if you've found "Your Person", it will always be worth it. "Happily Ever After" isn't just a thing of fairy tales; you can find yours if you choose love every day.
Whether you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or consider yourself an ally, we wish you and yours a very happy Pride this year! Parades and street celebrations are able to return in many areas, but if you still need to stay home and celebrate love safely, there are some fun options in this post. While all couples can benefit from general relationship advice from time to time, remember that there is nothing wrong with WHO you love or HOW you love...don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise!