The media shows us so many #couplegoals on Instagram, and the hype surrounding some couples never seems to stop. Then within months, the divorce news hits the headlines, and people are devastated. Relationship psychologists start talking about their body language in specific photos and interviews, media start inferring there have been affairs. And slowly the once coveted couple, are picked apart, and the divorce lawyers are called in. In some circumstances, parting ways is the best thing to do, and to do it amicably can be the hardest thing in the world. However, if you are currently in a long-term relationship and you want to learn tips about how to keep it strong for years to come.
Don’t be a ‘me and him’ be a ‘we’
The difference language makes and does have an impact. Generally, people in relationships who use the terms, “you”, “me” and “I” are communicating a solo presence. By mindfully and purposefully saying “we” you are confirming the fact you are a pair. The simple word reminds you both, mentally, that you have a connectedness, and the mindset becomes collaborative. A collaborative mindset makes you more loving and generous towards your partner because you are doing things (living life) together by choice. ‘We” is powerful, so use it.
Daily physical affection
We aren’t talking about the early throes of passion here, we are talking about touch, kisses and hugs. Physical affection with your partner is actually good for your health. It releases the feel-good hormones, the touch chemical, the hug hormone – Oxytocin. Now, oxytocin is a super powerful hormone that not only helps you build relationships with others but makes you happy too. It doesn’t take much to get the effect either. A minimum of 20 seconds of hugging is regarded as the best amount, and if you feel like hugging longer then do it! Holding hands, even when you are on the couch can have the same impact. Kissing for at least 10 seconds, on the lips, not forehead or cheek, floods the body with the happy hormone. This hormone, which helps mothers bond with their unborn babies, is also one of the most powerful tools in your relationship arsenal. So use it, daily.
There is more than one way to show your support for your partner. You might think that just saying ‘good job’ is going to be enough but think about it a bit longer. There are different ways you can be supportive, and you should consider ensuring that you are providing (and receiving) them all.
- Help when help is needed. While it might be tempting to use the time to relax, if your partner is doing chores, or making dinner go and get involved. Or, if they are having to cover extra hours at work, then take on some of their home responsibilities.
- Be complimentary. Not everyone oozes confidence and a lot of the time our confidence and self-esteem can be built (or crushed) in the home. When you see your partner trying a new style, color of clothing or ‘look’ try and be complementary – and if you don’t love it? Be positive about most of it and offer nice feedback.
- Emotional support isn’t just about talking to them. It’s about listening. There is nothing worse than talking to someone, about something that is important to you, and them obviously not listening. So, be there – ears and all.
Space isn’t just for NASA
Every now and then, you or your partner are going to need some space. Sounds horrific? Well, actually it is super beneficial. Arthur Schopenhauer described it like this – Two porcupines need to keep warm, they get closer and closer until they prick each other with their spines. The same thing occurs in humans too. We crave closeness for the most part, but every once in a while, we get a little too close. This isn’t about keeping your partner at arm’s length, it’s more about leaving space for individuality, growth and allows that bit of personal space. There is a sweet spot that will enable you to have both the closeness and the individuality. Work on finding yours.
Don’t say “I love you”
It is so easy to say I love you, and as the song goes “those three words, are said too much, they’re not enough”. You need to show it. It doesn’t have to be big grand gestures. It just needs to be meaningful to your partner. It could be a cup of coffee each morning, getting breakfast ready on the weekends or doing something like picking up the kids, or taking care of their ‘usual’ chores. Simple things can make people feel taken care of and loved.
Don’t Fight Dirty
It might be so tempting during a heated conversation that turns into an argument, to sling mud. Dr.Phil has the following to say:
“Disagreements are going to occur. The question is, do you go into it with a spirit of looking for resolution or do you go into it with a spirit of getting even, vengeance, control? You’ll never win if you do that. If you make your relationship a competition, that means your spouse has to lose in order for you to win. It’s not a competition; it’s a partnership.”
The problem with keeping a cool head in an argument is that they get very emotive, and the whole point is that you are sure the other person is wrong. Try and keep on track, stick to the subject you initially started discussing, and don’t start going back ten years to that one time they forgot your birthday.
True Couple Goals
Sit down and talk about what you want to achieve as an individual and as a couple. Work out how you can each reach those dreams and still work on achieving things together. This will do a few things, it will reaffirm your foundations, give you milestones to reach and studies have shown that one of the most essential components of happiness is striving towards meaningful goals.