Is your relationship struggling, but you don’t have time to do anything about it? I feel you! Life is crazy busy, and taking care of our relationship is often the first thing to get chopped off the to-do list. On this segment of Afternoon Live, I share 4 easy strategies you can use to improve your relationship without adding too much stress to your life.
Click play on the video above to watch Maegan’s interview on KATU’s Afternoon Live or read below to learn how to improve your relationship without adding too much stress to your life.
4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Relationship
Does your life feel hectic? Are you busy and stressed, constantly running from one task to another, desperately trying to stay on top of the never-ending to-do list? If so, you’re in good company. This is the number one complaint I hear from clients in my couples therapy practice!
“We’re just too busy. Our relationship is suffering, but we don’t have time to do anything about it.”
You’ve probably gotten caught in the vicious cycle of having too many commitments. Too much to do, too little time to do it. Everything on your to-do list is important. It feels like if you stop juggling for one second everything is going to crash down around you. Sound familiar?
I want to convince you to work less, say “no”, set boundaries, and live more mindfully. I truly believe it is a better way of life. But I’m also aware that changing your lifestyle is an extremely hard thing to do. It takes time and lots of hard work to make those changes… and I don’t want you to wait for life to get less busy before you start working on your relationship.
I want you to start improving your relationship today, and I’m going to give you 4 quick and easy strategies to do it.
I believe that you can improve your relationship by implementing a few small changes in your daily life. These are techniques I’ve used successfully with hundreds of couples in my therapy practice! If you and your partner work together, these small changes can lead to huge improvements in your relationship.
# 1 – Put Your Friendship First
It is easy to get swept up in the busyness of daily life. Between working, raising kids, paying bills, cleaning house, and the other two million tasks on your to-do list, prioritizing time to hang out with your partner often gets overlooked. Before you know it, you and your partner start feeling more like business partners than best friends.
If you have some balance in your life, you probably make time for occasional dates with your (non-romantic) friends. When I’m out with friends, we spend most of our time laughing and having fun or supporting each other through meaningful conversation.
When is the last time you had a conversation with your partner that felt as good as those deep conversations with close friends? Or did something fun and laughed the entire time? I believe we should treat our partners with the same love and appreciation with which we treat our good friends.
It’s too easy to take our partners for granted. My suggestion is to schedule time to hang out with your partner at a coffee shop or restaurant for happy hour… the same way you do with friends. Keep it casual. Just get out of the house and do something fun and light-hearted together. Set an intention not to talk about anything too serious. This is a chance for you to relax and have some fun together! Take care of your friendship… the rest of your relationship will thank you for it.
# 2 – Develop a Daily Connection Ritual
Do you have and your partner have any daily rituals? For example, do you hug each other before leaving for work each morning? Meditate or pray together before bed? There are thousands of ways to implement rituals into your relationship. Research shows us that turning behaviors into habits or rituals increases the likelihood of success.
I encourage my couples to create one ritual they can practice every day. This ensures you will remember to connect with each other amidst the chaos of daily life. It’s amazing how one small change in your daily behavior can lead to huge improvements in the health of your relationship!
Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning…
- Greeting Ritual – kiss each other when you leave for work in the morning and when you reunite in the evening
- Mid-day Reminder Ritual – text each other a sweet (or sexy!) message on your lunch break
- Evening or Morning Ritual – get into bed with each other every night and cuddle for five minutes or set your morning alarm five minutes earlier so you can cuddle for a few minutes before getting up
- Spiritual Ritual – meditate or pray together for 10 minutes every morning
You get the gist! Your daily ritual shouldn’t take any more than 10 minutes and can take as little as 30 seconds. The amount of time doesn’t matter as long as you are prioritizing your relationship. This daily dose of connection will return massive dividends for your relationship.
# 3 – Avoid Distractions
I can sum this one up pretty quickly… PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!
If you’re struggling to find time to work on your relationship, I encourage you to pay attention to how much time you spend on your phone or tablet when your partner is in the vicinity. If you’re anything like me, it’s probably way too much time. It’s amazing how much time we waste looking at our devices!
Do you reach for your phone first thing in the morning? Do you dive into Facebook or play games on your phone before going to bed? Are you constantly connected to email throughout the day? Whatever the reason, my guess is that you do have time to spend together, but the time is wasted with device distraction.
I want to challenge you to put your phone away when you’re with your partner. Even five minutes of scheduled no-phone time can make a huge difference in the health of your relationship!
#4 – Schedule Sexy Time
I am a huge advocate of scheduling. I believe that what gets scheduled, gets done. If you are unhappy with your sexual connection, consider scheduling a recurring appointment for sexy time with your partner.
If you’re balking at the idea of scheduling sex because it doesn’t feel natural or spontaneous, check out this video where I talk about how to enhance sexual intimacy when life gets busy. If you’re afraid that scheduling sex will lead to performance anxiety, check out this video and blog where I walk you through how to overcome sexual performance anxiety.
This is a tried and true method that I recommend to all of my couples who are unhappy with their sex life. I know it feels weird at first, but if you can embrace the structure, this strategy can create incredible change in your relationship.
I want to encourage you to pick only one or two of these strategies to start.
Creating change in any relationship takes time and practice, so don’t overwhelm yourself with too much responsibility… that’s how you got into this situation in the first place, remember? One small step at a time will get you to where you want to be.
To review, here are the 4 ways you can begin to improve your relationship:
- Put your friendship first
- Develop a daily connection ritual
- Avoid distractions
- Schedule sexy time