Whether your relationship is new or old, we always should be improving, making sure that we are getting what we put in, and putting in nothing but love. The longer a relationship lasts, or the easier it is in the beginning, the easier it is to forget that all relationships take work. Here are five things that I recommend doing in the New Year to make sure that your relationship is better in 2019 than it was in 2018.
Listen. No seriously, LISTEN!
It is really easy to zone out when your partner is talking to you, especially if they are talking about something that you don't have any particular interest in. But it is important to recognize, however, that when your partner is excitedly telling you about a new video game, or a new rule in a sport you don't follow, or about something that happened in a podcast that you don't listen to, they are sharing a passion with you. Now, there is as always a caveat. They have to reciprocate. Make sure that they are listening to you when you tell them about the things that you are passionate about as well. I have found that when my partner starts to talk to me about something that they are passionate about, it is best that I put down what I am doing, in order to give them my full attention. Sometimes if I am in the middle of something, I will ask them to wait a moment so that I can finish what I am doing. I always ask that they do the same for me. I don't mind waiting for their attention if they are in the middle of a task, but it is very nice when you feel that you have their full attention, and reciprocation is necessary.
Make time for each other.
This also seems fundamental, however, the longer you are with each other, the less we seem to do this. Especially when you factor in work, household responsibilities, children, and social lives that are often separate. So even if it is just one hour a day, before bed, or one weekend a month, make sure that you set some time aside just for you and your partner to connect. This can be anything from physical intimacy, to playing a board game together, or reading aloud to each other. Even watching a movie together counts, though, in general, I prefer it be something interactive.
Speaking of physical intimacy...
It is not uncommon for—after people have been together for a long time—the frequency with which they have sex to wane. Of course, one should never feel pressured to have sex, and routinizing it is horrible. However, making some time for making love is important. The act in and of itself releases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, all which are important in maintaining intimacy. If you happen to be ACE (asexual), make some time for cuddles. There is more to physical intimacy than just sex.
Make new memories, and take time to reflect upon the ones you have.
A lot of us do exciting things when we are first dating: Going out to eat, seeing movies, road trips, vacations, hikes, whatever. But the longer we are together, it seems the less time there is for that kind of thing. It is important to make more memories with our partners, and also to remember the ones that we have made with them previously—without dwelling on what was and what should be now. Life happens, and there isn't always time for grand extravagant gestures, but there is always time to go to a place in your own city that maybe you haven't seen before, that way we can help to keep things fresh.
Best Friends Forever
Maintaining the romance in a relationship is certainly important, however, keeping the friendship is just as important. Make sure that you have time to laugh, and joke, and keep the friendship that bound you in the first place together. Do things that you both enjoy, and make sure that you have time for your traditions and inside jokes. Laughter is amazing, and it heals, and it forges newer, stronger bonds. Make sure that you always have time for the things that keep you friends, not just the things that keep you lovers.
Love each other, listen to each other, touch each other, remember each other, and laugh at each other. Don't take your relationship for granted. Love is patient and kind, absolutely, but it is also hard work, and an activity that requires constant exercise. Good luck to you all my lovelies!