Earlier in February, Logan and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary. It's amazing to think we've been together for so long. In that time, I've learned a lot about myself and the value of nurturing a long-term relationship. Discovering the concept of simple living has improved our relationship tremendously. We are less stressed about money and no longer worry about conforming to what others think we should be doing with our lives. We stopped listening to the naysayers and started focusing on the people and activities that make us incredibly happy.
Below are a few tips that have improved our relationship and I hope they will help you.
1. Don't take your partner for granted.
Starting out in Portland, without Logan, wasn't part of my plan. I wanted him to be here with me, exploring the city and going on hikes in the park. While I've missed Logan like crazy, I've also realized how much I take him for granted. Being in love and partnered with such an amazing individual is a beautiful gift.
So pay attention to your partner. For example, if you’re reading a book and your partner starts talking to you resist the urge to say, “Sure, honey that sounds great.” Instead of ignoring your partner put your book down, turn the internet off and pay attention. If you aren't actively listening, you're taking your mate for granted and that isn't cool.
2. Stop nagging, criticizing and snapping at your partner.
You can only change yourself, not others. When you get the urge to nag, criticize or snap at your partner, take a quiet deep breath. In The Happiness Project, the author talks about how nagging, criticizing and snapping doesn't bring about happiness. So why do people continue to behave badly?
3. Actively communicate.
When you're feeling upset talk to your partner. Having a calm discussion will result in some type of mutual agreement and you won't be as stressed. For example, selling our cars was one of the best things we ever did. We could not afford the cars or the lifestyle we were leading, which inevitably lead to arguments over small things, like not vacuuming the carpet.
Showing less anger and resentment over the little things like household chores has helped us tremendously. When we start to snap at each other there is a larger issue at play. It's so important to communicate. By actively talking to your partner you'll resolve issues before they manifest into resentment.
4. Support your loved one's dreams.
Leaving my day job to focus on writing is something I've dreamed of doing for the last few years. Logan has supported me every step of the way.
Supporting your partner's dreams is one key to a successful relationship. I have a few friends who would love to leave their day job, but their spouse isn't supportive and would rather have expensive possessions than a partner that is satisfied. It's such a shame. Life is too short to have your dreams thwarted.
5. Destroy your T.V.
Turn it off. Unplug it. And then give your television away.
I guarantee you'll talk with your partner more and your relationship will improve. Instead of watching T.V. you can go on a walk, bike ride or run.
6. When times are tough, remember love.
There is no love; there are only proof's of love. ~Pierre Reverdy
Over time I think it's easy for partner's to take each other for granted. So do little things for your partner to make their day a little brighter. Actions speak louder than words, so remember love and continue to show little proofs of your love everyday. Here are a few ideas:
- Say I love you.
- Hand write love notes and leave them in unexpected places.
- Hug and snuggle more often.
- Send love notes via email, twitter or facebook.
- Surprise your partner with a home cooked meal.
- Make coffee or tea in the morning.
- Plan a date night.
- Go for a walk, bike ride or run together.
We only get one life. Use it well. Stress less, embrace happiness and show your love with actions and words.