Whether you’ve been with your partner for only a few months or you’ve been together for a decade or more, every relationship can benefit from intentionality. If you’re looking for ways to improve your relationship, try implementing these 4 practices to increase intimacy and make you feel closer to your partner.
No, we don’t just mean to other couples (but yes, that too!). Quit comparing how you “used to” feel to how you currently do about your partner. There’s no feeling quite like the infatuation of a new relationship. But if you confuse infatuation with love, you’re going to doubt your relationship when your feelings change over time.
It’s normal to have your emotions change as your relationship ages. When you’re in a long-term relationship, you develop a love deeper than infatuation. The emotions may be more complex (like how you can be incredibly mad at your partner but still feel deep love for them), but they’re more real and honest, too.
Don’t spend your relationship trying to go back to where you’ve been. Instead, try and accept the ways your relationship has changed and grown.
Oh, and while you’re at it? Another habit you need to kick—quit comparing how your partner shows love to how you show it. If you focus too much on what you wish they did, you’re going to miss out on all the unique ways they do express their feelings for you.
Each one of us is uniquely hardwired in how we give and receive love (check out the 5 love languages if you’ve never heard of it). But your partner is not a mind reader, so if they’re missing the mark, tell them.
Show an Interest in What Interests Them
When your partner brings up a topic that you don’t necessarily have an interest in—a hobby, a crisis at work, or an observation about their day, for example—do you respond with interest, or do you ignore them? Research shows that your answer might predict whether you will stay together!
Responding to your partner’s requests for interaction builds emotional intimacy. No, we’re not suggesting that every time they want to go golfing, you join them. But showing genuine interest in the things they try and share with you develops closeness over time.
Schedule Regular “Dates”
Maybe you see your partner every day. But how often are your hours together spent in activities like watching TV or working? Most of the time, you’re physically together but emotionally distant. That’s why it’s important to make space for emotional connection.
Think outside of the box here. Not everyone has the time (or money) to go out to an expensive restaurant every week. Maybe you and your partner don’t even live in the same city! Dates can be simple, like walking the dog together or catching up while eating a homemade meal. The key is to intentionally set aside time to spend together.
Closeness with your partner doesn’t just happen, but creating it doesn’t have to be a ton of work, either. With a few simple practices, you can improve your relationship and develop a deeper sense of connection with the one you love.