By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
If you want your romantic relationship to stand the test of time, it’s key that you maintain a strong emotional connection with each other. Here are a few basic practices that can help:
1. Be attentive. When your partner is venting or sharing thoughts about any topic, listen. Really listen. Try to understand what they are saying and what their personal connection is to the topic. When appropriate, empathize and show compassion.
2. Join your partner in activities they enjoy. When you both enjoy the same activities, make sure to take advantage of the mutual interest. Go hiking together. Go to movies you both want to see. It’s easy, enjoyable, and can truly enhance your relationship.
To nurture your relationship even more, spend some time participating in your partner’s interests, even if they are not your own. Go to the theater or a sporting event when you would greatly prefer to just stay home and put up your feet (or do almost anything else). You don’t need to dive in and make their interests yours, but they will likely appreciate your willingness to share a bit of what’s important to them.
3. Listen to their side of the argument. All relationships include some disagreements, and we almost always believe we are on the right side of them. However, instead of just trying to drive home your point, make the effort to really understand your partner’s perspective. While you don’t need to agree, your partner will appreciate you showing respect for their position.
4. Show your love in a way that connects with them. You might feel most loved when your partner says those magic three words or when they offer to help you run errands. However, your partner may not feel the same way. They might feel most loved when you are engaged in listening to them discuss their passion or when you encourage them to take on some feared but personally important challenge. So, learn what makes your partner feel most loved and offer it to them.
Putting these tips into action is a great starting point for staying connected. You and your partner can take things even further by brainstorming some ideas for connecting that are specific to your relationship and individual personalities. Even just participating in those conversations about connection can deepen the relationship.
The Art of Relationships blog posts are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.