We all tend to fall into a routine in long-term relationships.
We make habits and rituals as a couple that help shape and define our lives together. Perhaps it's going to breakfast on a Saturday morning, one partner making the bed while the other makes coffee, or a particular way of celebrating a holiday.
If we are going to form habits as a couple, why not form good ones? Here are six habits that all really happy couples have:
1. Make time for each other.
It's easy to feel that our relationship will be there when we've done everything else we need to do. It's easy to take our relationship for granted while we work on our goals.
We can tell ourselves that we're doing it for the relationship or that we're building a future together, but the truth is, spending time on our relationship needs to be a habit and a priority now, so our relationship is there in future.
Make spending quality time (with just the two of you and no TV) a habit. Make date night a priority; give yourselves time and space to just be present together, enjoy each other's company and relax.
2. Practice appreciation.
Appreciation builds love and trust. Telling our partner the things we appreciate about them brings us closer; we become kinder to each other, and more generous.
We can fall into the trap of thinking our partner knows all the reasons we love them, but often they don't. We all have self-doubt at times, and being told what is appreciated by others is uplifting, nourishing and intimate.
Make sharing appreciation with your partner a habit. If you appreciate something your partner does for you, let them know. If you like the way they've done their hair today, let them know. Do they have a quirk you love? Tell them.
The more you share, the easier everything becomes and the more love and trust builds between you.
3. Make sex a habit.
Things in the bedroom were roaring at the start of your relationship, but then you found it was only happening a couple of times a week and some days you suddenly realize how long it's been since you were intimate like that.
Sex isn't the most important aspect of a relationship, but an enjoyable, intimate sex life can nourish a relationship, bring us closer and build love.
To keep our sex life happy and hot requires some energy and attention. It's nurtured by us setting aside time for it, talking about what we want and making it special.
Regular love-making can become a ritual that is both beautiful and satisfying.
4. Say sorry.
I'm the first to put my hand up and say I find it hard to say I'm sorry. I become defensive, I feel like there's something wrong with me and my shame blocks intimacy in our relationship.
But I know the intimacy and the connection that lies on the other side of my fear. I'm so familiar with the softening in my partner's eyes when I can take full responsibility for what I've said or how I've behaved.
Saying sorry builds connection, love and compassion.
Taking responsibility helps us grow.
Apologize wholeheartedly and often.
5. Reassess where your relationship is going.
Really happy couples talk about how their relationship is going, what they love about it and what they would like to work on.
Happy couples feel comfortable voicing their needs for the relationship and holding a shared view for the direction of the relationship.
Reassessing your relationship reminds you it's a priority and keeps it fresh. I recommend couples take time regularly to talk about where their relationship is at and how to make it even better going forward.
6. Take time apart.
Taking time apart is a vital part of a healthy relationship. Remaining individuals keeps a relationship strong and vibrant.
Our partner can't be our everything; we have to keep our own interests, our own goals and own desires.
Time to ourselves is nourishing. Taking time apart allows us to give more to our relationship and keeps our relationship alive and fresh.
The great thing about habits is that once they become habits, they don't feel like work anymore. Start building habits that make your relationship amazing.
Isiah McKimmie is a Relationship Therapist, Sexologist and Tantra teacher helping people open to confidence, sensual pleasure and deep intimacy. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her incredibly patient partner and reaches clients all over the world through the wonders of the internet. Be sure to visit her at www.isiah-mckimmie.com for more on intimacy, connection and pleasure.
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