February 12, 2019
Your relationship with your beloved is a close one, and it should be! As you prepare to start a new life together, the strength of your bond will be tested in ways you never imagined. Of course, being with someone for a long time can build a stronger foundation of trust over the years. That said, you don’t have to spend a decade with someone to enjoy a rich, fulfilling soul connection.
Today, we talk about our three favorite ways to enhance and deepen your relationship, strengthening your bond by building and maintaining a good foundation. By nurturing a close connection and encouraging open, honest communication, you can prepare your marriage to stand the test of time.
We all know that good communication is critical to a successful relationship, and it’s hard to communicate effectively without listening. Being aware of what your partner is expressing not only helps you stay on the same page, it also makes them feel valued and validated in their feelings. A good way to enhance this second benefit of listening is to practice active listening. A sincere effort to listen to your partner without judgment helps them feel heard. It also communicates that you care about them and value your relationship.
To make the transition from passive to active listening, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make. First, give your partner your undivided attention. This may mean putting down your phone, setting aside the project you’re working on, or repositioning yourself so that you are facing them. Second, show that you are listening by acknowledging your partner as they talk to you. This can be as simple as a nod or a hand on their knee. The important thing is that you are communicating that what they are talking about matters to you.
Third, provide your partner with feedback about what they’ve told you. Make sure to defer judgment and keep yourself from dismissing your partner’s feelings — that defeats the purpose! Instead, acknowledge the validity of those feelings. Sometimes the emotions your partner is expressing can have more to do with their history than they do with you. Listening deeply at times like this is a powerful act of love and generosity.
When it is time for you to respond, do so appropriately. Refrain from making accusations or saying anything hurtful. Instead, try asking questions if you are having trouble understanding what your partner is trying to tell you. Remain calm, and work together to find a solution to the problem rather than getting defensive and turning the conversation into a fight.
It’s important to enjoy the intimacy present in the fun, positive times you share together. That said, difficult conversations are equally important and carry the potential to bring you closer. Being vulnerable with your partner and truly listening to their needs and feelings can enhance your connection, and potentially even liven up your sex life! Sharing feelings that might otherwise be pushed under the surface prevents those feelings from reemerging in destructive ways. Encouraging open, nonjudgmental communication also helps you and your partner work together to solve the problems you face in your relationship.
Think of your partner as your refuge, and you theirs. You are a safe space for each other to talk about the problems you face in life together. Cultivating and maintaining an environment where you both feel confident being vulnerable with one another encourages and enhances intimacy. Communicating openly can help improve intimacy and make you feel closer to each other.
As you exit the honeymoon period and embark on a life together, some of the initial enjoyment of each other can fall to the wayside. This is expected — after all, real life has a way of killing romance. Don’t worry, there are things you can do together to keep the love alive.
First, it’s important to ensure that you have time away from your partner. This will make the time you have together more precious, and more enjoyable. Secondly, make time to spend with each other in a relaxed setting. Cooking dinner or doing laundry together can be fun, but it’s also important to spend some leisure time with your partner.
Take time out of each day to spend some time just enjoying each other’s company. Even fifteen minutes can make a notable difference. This could mean cuddling on the couch after work, taking a walk together, or talking over a delicious meal. The only requirement is that you two are able to focus on each other and why you fell in love in the first place. Take some time to enjoy your partner without the stress of daily life — your relationship will thank you.
Building intimacy and deepening your relationship doesn’t have to mean taking adventurous trips together or seeing a couple’s counselor. There are simple, actionable steps you and your partner can take together to deepen the connection you share and strengthen your relationship.