If real life were designed by the likes of Disney, we’d all get our prince or princess, mount a white stallion, and ride off into the beautifully illustrated sunset to live happily ever after. Of course, the reality of any relationship is something entirely alien to that.
While the two scenarios may start out looking pretty similar, being happy with your partner is not something that merely happens by accident; it takes hard work. Failing to see and, indeed, act upon that fact can lead to the breakdown of your love life faster than you know it. As the new year dawns on us, let’s make some resolutions that really matter for once. Here are five little relationship goals that will dramatically improve your love life.
1. Show a Little Gratitude
When was the last time you thanked your partner? From making you a fresh brew of coffee to simply being there to hold your hand when times get hard, there are many reasons you should show gratitude to your partner; and yet most of us don’t. The majority of us make the colossal error of thinking that our other half already knows how we feel, and so we don’t need to go to the effort of actually stating it outright.
Yet, remembering to show a little gratitude to your partner can prevent you from getting into a negative conversation cycle, according to a recent University of Georgia study. The research suggests that stressed-out couples tend to be negative in what they say to one another, and this can quickly turn into bickering. Letting your partner know that you appreciate them breaks this nasty little habit and shows them how much you care. So, go on — say “thank you” to the person in your life who deserves it most.
2. Quit Blaming One Another for Things
If you’re blaming your partner for all the wrongs in your life, you’re using them as an emotional punching bag. It’s cruel and though it may not be a conscious action, it has drastic consequences. When we’re not happy with ourselves, it’s far easier to search for external reasons for this (such as our partner’s annoying habits) than to look in the mirror. Since your partner is the closest person to you, you’re likely to turn on them. When one partner begins to blame the other for things, this toxic habit can become contagious. Before you know it, you’re trapped in an endless blame game that will ultimately damage your relationship.
3. Hang Out With Other Couples
If the romantic spark is dwindling, you may wonder how to relight that flame. Surprisingly, double dating could be the key. Creating a friendship group among other couples can bring a newness to your relationship, according to research from Wayne State University.
Over the years, you can fall into the same dreary pattern with your partner. It’s no great secret that relationships don’t stay fresh and exciting forever. By socializing with other couples, though, you enhance the quality time you spend with one another while making new social relationships. If things are starting to feel a little worn and tired, add this to your relationship goals list this year.
4. Put Down Your Cell Phone
A smartphone is so much more than a mere piece of technology; it can be a social shield too. The moment you raise the thing in your hands and cast your eyes down at the screen, you block out anyone else in the room. Phubbing (phone-snubbing) is all too common these days. But wait, what kind of impact does this have on your relationship?
Your incessant phone use could lead to some serious relationship dissatisfaction, according to a study published in the Computers in Human Behavior journal. In the study, a whopping 46.3% of people claimed that their partner ignores them for their cell phone, and 22.6% said that this was causing conflict in the relationship. If you’re guilty of this social sin, it may be time to put the phone down for good.
5. Reminisce About the Good Times
When we talk about relationship goals, we so often get caught up in where we want the relationship to go or how we see our lives panning out. The sorry truth is that some people never once rehash the past for fear of losing control of their future. That’s a mistake. A couple’s mutual memory bank plays out like their own personal romance novel — from how they first met to how they got together. It’s something very significant and personal to the pair of them, so it’s worth recalling now and then.
Remember, you can’t always go forward without understanding, acknowledging, and appreciating your past. Taking the time to reminisce about the good times is only going to make the pair of you stronger as a unit. It serves to remind you of all the reasons you have chosen to be together, and you can use that information to build your future.