Mr M and I are so busy these days that it can be difficult to make time for each other in and around our general daily ‘life tasks’ – working, commuting, cooking, cleaning, shopping, paying bills…Throw kids into that mix and it’s easy for us to get to the end of a week without really spending any quality time together.
I’m a bit of a romantic at heart and have personally always been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Yes it’s super cheesy and yes, it’s just another way for businesses to make money out of us. But I think it’s great that for one day of the year we get to indulge in our relationship, thank our other half for everything they do and feel a little bit special ourselves.
But it isn’t all about grand gestures and lavish outings. According to the experts, it’s small, everyday actions that really count when it comes to those relationships that stand the test of time. Here are five small gestures that can make a big difference and help you to get closer to your partner.
1. Take an interest in their day
Apparently ‘How was your day?’ is just not good enough! I’m so guilty of asking this and thought I was being a good wifey…But according to relationship experts, a boring question will pretty much always yield a boring answer such as ‘Fine, how was yours?’ This does nothing to improve your connection and instead can actually damage it because you’re losing the opportunity to regularly connect in a small way. Instead we should mix it up with open questions such as ‘what was the best bit?’ or ‘what challenges did you face?’ This will open up more avenues for decent conversation with the added benefit of gaining added insight into your significant other.
2. rid yourself of distractions
When are we ever truly present? Not in the physical sense, but actually mentally tuned in to our surroundings and the people we’re with? I for one am guilty of sitting on my laptop of an evening, or scanning social media on my mobile. Mr M also finds it difficult to leave work matters at the office. But apparently for a happy relationship we should all be mastering the art of wearing the ‘relationship hat’. This means that we are fully present when we’re with our mate and truly hear what they’re saying (not just pretending to listen, who does that?) This can be pretty hard when the only chance I really get to catch up online and the blog is on an evening after Taylor’s in bed, but I have found that setting aside certain nights to blog, and other nights to switch off completely and spend actual quality time with the hubby (wearing my relationship hat), is the way forward.
3. compliment each other
It can be so easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own hectic schedules that we take our other halves for granted. But small compliments go a long way in helping you to get closer to your partner. Apparently, sandwiching a request within a compliment is also a great way of getting something done (*ahem* getting your own way) So if, for example, you want to get out the house for a walk, you could say: “I always feel so much better after talking to you, I would really love it if we could go for a walk and talk”. Hmmm, I wonder if, “You’re so much better at cleaning the house than I am…” Maybe not!
4. apologise like you mean it
My hubby is not the first person in my life to tell me that I’m stubborn. I disagree of course 😉 but if we imagine for a moment that I am, my apologies would probably go something like this: “I’m sorry that you see it that way” or “I’m sorry that you feel that way” . Luckily, we don’t have disagreements that often in our house, which is a good job as I’m really rubbish at arguing, and even more rubbish at apologising! Apparently that’s because I try and argue a feeling, which you can never legitimately do successfully. The best thing is to acknowledge that you’ve hurt your partner and apologise for that, regardless of your perspective on what you did or didn’t do.
5. get creative with dates
Over on the #UsAfterYou guest post series, Chloe shared some of the fun dates she and her partner went on to reintroduce the spark into their relationship following the birth of their daughter. This got me thinking about some of the things I’d like to get out and do with Mr M this year (babysitter anyone?) The experts concur and say that in order to get closer to your partner, we should all be switching off the TV and starting to get creative with our time together; ditch dinner and a film for something more exciting. Check out my post 6 things to do with your husband on the evening (other than watch TV!) for more inspiration.
You can view all 27 expert tips to get closer to your partner here.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post