Good relationships are difficult to maintain, and worthy of celebration when they last. After all, people change — jobs are gained and lost, family members pass away, feelings and mindsets shift. The most successful couples change together; otherwise, it's all too easy to drift apart ... or for the relationship to become stagnant.
Change is one of the major premises of our addictive new show Altar'd, premiering January 17 at 8 PM: Couples are challenged to lose weight 90 days before their wedding day — with the added twist of doing it completely separately, and then revealing their transformation when they meet at the altar!, ready to take on one of the biggest changes of their lives: Marriage. Check out more about the new show here.
Want to take your relationship to the next level, and transform it completely? Try these five easy tips to get started:
1. Engage in Pillow Talk.
Life is hectic; jobs, kids, social obligations all vie for your time, but try to savor the time next to your partner in bed as you drift off to sleep or as you’re struggling to get yourself out of bed. You’ll feel happier by spending the extra time together and get in some good conversations which can be as serious or lighthearted as you want. as well as other activities. Wink, wink.
Also on Z Living: 9 Habits of Couples In A Strong Relationship
2. Schedule Weekly Date Nights (And Follow Through On Them!).
No matter whether you're newly married, in the thick of life with three kids and a mortgage or getting ready to be empty nesters, couples should invest an hour or more a week in having a date night. Think about how focused you were on your relationship when you were dating; multiple dates a week, whole days spent in each others company on the weekend. But then you get serious, share a home and are a part of each other's daily life.
Date nights don't have to be nights out on the town; that's not practical if you've got little ones. Serve the kids an early dinner, put them to bed early and chat while you make and eat your own meal. And don't restrict yourselves to 'nights' either. While the kids are at basketball practice, sneak in an hour of conversation over coffee at a nearby café.
Also on Z Living: How To Divorce-Proof Your Marriage Before It Starts
3. Say “Thank You” To Each Other Daily.
Most people utter these words multiple times a day: at the coffee shop drive-thru window, to the colleague who holds the door for you, as you take the box from the delivery person. But how often do you say them to your spouse? Can you even remember the last time? Challenge yourself to saying it once a day, every day. Vary the mode of communication. Speak it. Write it. Text it. Your partner will be glad to see your appreciation for whatever they’ve done, be it so simple as taking out the trash or running to the grocery store in the rain to get food for dinner when neither of you want to leave the house.
4. Use “I” Statements When You Lodge A Complaint.
When you start in on your partner with, “You never take the dog out at night,” you can bet the conversation won’t end well. Try saying, “It really helps me get after a long day when you take the dog out after dinner.” By telling how you feel, your partner focuses on you; they don’t feel like you're accusing them of doing something wrong.
Also on Z Living: Why You're Gonna Get Addicted To Our New Show 'Altar'd'
5. Focus On The Positive.
Many teachers use the Oreo cookie as a model for assessment. They say one positive thing about the student (top cookie), one thing that needs improved (the filling) and one more positive (bottom cookie). In this way, this child stays positive and motivated because they weren’t bombarded with only negativity. Use this as a model for speaking to your partner. Say more about the good than the bad. No matter if you’re speaking about them as a person or about the situations you’re going through, focusing on the positive will keep you from unnecessary arguments.
Now, it’s up to you to use these tips by yourself to transform your relationship, or by discussing them with your partner and working on implementing them together. You can do it!