1. Make the other person your priority when you speak to each other. This means no texting, watching TV or doing any sort of multitasking. It’s one thing to say a quick sentence or two as one of you is walking out the door and the other is getting the kids ready or you are putting on makeup or fixing dinner. But for those times when you need to have a real conversation about something that is important to either of you or both of you, listening attentively is the best way to make the other person feel heard and respected.
2. Honor your commitment to the relationship as much as you honor your commitments to your career. It’s easy to put other things ahead of your relationship, especially if you have been together for a while. After some time, in the pursuit of furthering our careers, we tend to make choices that force our relationships to take a back seat. This is a mistake. You never want to treat your partner as if you are taking them for granted.
Show your love and commitment by making the time you spend with them as sacred as the time you spend at work. Checking in with your partner at least once during the day to see how each of your days are going is sweet and practical. Call when you are going to be late. If you make plans with your partner, even if it’s just to stay home on a Friday night, watching movies and ordering in, be home when you say you will and let your colleagues know you have plans and can’t go out for that after work drink.
3. Romance in the form of thoughtfulness is everything. Candy and flowers on Valentines day are sweet, but what really sustains romance is the little mindful things you do for each other throughout the year. Picking up flowers and takeout when your partner has had a hard day is guaranteed to make your bed a little more toasty that night. Get up a little earlier on the weekend to do laundry or unload the dishwasher and start breakfast. When you take the time to extent small courtesies towards each other it makes you feel closer to your partner and fortifies a sense of love and appreciation.
4. Have bedtime rituals. My soon to be spouse and I have very different schedules, and as a result we don’t always have the same bedtime. However, I know it’s important to him that when he goes to bed I am lying beside him. Now having a night time ritual where we go to bed together has become a priority to me. I may not always stay in bed, I often do get up in the night to write, or finish a chore around the house, but spending that time together at night allows us to revel in the comfort of being together physically. Having that quiet time to just be close strengthens our bond even when there is no hanky panky going on.
5. Arguing is not an option. There’s no point in getting into screaming matches with your partner when you disagree. I know of some couples who argue publicly and it’s cringe worthy. In the heat of an argument you’re in defense mode and what you say or do in anger will only increase the divide between you. If you find yourself getting short tempered with your significant other, stop before you lash out in anger and think about what’s really upsetting you. When you are clear about the deeper underlying problem, set up a time to talk to about it. If there are reoccurring themes that you can’t get past, consider seeing a marriage counselor so the two of you can have an impartial person mediate what’s going wrong.
How we choose to speak to our loved ones is a direct result of how much consideration we have for each others feelings. There is no one whose feelings I care more about, besides my own, then my Boo, so I make it a point to never raise my voice at him in frustration. That’s not to say you can’t be angry. You are entitled to all your emotions, but it’s how we express ourselves to each other that makes the difference.